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Arline T. Geronimus photo

The Political Origins of Health Inequality: Political Parties and Infant Mortality

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Arline T. Geronimus, John Bound, Javier Rodriguez

The proposed research project focuses on developing an understanding of the mechanisms by which political actors and institutions affect inequalities in health. Results from our own research show that, relative to trend, national and race-specific infant, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality rates decrease under Democratic administrations and increase under Republican administrations (1965-2010). The purpose of the proposed research is to further investigate these trends. We plan to assemble a comprehensive set of state and county level data on overall and race specific infant-related mortality rates, macro-social determinants of health, and the party composition of state and local governments in place during the post ?political realignment? period (1960-2012). Such detailed data would permit us to identify enough exogenous, natural variation across levels of analysis and time for causal inference. Our methodological approach is a combination of time series, hierarchical modeling approaches applied to natural experiment scenarios. The proposed project will outline the foundations of an important yet overlooked research agenda: The connections between large historical health inequalities on the basis of race and socioeconomic standing and politics specific variables.

Funding Period: 07/01/2013 to 09/30/2014

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