Do Women Respond to Expansions in Reproductive Health Care?

Elizabeth Frankenberg, University of California, Los Angeles

One of the cornerstones of progress in improving the health outcomes of women in developing countries is improving the quality and availability of health care that women receive while pregnant and during delivery. In this paper we examine the relationship between access to health services and women’s use of prenatal and delivery care. In the 1990s Indonesia trained and posted some 54,000 nurse-midwives to underserved communities in Indonesia. We show that after the introduction of these midwives, women were more likely to receive early prenatal care, the quality of the care they received was higher, and they were less likely to deliver at home with a traditional birth attendant. These effects are robust to the inclusion of a community-level fixed effect that controls for unobserved aspects of the communities that may determine both program placement and women’s use of care.

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Presented in Session 114: Maternal Health in Developing Countries