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Russell Sage Foundation
Making Americans Healthier: Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy

Making Americans Healthier: Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy

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The United States spends billions of dollars annually on social and economic policies aimed at improving the lives of its citizens, but the health consequences associated with these policies are rarely considered. In Making Americans Healthier, a group of multidisciplinary experts shows how social and economic policies seemingly unrelated to medical well-being have dramatic consequences for the health of the American people.

Most previous research concerning problems with health and healthcare in the United States has focused narrowly on issues of medical care and insurance coverage, but Making Americans Healthier demonstrates the important health consequences that policymakers overlook in traditional cost-benefit evaluations of social policy. The contributors examine six critical policy areas: civil rights, education, income support, employment, welfare, and neighborhood and housing. Among the important findings in this book, David Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney document the robust relationship between educational attainment and health, and estimate that the health benefits of education may exceed even the well-documented financial returns of education. Pamela Herd, James House, and Robert Schoeni discover notable health benefits associated with the Supplemental Security Income Program, which provides financial support for elderly and disabled Americans. George Kaplan, Nalini Ranjit, and Sarah Burgard document a large and unanticipated improvement in the health of African-American women following the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

Making Americans Healthier presents ground-breaking evidence that the health impact of many social policies is substantial. The important findings in this book pave the way for promising new avenues for intervention and convincingly demonstrate that ultimately social and economic policy is health policy.

A Volume in the National Poverty Center Series on Poverty and Public Policy

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780871547477
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Publication date: 02/28/2008
Series: National Poverty Center Series on Poverty and Public Policy Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 412
Product dimensions: 6.63(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

ROBERT F. SCHOENI is professor of public policy and economics, the University of Michigan. JAMES S. HOUSE is Angus Campbell Collegiate Professor of Sociology and Survey Research, the University of Michigan. GEORGE A. KAPLAN is the Thomas Francis Collegiate Professor of Public Health, the University of Michigan. HAROLD POLLACK is associate professor of social service administration, University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Introduction     1
The Health Effects of Social and Economic Policy: The Promise and Challenge for Research and Policy   James S. House   Robert F. Schoeni   George A. Kaplan   Harold Pollack     3
Education Policy     27
Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence   David M. Cutler   Adriana Lleras-Muney     29
Health Effects of Human Development Policies   Daniel P. Keating   Sharon Z. Simonton     61
Income Transfer Policy     95
Income Support Policies and Health Among the Elderly   Pamela Herd   James S. House   Robert F. Schoeni     97
Did the Introduction of Food Stamps Affect Birth Outcomes in California?   Janet Currie   Enrico Moretti     122
Civil Rights     143
Lifting Gates, Lengthening Lives: Did Civil Rights Policies Improve the Health of African American Women in the 1960s and 1970s?   George A. Kaplan   Nalini Ranjit   Sarah A. Burgard     145
Macroeconomic and Employment Policy     171
Macroeconomic Conditions, Health, and Government Policy   Christopher J. Ruhm     173
The New Employment Contract and Worker Health in the United States   Richard H. Price   Sarah A. Burgard     201
Welfare Policy     229
Welfare Reform and Indirect Impacts on Health   Marianne P. Bitler   Hilary W. Hoynes     231
The Effects of Welfare and Child Support Policies on Maternal Health and Well-Being   Jean Knab   Irv Garfinkel   Sara McLanahan     281
Housing and Neighborhood Policy     307
Residential Environments and Obesity: What Can We Learn About Policy Interventions from Observational Studies?   Jeffrey D. Morenoff   Ana V. Diez Roux   Ben B. Hansen   Theresa L. Osypuk     309
Are Some Neighborhoods Better for Child Health Than Others?   Rebecca C. Fauth   Jeanne Brooks-Gunn     344
Conclusion     377
Social and Economic Policies as Health Policy: Moving Toward a New Approach to Improving Health in America   Harold Pollack   George A. Kaplan   James S. House   Robert F. Schoeni     379
Index     391

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Making Americans Healthier: Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Chloe_mother_of_two More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book on the health effects of social and economic policies. Written by leading experts from a range of disciplines, Making American's Healthier dovetails wonderfully with my own work on Gender and Health as it sheds light on the range of policies that shape individuals' opportunity to pursue a healthy life and thus contribute to social disparities in health and longevity. Making Americans Healthier will soon be required reading for researchers, policy makers and anyone interested in understanding the policy levers for improving population health and reducing health disparities.