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The Declining Contribution of Socioeconomic Disparities to the Racial Gap in Infant Mortality Rates, 1920–1970

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  • William J. Collins

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Melissa A. Thomasson

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Miami University, Oxford, OH)

Abstract

This article examines the racial gap in infant mortality rates from 1920 to 1970. Using state-level panel data with information on income, urbanization, women's education, and physicians per capita, we can account for a large portion of the racial gap in infant mortality rates between 1920 and 1945. The educational gap between white and nonwhite women was especially important in this regard. In the postwar period, socioeconomic characteristics account for a declining portion of the racial infant mortality gap. We discuss the postwar experience in light of trends in birth weight, maternal characteristics, smoking and breast-feeding behavior, air pollution, and insurance coverage.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 70 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 746-776

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:70:4:y:2004:p:746-776

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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