Public Policy and Infant Health
Almond and Currie (2011) summarize research showing health at birth is linked to both short- and long- run outcomes. The research contained in this proposed session explores the effectiveness of public policies intended to improve conditions during pregnancy and infancy. The first paper re-examines the effect of the WIC program on a number of birth outcomes using an innovative approach to account for selection into the program. The second paper explores the effects of state substance abuse during pregnancy laws, some of which classify this behavior as child abuse, on infant health outcomes including drug dependency at birth. The last paper focuses examines an understudied discontinuity in SSI eligibility to examine the effect of SSI receipt on infant health post-birth. Understanding the effectiveness of health policy targeting particular populations or specific health behaviors that contribute to health at birth (and beyond) is important so that future policy can be adapted to incorporate the best features, and the papers in this proposed session provide insight on this front.