Cesarean Sections for High-Risk Births: Health, Fertility and Labor Market Outcomes

Research output: Working paper


Despite the fact that Cesarean section (C-section) is the most commonly performed surgery in a number of industrialized countries, little is known about the long-term consequences for the mothers and children involved. In this study, I use a sample of high-risk births—namely, breech births, in which the fetus is presented with its head upward instead of downward—to study the causal effect of C-sections on child health and on the health, fertility and labor market responses for mothers. Because selection into C-section may be endogenous, I exploit an information shock to doctors in 2000, in which new scientific evidence about the benefits of planned C-sections for breech births led to a sharp 23% increase in planned C-sections. Using Swedish registry data, I find that having a C-section improves child health in both the short and long run, indicated by higher Apgar scores at birth and fewer nights hospitalized during ages 1-7. I find little evidence to suggest any significant impact on maternal health, future fertility or maternal labor market outcomes.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics


  • Cesarean Section, Fertility, Maternal Health, Child Health, Birth Technology, Labor Market Outcomes, I11, I12, I38, J13, J24
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages56
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameWorking Papers
PublisherLund University, Department of Economics