Great Problems, Great Minds Seminar Series—Maternal and Infant Health Inequality: New Evidence from Linked Administrative Data


Maya Rossin-Slater

Join Illinois Tech’s Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Maya Rossin-Slater, associate professor of health policy in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. Rossin-Slater is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic and Policy Research (SIEPR), a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a research affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). She received her Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University and her B.A. in economics and statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. Rossin-Slater’s research includes work in health, public, and labor economics. She focuses on issues in maternal and child well-being, family structure and behavior, health disparities, and public policies affecting disadvantaged populations in the United States and other developed countries. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, is the principal investigator on several grants from the National Institutes of Health, and has published articles in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The event will take place on January 19 beginning at 12:40 p.m.

This talk presents research using linked administrative data that combines the universe of California birth records, hospitalizations, and death records with parental income from Internal Revenue Service tax records and the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics file to provide novel evidence on economic inequality in infant and maternal health. Birth outcomes vary non-monotonically with parental income, and children of parents in the top ventile of the income distribution have higher rates of low birth weight and preterm birth than those in the bottom ventile. However, unlike birth outcomes, infant mortality varies monotonically with income, and infants of parents in the top ventile of the income distribution—who have the worst birth outcomes—have a death rate that is half that of infants of parents in the bottom ventile. When studying maternal health, there is a similar pattern of non-monotonicity between income and severe maternal morbidity, and a monotonic and decreasing relationship between income and maternal mortality. At the same time, these disparities of parental income are small when compared to racial disparities, and we observe virtually no convergence in health outcomes across racial and ethnic groups as income rises. Indeed, infant and maternal health in Black families at the top of the income distribution is markedly worse than that of white families at the bottom of the income distribution. Lastly, we benchmark the health gradients in California to those in Sweden, finding that infant and maternal health is worse in California than in Sweden for most outcomes throughout the entire income distribution.

This talk, “Maternal and Infant Health Inequality: New Evidence from Linked Administrative Data,” will take place on Zoom.

The event is part of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series that explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the twenty-first century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page.

For more information, contact Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Hao Huang at

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