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Next Brown Bag

Mon, Oct 24 at noon:
Academic innovation & the global public research university, James Hilton

psc brown bag iconSocial Inequality and Infant Mortality in China and India

Sarah Burgard (Department of Sociology, Population Studies Center and Epidemiology, University of Michigan), Shige Song

03/15/2010, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.



Improving health in early life and reducing social inequalities in health are major policy goals worldwide, and various medical interventions have been introduced to try to reach those goals. However, assessments of the value of medical care during pregnancy and delivery for promoting infant survival have met with mixed and sometimes unexpected findings. We examine how the endogeneity of parents’ decisions to obtain care can influence the observed association between medical pregnancy care use and infant mortality. Using data on women’s recent births in China and India in the 1990s, we jointly estimate models of infant survival, the use of prenatal care, and the use of medical delivery assistance. These multilevel multiprocess models can accommodate correlations between the risk that a woman’s infant will not survive and her decisions about using medical pregnancy care, and show a stronger protective influence of these services on survival than conventional models. Our analyses and findings are framed with a discussion of their implications for understanding persistent social disparities in health.

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