Aizer reports U.S. newborn health improves

May 29, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] A new special issue of Science includes a review of recent economic research by PSTC Associate and Associate Professor of Economics Anna Aizer, along with Janet Currie of the National Bureau of Economic Research and Princeton University. For the article, “The intergenerational transmission of inequality: Maternal disadvantage and health at birth,” the pair studied the effect of maternal disadvantage on the health of newborns.

Despite the widening economic inequality gap in the U.S., Aizer and Currie found that newborn health has improved. “That was really surprising to us,” said Aizer. She and Currie suggest that the improvement stems from increases in access to healthcare, education, and nutrition as a result of public policies and programming.

“We know a lot more about improving health at birth than we did 20 years ago, and there are more policies now that are trying to do just that,” Aizer said. She emphasized that it will be important to determine which policies are most effective, so that resources can be focused on reaching specific populations with appropriate programs.

The special issue of Science, published on May 23, uses “fresh waves of data to explore the origins, impact, and future of inequality around the world.”