Janet Currie: Violence while in Utero: The Impact of Assaults During Pregnancy on Birth Outcomes


Monday, September 24, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Allison Dining Room

Janet Currie, Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University. Co-Director, Center for Health and Wellbeing.

Janet CurrieEvidence about the effects of violent crime on victims is sparse, but is necessary to determine the social costs of crime and the cost-effectiveness of policy interventions in the justice system. We present new evidence about the effects of violent crime on pregnancy and infant health outcomes, using unique linked administrative data from New York City. We compare mothers who lived in a home where an assault was reported during their pregnancies to mothers who lived in a home where an assault took place shortly after the birth. We find that assaults during pregnancy significantly increase the incidence of negative birth outcomes. Our results are robust to the use of alternative control groups and to using maternal fixed effects models. Based on these impacts, we calculate that the social cost per assault during pregnancy is $41,771, implying a total annual cost of over $4.25 billion. Since infant health is a strong predictor of life-long well-being and women of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse, violence in utero is an important potential channel for intergenerational transmission of inequality.

View the paper
(Joint with Maya Rossin-Slater and Michael Mueller-Smith)

About the speaker

Janet Currie is the Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Co-Director of Princeton's Center for Health and Wellbeing. She also co-directs the Program on Families and Children at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Her research focuses on health and wellbeing, especially of children. She has written about early intervention programs, programs to expand health insurance and improve health care, public housing, and food and nutrition programs. Her current research focuses on socioeconomic differences in health and access to health care, environmental threats to health, and mental health.

She has served as the Vice President of the American Economics Association and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the American Academy of Art and Sciences. She is currently President-elect of the American Society of Health Economics.

She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the Society of Labor Economists, and of the Econometric Society, and has an honorary degree from the University of Lyon and the University of Zurich.

She has served on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science and as the Editor of the Journal of Economic Literature and on the editorial board of the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Learn more about Janet Currie's work


See also: Fall 2018