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February 16, 2015

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Posted: 16 Feb 2015 12:06 AM PST

'Inequality is Really Bad for our Babies'

Posted: 15 Feb 2015 08:22 PM PST

Richard Green:

One reason to worry about US is really bad for our babies: My colleague Alice Chen, along with Emily Oster and Heidi Williams, have a new paper that explains differences in the infant mortality rate in the United States and other OECD countries. ...
Chen, Oster and Williams ... find that the US continues to lag the others in terms of first year survival. What is particularly interesting is that the difference between the US and other countries accelerates over the course of the first year of life--as neonatal threats recede, the position of the US worsened relative to Austria and Finland.
Here is where inequality comes in--if when Chen and co-authors look at children born to advantaged individuals (meaning married, college-educated and white) in the US, they survive at the same rates as their counterparts in Austria and Finland. But the trio find that children of disadvantaged parents in the US have much lower survival rates than children of disadvantaged parents in the other countries. This may well be because Europe's safety nets make the disadvantaged less disadvantaged.

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