Health Effects of Non-Health Policies

Date & time

Feb 9, 2006-Apr 17, 2024, 12:00-11:53 am EDT


Hyatt Regency Bethesda
Bethesda, MD
About the Conference
Health policy is often equated with health insurance and programs explicitly linked with the provision of medical and health services. However, many public policies and expenditures can and do affect population health and health disparities, even though health is neither a central goal nor an anticipated side effect of these efforts. The well-established strong positive associations of health with income, wealth, education, and housing conditions suggest that a wide range of socioeconomic policies may affect health, and some policies and expenditures may have greater effects on population health than some explicitly health-focused policies.

This conference brings together a group of scholars and policy researchers to shed some light on the state of the evidence and need for additional research in this area.

The conference will feature twelve papers by scholars who were commissioned by the National Poverty Center to explore the health impacts of six areas of social and economic policy:

(1) Housing and neighborhood/community policies;

(2) civil rights and anti-discrimination policies;

(3) education policies;

(4) income support programs over the life course;

(5) welfare programs and reforms;

(6) employment and macroeconomic policies.

The conference will include formal discussion of the pair of papers in each area by two experts, and of the overall set of 12 by several general discussants, with time in each session for open questions and discussion involving conference attendees.

Conference participants will include government decision-makers, agency staff, academic researchers, and policy analysts.

The project is supported by funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Annie E. Casey Foundation; and the Russell Sage Foundation.

For more information, contact the National Poverty Center at [email protected].

About the edited volume
The Russell Sage Foundation will publish the conference papers in a volume called 'Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy' edited by Schoeni, House, Kaplan, and Pollack. The book will be available in a cloth version in January 2008.

This event is by invitation only.

The NPC's sleeping room block at the conference hotel is limited to speakers and other invited guests. We cannot reserve rooms for general conference participants, so we encourage you to secure your own accommodations soon.

The project is directed by four scholars who have complementary skills.

James S. House, Angus Campbell Collegiate Professor of Sociology and Survey Research, and Research Professor in the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research and Research Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology of the School of Public Health, University of Michigan.

Robert F. Schoeni, Research Associate Professor, Institute for Social Research, Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy, and Associate Director of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

Harold Pollack, Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration; Faculty Chair, Center for Health Administration Studies, University of Chicago

George A. Kaplan, Thomas Francis Collegiate Professor of Epidemiology, Research Professor in the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research and Director of the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Michigan.

Conference Agenda (as of Nov. 9)


8:30-9:45: Continental Breakfast

10:00-10:30: Introductions and Overview of the Project

10:30-12:00: Housing and Neighborhoods
Chair: James Knickman, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Paper 1: Residential Environments and Obesity: What Can We Learn about Policy Interventions from Observational Studies?
Jeffrey D. Morenoff, Ana V. Diez Roux, Theresa Osypuk, and Ben Hansen, University of Michigan
Paper 2: Are Some Neighborhoods Bad for Your Health?
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University, and Rebecca Fauth, National Center for Children and Families
Discussants: Christopher Jencks, Harvard University and Narayan Sastry, RAND Corporation

12:00-1:30: Lunch (invited speaker)

1:30-3:00: Civil Rights
Chair: Aixa Cintron-Velez, The Russell Sage Foundation
Paper 1: The Long-Run and Intergenerational Impact of Poor Infant Health: Evidence from Cohorts Born During the Civil Rights Era
Kenneth Y. Chay, University of California-Berkeley
Paper 2: Lifting Gates–Lengthening Lives: Did Civil Rights Policies Improve the Health of African-American Women in the 60's and 70's?
George A. Kaplan, Nalini Ranjit, Sarah Burgard, University of Michigan
Discussants: David Williams, University of Michigan; Harry Holzer, Georgetown University

3:00-3:30: Break

3:30-5:00: Education Policy
Chair: Michael Laracy, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Paper 1: Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence
David Cutler, Harvard University, and Adriana Lleras-Muney, Princeton University
Paper 2: Developmental Health Effects of Human Development Policies
Daniel P. Keating and Sharon Simonton, University of Michigan
Discussant: Lisa Berkman, Harvard University; Thomas J. Kane, Harvard University

5:00-6:30: Reception


7:45-8:30: Continental Breakfast

8:30-10:00: Income Support
Chair: Eloise Anderson, Job Wave America
Paper 1:Did the Introduction of Food Stamps Affect Birth Outcomes in California?
Janet Currie, Columbia University, and Enrico Moretti, University of California-Berkeley
Paper 2: Income Support Policies and the Health of the Elderly
Pamela Herd, University of Wisconsin-Madison; James S. House and Robert F. Schoeni, University of Michigan
Discussants: Kim Lochner, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Douglas Miller, University of California-Davis

10:00-10:30: Break

10:30-12:00: Welfare Policy
Chair: Donald Oellerich, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Paper 1: The Effects of Welfare and Child Support Policies on Maternal Health
Jean Knab and Sara McLanahan, Princeton University; Irv Garfinkel, Columbia University
Paper 2: Welfare Reform and Indirect Impacts on Health
Marianne Bitler, Public Policy Institute of California, and Hilary Hoynes, University of California-Davis
Discussants: Rebecca Blank, University of Michigan; Katherine Newman, Princeton University

12:00-1:30: Lunch

1:30-3:00: Macroeconomic and Employment Policy
Chair: George Kaplan, University of Michigan
Paper 1: Breaking the Chain of Adversity Linking Employment Conditions to Health: Employment Policies and the Health and Well Being of Workers and their Families
Richard H. Price and Sarah Burgard, University of Michigan
Paper 2: The Effects of Macroeconomic Conditions on Health
Christopher J. Ruhm, University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Discussants: Douglas W. Elmendorf, Federal Reserve Board and Ray Catalano, University of California-Berkeley

3:00-3:45: Integrative Discussion
Comments from David Mechanic, Rutgers; Leonard Syme, University of California-Berkeley; and Harold Pollack, University of Chicago, followed by open discussion.