We investigate whether social interactions among pregnant women can lead to increased Medicaid participation within this population. Using geographically fine vital statistics data, we exploit variation in Medicaid use among recently pregnant mothers, within small neighborhoods, to study the impact on participation among currently pregnant women. Women are more likely to use Medicaid benefits while pregnant including prenatal care, when previously pregnant women on their census block also received similar benefits. Network effects are relatively larger for young first-time mothers as well as for women within neighborhoods with lower initial levels of welfare program knowledge.
- Peer effects
- Program participation