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Journal of Social Economics Research

June 2021, Volume 8, 1, pp 24-38

Child Support Enforcement and Infants Health Outcomes

Niraj Prasad Koirala

Niraj Prasad Koirala 1

  1. Texas Tech University, Department of Economics, Lubbock, TX, USA. 1

on Google Scholar
on PubMed

Pages: 24-38

DOI: 10.18488/journal.35.2021.81.24.38

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Article History:

Received: 06 January, 2021
Revised: 25 January, 2021
Accepted: 08 February, 2021
Published: 22 February, 2021


This paper explores the potential externality of enforcements in child support policies on infants’ health outcomes. Exploiting the variations in child support policies across states and over the year and using the universe of birth records in the US (1975-2004), I document that the policies were effective in improving birth outcomes. Infants born to single mothers in states that fully adopt child support policies have on average 38 grams higher birth weight and 99 basis points lower likelihood of being born with low birth weight. These effects hold for a wide range of health outcomes. The marginal impacts are larger for mothers in states above-median changes in child support policies and for mothers who reside in poorer states. The results suggest that a higher quantity of prenatal care and better timing of prenatal care could be possible mechanisms of impact. This study contributes to the existing literature by providing the first evidence of health externality of child support policies for infants’ health outcomes.
Contribution/ Originality
This paper contributes to existing literature by exploring the potential externality of enforcements in child support policies on infants’ health outcomes.


Child support, Health, Fetal origin hypothesis, Birth outcomes, Panel data, Prenatal care.


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This study received no specific financial support.

Competing Interests:

The author declares that there are no conflicts of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


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