A growing number of studies document that health conditions in early life contribute to later life health and economic disparities. Emerging evidence suggests that policy interventions can ameliorate these long-term effects. Marianne Page, professor of economics at UC Davis, extends the existing literature by considering whether the health benefits associated with a large-scale public health intervention persist beyond the treated generation onto the offspring of the treated generation. Specifically, she links variation in mothers’ childhood access to Medicaid, resulting from the 1980s Medicaid expansions, to infant health outcomes available in the Vital Statistics Natality files. Her research has led to strong evidence that the health benefits associated with early life access to Medicaid extend to later offspring. This has important implications for cost-benefit analyses.
Marianne Page is a professor of economics and deputy director of the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. Her research includes studies of intergenerational mobility and the impact of social programs on children’s outcomes and has been published in nationally recognized journals such as the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the Journal of Labor Economics and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. She is currently the principle investigator for a large-scale interdisciplinary National Science Foundation Grant “Understanding Children in Economic Distress,” which has brought together a team of researchers in psychology, sociology and economics to provide a better understanding of the challenges and consequences of growing up with low income. Many of the ideas underlying this talk have emanated from that collaborative effort.