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Sastry's 10-year study of New Orleans Katrina evacuees shows demographic differences between returning and nonreturning

Stafford says less educated, smaller investors more likely to sell off stock and lock in losses during market downturn

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Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

Jeffrey Morenoff photo

Neighborhood mechanisms and the spatial dynamics of birth weight

Publication Abstract

Morenoff, Jeffrey. 2003. "Neighborhood mechanisms and the spatial dynamics of birth weight." American Journal of Sociology, 108(5): 976-1017.

This study addresses two questions about why neighborhood contexts matter for individuals via a multilevel, spatial analysis of birth weight for 101,662 live births within 342 Chicago neighborhoods. First, what are the mechanisms through which neighborhood structural composition is related to health? The results show that mechanisms related to stress and adaptation (violent crime, reciprocal exchange and participation in local voluntary associations) are the most robust neighborhood-level predictors of birth weight. Second, are contextual influences on health limited to the immediate neighborhood or do they extend to a wider geographic context? The results show that contextual effects on birth weight extend to the social environment beyond the immediate neighborhood, even after adjusting for potentially confounding covariates. These findings suggest that the theoretical understanding and empirical estimation of "neighborhood effects" on health are bolstered by collecting data on more causally proximate social processes and by taking into account spatial interdependencies among neighborhoods.

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