Socioeconomic Gradients in Low Birthweight in Three Countries

Lidia Panico , Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Alice Goisis, University College London
Melissa L. Martinson, University of Washington, Seattle
Beth Stuart, University of Southampton

Comparative work on socio-economic inequalities in child outcomes has focused on income as the key stratifying variable, ignoring other elements of socio-economic background. Furthermore, such studies have focused on Anglo-Saxon countries, limiting our understanding of how national contexts can modify socio-economic inequalities in child well-being. We compare gradients in low birthweight by maternal education in France, UK and USA, and explore potential underlying micro-level pathways. Preliminary results suggest similar gaps in the three samples, with some notable differences. First, the advantage of high maternal education was more important in the US and UK than France, suggesting highly educated groups which are increasingly diverging from the rest of the population. Second, income was a more important mechanism in the US than France or UK. This may be due to different redistribution policies. Differences in the role of other mechanisms were small, except for a larger importance of pregnancy smoking in France.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1