Medical malpractice liability and its effect on prenatal care utilization and infant health

Lisa Dubay, Robert Kaestner, Timothy Waidmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper we conduct the first national evaluation of the effect of malpractice liability pressure, as measured by malpractice premiums, on prenatal care utilization and infant health. Our results indicate that a decrease in malpractice premiums that would result from a feasible policy reform would lead to a decrease in the incidence of late prenatal care by between 3.0 and 5.9% for black women and between 2.2 and 4.7% for white women. Although, we found evidence that malpractice liability pressure was associated with greater prenatal care delay and fewer prenatal care visits, we did not find evidence that such pressure negatively affected infant health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-611
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Infant health
  • Medical malpractice
  • Prenatal care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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