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Abstract

Social epidemiologists have found a relationship between poverty and infant mortality. Welfare policy experts have found that welfare benefits affect work effort, family structure, migration, and the rate of intergenerational transmission of welfare receipt. Social epidemiologists have paid little attention to the effects of poverty policies on infant mortality. Welfare policy experts have paid little attention to the effect of welfare on infant mortality. This paper merges the concerns of social epidemiologists and welfare policy experts by examining the relationship between welfare and infant mortality. The key finding is that welfare directly and indirectly affects infant mortality rates. States with higher welfare benefit levels also have lower infant mortality rates. The policy implications of this finding are discussed.

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