Maternal stress and birth outcomes: Evidence from an unexpected earthquake swarm

Abstract We examine the impact of a major earthquake that unexpectedly affected the Canterbury region of New Zealand on a wide‐range of birth outcomes, including birth weight, gestational age, and an indicator of general newborn health. We control for observed and unobserved differences between pregnant women in the area affected by the earthquake and other pregnant women by including mother fixed effects in all of our regression models. We extend the previous literature by comparing the impact of the initial unexpected earthquake to the impacts of thousands of aftershocks that occurred in the same region over the 18 months following the initial earthquake. We find that exposure to the...

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