I am a PhD student in Economics at Stanford and a Visiting Fellow at STICERD at the London School of Economics. My research interests lie in public, health and labor economics, with a particular focus on inequality.
Prior to joining Stanford, I worked as a Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant at the LSE's Hub for Equal Representation in the Economy. I completed a Master of Public Administration at the LSE (Distinction) and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford (First-Class).
You can find out more about my latest research on my website: maryreader.com
The infant health effects of starting universal child benefits in pregnancy: Evidence from England and Wales
JOURNAL OF HEALTH ECONOMICS
2023; 89: 102751
Child benefits are typically paid from birth. This paper asks whether starting universal child benefits in pregnancy leads to improvements in infant health. Leveraging administrative birth registry and hospital microdata from England and Wales, I study the effects of the Health in Pregnancy Grant, a universal conditional cash transfer equivalent to three months of child benefit (190 GBP) as a lump sum to pregnant mothers from 2009 to 2011. I exploit quasi-experimental variation in eligibility with a regression discontinuity design in the date of birth of the baby. I find that the policy increased birth weight by 8-12 grams on average, reduced low birth weight (<2500 g) by 3-6 percent and decreased prematurity by 9-11 percent. Younger mothers, particularly those living in deprived areas, benefit the most. I present evidence that the mechanisms are unlikely to be antenatal care, nutrition or smoking, with reductions in stress remaining a possible explanation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2023.102751
View details for Web of Science ID 000957632700001
View details for PubMedID 36948047