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Maya Rossin-Slater on Maternal and Infant Health Inequality: New Evidence from Linked Administrative Data

September 21, 20234:00 pm5:00 pm IRLE Director’s Room


About the Talk

Light refreshments and reception to follow the talk.

Professor Rossin-Slater will discuss her latest research using linked administrative data that combines the universe of California birth records, hospitalizations, and death records with parental income from Internal Revenue Service tax records to provide novel evidence on economic inequality in infant and maternal health. She finds that birth outcomes vary in distinct ways with parental income, and that children of parents in the top of the income distribution have higher rates of low birth weight and preterm birth than those in the bottom. However, unlike birth outcomes, infant mortality varies monotonically with income, and infants of parents in the top of the income distribution—who have the worst birth outcomes—have a death rate that is half that of infants of the lowest-income parents.

When studying maternal health, she finds that although mothers in the top and bottom of the income distributions have similar rates of severe maternal morbidity, the former group are three times less likely to die than the latter. At the same time, these disparities by parental income are small when compared to racial disparities, and she finds virtually no convergence in health outcomes across racial and ethnic groups as income rises. Indeed, infant and maternal health in Black families at the top of the income distribution is markedly worse than that of white families at the bottom of the income distribution. Lastly, she benchmark the health gradients in California to those in Sweden, finding that infant and maternal health is worse in California than in Sweden for most outcomes throughout the entire income distribution.

About the Speaker

Maya Rossin-Slater is an Associate Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic and Policy Research (SIEPR), a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Research Affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University, and her BA in Economics and Statistics from the University of California at Berkeley. Rossin-Slater’s research includes work in health, public, and labor economics. She focuses on issues in maternal and child well-being, family structure and behavior, health disparities, and public policies affecting disadvantaged populations in the United States and other developed countries.


IRLE Director’s Room
2521 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
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