The Fund supports networks of state health policy decision makers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund supports two state leadership programs for legislative and executive branch state government officials committed to improving population health.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis to advance state health leadership, strong primary care, healthy aging, and sustainable health care costs.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is is a foundation that works to improve population health and health equity.
Original Scholarship Child Health
Jessica L. Webster
Neal D. Goldstein
Dec 1, 2022
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: Rates of preterm birth and infant mortality are alarmingly high in the United States. Legislated efforts may directly or indirectly reduce adverse perinatal and infant outcomes through the enactment of certain economic and social policies.
Methods: We conducted a narrative review to summarize the associations between perinatal and infant outcomes and four state-level US policies. We then used a latent profile analysis to create a social and economic policy profile for each state based on the observed policy indicators.
Findings: Of 27 articles identified, nine focused on tax credits, eight on paid parental leave, four on minimum wages, and six on tobacco taxes. In all but three studies, these policies were associated with improved perinatal or infant outcomes. Thirty-three states had tax credit laws, most commonly the earned income tax credit (n = 28, 56%). Eighteen states had parental leave laws. Two states had minimum wage laws lower than the federal minimum; 14 were equal to the federal minimum; 29 were above the federal minimum; and 5 did not have a state law. The average state tobacco tax was $1.76 (standard deviation = $1.08). The latent profile analysis revealed three policy profiles, with the most expansive policies in Western and Northeastern US states, and the least expansive policies in the US South.
Conclusions: State-level social and economic policies have the potential to reduce adverse perinatal and infant health outcomes in the United States. Those states with the least expansive policies should therefore consider enacting these evidence-based policies, as they have shown a demonstrable benefit in other states.
Keywords: infant mortality, premature birth, low birthweight, policy, review, latent profile analysis.
READ ON WILEY ONLINE LIBRARY
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.