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The Political Economy of Saving Mothers and Babies: The Politics of State Participation in the Sheppard-Towner Program

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  • MOEHLING, CAROLYN M.
  • THOMASSON, MELISSA A.

Abstract

Enacted in 1922 and repealed in 1929, the Sheppard-Towner program gave federal matching money to states to provide public health education to mothers. We examine variation in state participation in the program, and find that the timing of women's suffrage had an important impact. However, we find that the effect of suffrage was short-lived and did not influence public health spending after the program's repeal. We also find no evidence of a “demonstration effect.” On average, the states that continued activities after Sheppard-Towner ended were those that had sizable public health budgets before the program had even begun.

Suggested Citation

  • Moehling, Carolyn M. & Thomasson, Melissa A., 2012. "The Political Economy of Saving Mothers and Babies: The Politics of State Participation in the Sheppard-Towner Program," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 75-103, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:72:y:2012:i:01:p:75-103_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Celeste K. Carruthers & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2015. "Municipal Housekeeping: The Impact of Women’s Suffrage on Public Education," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 837-872.
    2. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2014. "Maternal health and the baby boom," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 225-269, July.
    3. Anderson, D. Mark & Brown, Ryan & Charles, Kerwin Kofi & Rees, Daniel I., 2016. "The Effect of Occupational Licensing on Consumer Welfare: Early Midwifery Laws and Maternal Mortality," IZA Discussion Papers 10074, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Carolyn Moehling & Melissa Thomasson, 2014. "Saving Babies: The Impact of Public Education Programs on Infant Mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 367-386, April.
    5. Carolyn M. Moehling & Melissa A. Thomasson, 2012. "Saving Babies: The Contribution of Sheppard-Towner to the Decline in Infant Mortality in the 1920s," NBER Working Papers 17996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kose, Esra & Kuka, Elira & Shenhav, Na'ama, 2016. "Women's Enfranchisement and Children's Education: The Long-Run Impact of the U.S. Suffrage Movement," IZA Discussion Papers 10148, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Jonathan Fox & Mikko Myrskylä, 2015. "Urban fertility responses to local government programs: Evidence from the 1923-1932 U.S," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(16), pages 487-532, February.
    8. Jonathan F. Fox, 2011. "Public health, poor relief and improving urban child mortality outcomes in the decade prior to the New Deal," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2011-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    9. repec:hka:wpaper:2013-03 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Wells, Rebecca & Cilenti, Dorothy & Issel, L. Michele, 2015. "The political economy of a public health case management program's transition into medical homes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 98-106.
    11. Wüst, Miriam, 2012. "Early interventions and infant health: Evidence from the Danish home visiting program," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 484-495.

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