The long-term health benefits of receiving treatment from qualified midwives at birth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper explores the long-term effects of being born with the assistance of a qualified midwife on health and skills, using longitudinal register-based data for individuals born in rural Swedish parishes between 1881 and 1930 and followed from birth until age 80. In the setting of home deliveries, midwives strictly followed hygiene instructions and monitored the health of the mothers and newborns for 3 weeks after birth, and the study observes these individual-level treatments. The results from empirical strategies controlling for observables, using instrumental variables and mother fixed effects are consistent. This paper first finds that treatment by qualified midwives at birth reduced neonatal mortality. It further concludes that individuals treated by qualified midwives at birth had substantially lower mortality from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at ages 40–80 and that males had lower morbidity and better skills at ages 19–21 than those treated by traditional birth attendants.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • early-life, qualified midwifery, health, skills, life-course, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-433
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul
Publication categoryResearch

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