Networks or Neighborhoods? Correlations in the Use of Publicly-Funded Maternity Care in California

41 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2002 Last revised: 29 Oct 2010

See all articles by Anna Aizer

Anna Aizer

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

Janet Currie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Princeton University

Date Written: September 2002

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Aizer, Anna and Currie, Janet, Networks or Neighborhoods? Correlations in the Use of Publicly-Funded Maternity Care in California (September 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9209. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=332253

Anna Aizer

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-3836 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Janet Currie (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

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