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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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A Deadly Disparity: A Unified Assessment of the Black-White Infant Mortality Gap

Todd E Elder1 / John H Goddeeris2 / Steven J Haider3

1Michigan State University,

2Michigan State University,

3Michigan State University,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 11, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.2821, June 2011

Publication History

Published Online:
2011-06-13

Abstract

We provide a unified assessment of a striking disparity in the United States: the differential rate at which white and black infants die. We separate the overall mortality gap into three temporal components—fitness at birth, conditional neonatal mortality, and conditional post-neonatal mortality—and quantify the extent to which each of the components can be predicted using a flexible reweighting method. Almost 90 percent of the overall mortality gap is due to differential fitness at birth, little of which can be predicted by racial differences in background characteristics. The remaining mortality gap stems from conditional post-neonatal mortality differences, nearly all of which can be predicted by background characteristics. The predictability of the mortality gap has declined substantially over the past two decades, largely because the mortality gap among extremely low-fitness infants is increasingly unrelated to background characteristics.

Keywords: infant mortality; reweighting estimation; birth weight; racial disparity

Citing Articles

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[1]
Todd E. Elder, John H. Goddeeris, and Steven J. Haider
Journal of Applied Econometrics, 2015, Page n/a
[2]
Rati Ram
International Journal of Social Economics, 2011, Volume 38, Number 12, Page 973

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