Bertoli, P., Grembi, V., Hesse, C. L., Castelló, J. V. (2020)
The effect of budget cuts on C-section rates and birth outcomes: Evidence from Spain. Social Science & Medicine, 265, 113419
Using data from Spain, we show the impact of significant health-sector budget cuts introduced in 2012 on the rates of cesarean sections and on infant health outcomes at birth, which we use as a proxy for the quality of birth centers. Exploiting a difference-in-differences fixed-effects approach at the hospital level, we estimate a 3% increase in C-sections as a result of the budget restrictions, with no significant consequences on health outcomes at birth. Given the additional evidence in the literature on the negative short- and long-term effects of non-medically indicated C-sections, our paper provides important policy implications for population health.