Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the Us than in Europe?

41 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014 Last revised: 3 Oct 2014

See all articles by Alice Chen

Alice Chen

University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

Emily F. Oster

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Heidi L. Williams

MIT Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2014

Abstract

The US has higher infant mortality than peer countries. In this paper, we combine micro-data from the US with similar data from four European countries to investigate this US infant mortality disadvantage. The US disadvantage persists after adjusting for potential differential reporting of births near the threshold of viability. While the importance of birth weight varies across comparison countries, relative to all comparison countries the US has similar neonatal (<1 month) mortality but higher postneonatal (1-12 months) mortality. We document similar patterns across Census divisions within the US. The postneonatal mortality disadvantage is driven by poor birth outcomes among lower socioeconomic status individuals.

Suggested Citation

Chen, Alice and Oster, Emily F. and Williams, Heidi L., Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the Us than in Europe? (September 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20525. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2502707

Alice Chen (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics ( email )

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Emily F. Oster

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Heidi L. Williams

MIT Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://econ-www.mit.edu/faculty/heidiw

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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