Hospitals, Maternal and Infant Health: Impact of the Opening of Public Hospitals in Mexico

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Ramos Pastrana, Julio Alberto;
Fajnzylber Reyes, Eduardo;
May 2024
We examine the impact of public hospitals openings in Mexico on maternal and infant mortality. Using administrative data from the period 2001 to 2019 and taking advantage of the variation in the timing of the opening of public hospitals across Mexican municipalities, we estimate a staggered difference-in-differences model using the Callaway and SantAnna (2021) estimator. In doing so, we compare municipalities where a public hospital started to operate against municipalities without a hospital in operation, before and after the opening. Preliminary results show that openings substantially reduced maternal mortality rate (24 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, which amounts to a 40% decrease) and infant mortality rate (192 infant deaths per 100,000 births, which amounts to a 14% decrease). We provide evidence that the decrease in maternal and infant mortality is driven by an increase in institutional deliveries. In addition, we show heterogeneity by the type of hospital and the existence of previous medical infrastructure. In particular, the effect is driven by the opening of level II hospitals, and the opening of the first hospital in a municipality. This research closes a gap in our understanding of the health effects of expanding healthcare infrastructure in the developing world.