Bertoli, P., Grembi, V. (2021).

Birth outcomes in hard times among minority ethnic groups. Journal of Population Economics, 1-32.


Combining a unique dataset of birth records with municipal-level real estate information, we assess the impact of the 2008 recession on the health of immigrants’ newborns in Italy. Health at birth (e.g., low birth weight) of children born to immigrants deteriorated more than health at birth of children born to Italian natives. The negative effects on immigrants are not equally distributed across ethnicities, but rather are driven by the main economic activity of the ethnic group and its related network at the municipal level. Immigrants whose ethnic group is mainly employed in the sectors most affected during the recession suffered the most. Living in a municipality where their ethnic network is organized through more registered immigrant associations mitigates the recession hardship for immigrants. The characteristics of ethnic groups and their organization at the municipal level do not explain the heterogeneous effects on Italian newborns, which confirms the presence of network effects rather than neighborhood effects