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The Political Realignment of Health: How Partisan Power Shaped Infant Health in the United States, 1915-2017.

Authors
  • Rodríguez, Javier M1
  • Bae, Byengseon1
  • Geronimus, Arline T2
  • Bound, John2
  • 1 Claremont Graduate University.
  • 2 University of Michigan.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of health politics, policy and law
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2022
Volume
47
Issue
2
Pages
201–224
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1215/03616878-9517191
PMID: 34522959
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The US two-party system was transformed in the 1960s when the Democratic Party abandoned its Jim Crow protectionism to incorporate the policy agenda fostered by the civil rights movement, and the Republican Party redirected its platform toward socioeconomic and racial conservatism. The authors argue that the policy agendas promoted by the two parties through presidents and state legislatures codify a racially patterned access to resources and power detrimental to the health of all. To test the hypothesis that fluctuations in overall and race-specific infant mortality rates (IMRs) shift between the parties in power before and after the political realignment (PR), the authors apply panel data analysis methods to state-level data from the National Center for Health Statistics for the period 1915 through 2017. Net of trend, overall, and race-specific IMRs were not statistically different between presidential parties before the PR. This pattern, however, changed after the PR, with Republican administrations consistently underperforming Democratic ones. Net of trend, non-Southern state legislatures controlled by Republicans underperform Democratic ones in overall and racial IMRs in both periods. Copyright © 2022 by Duke University Press.

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