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Networks or neighborhoods? Correlations in the use of publicly-funded maternity care in California

  • Aizer, Anna
  • Currie, Janet

This study focuses on network effects' in the utilization of publicly funded prenatal care using Vital Statistics data from California for 1989 to 2000. Networks are defined using 5-digit zipcodes and a woman's racial or ethnic group. Like others, we find evidence that the use of public programs is highly correlated within groups defined using race/ethnicity and neighborhoods. These correlations persist even when we control for many unobserved characteristics by including zipcode-year fixed effects, and when we focus on the interaction between own group behavior and measures of the potential for contacts with other members of the group ( contact availability'). However, the richness of our data allows us to go further and to conduct several tests of one hypothesis about networks: That the estimated effects represent information sharing within groups. The results cast doubt on the idea that the observed correlations can be interpreted as evidence of information sharing, and point instead to differences in the behavior of the institutions serving different groups of low-income women as the primary explanation for group-level differences in the take-up of this important public program.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2004)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 2573-2585

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:12:p:2573-2585
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  1. Janet Currie & Jeffrey Grogger, 2000. "Medicaid Expansions and Welfare Contractions: Offsetting Effects on Prenatal Care and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 7667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  3. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2001. "Interactions-based models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 54, pages 3297-3380 Elsevier.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1999. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," JCPR Working Papers 62, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  5. Lawrence Katz & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2000. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," Working Papers 820, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Mark Duggan, 2000. "Hospital Ownership and Public Medical Spending," NBER Working Papers 7789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Borjas, George J & Hilton, Lynette, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604, May.
  9. Beth Osborne Daponte & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 1999. "Why Do Low-Income Households not Use Food Stamps? Evidence from an Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 612-628.
  10. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Borjas, George J, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-50, February.
  12. Jens Otto Ludwig & Greg Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2000. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 158, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  13. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human Capital Externalities," NBER Working Papers 4912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Anna Aizer, 2003. "Got Health? Advertising, Medicaid and Child Health," Working Papers 2003-20, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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