RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2022-37

RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2022-37


The Effects of Gender-Specific Local Labor Demand on Birth and Later Outcomes


We examine the effects of local labor market conditions during early pregnancy on birth and later outcomes. Using a longitudinal survey of newborns in Japan, we find that improvements in employment opportunities increase the probability of low birth weight, attributable to shortened gestation. This negative effect is driven mainly by the changes in labor demand for women. However, we find little evidence of a lasting effect of changes in labor demand during early pregnancy on severe health conditions or developmental delays in early childhood. Using prefecture-level panel data, we confirm that the negative effect on infant birth weight is not driven by selective fertility and mortality.


Labor market conditions; Newborn health; Low birth weight; Recession

JEL Classification

I10, J13, J16, J23, R11


Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration (RIEB)
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: +81-78-803-7036
FAX: +81-78-803-7059

Nobuyoshi KIKUCHI
Department of Economics, The University of Tokyo