Laura Wherry

I am an assistant professor at
NYU Wagner Graduate School
295 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor
NY, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-7444



Google Scholar


Working Papers

"Maternal and Infant Health Inequality: New Evidence from Linked Administrative Data." Kate Kennedy-Moulton, Sarah Miller, Petra Persson, Maya Rossin-Slater, and Gloria Aldana, under review, Press release

We use linked administrative data that combines the universe of California birth records, hospitalizations, and death records with parental income from Internal Revenue Service tax records and the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics file to provide novel evidence on economic inequality in infant and maternal health. We find that birth outcomes vary non-monotonically with parental income, and that children of parents in the top ventile of the income distribution have higher rates of low birth weight and preterm birth than those in the bottom ventile. However, unlike birth outcomes, infant mortality varies monotonically with income, and infants of parents in the top ventile of the income distribution---who have the worst birth outcomes---have a death rate that is half that of infants of parents in the bottom ventile. When studying maternal health, we find a similar pattern of non-monotonicity between income and severe maternal morbidity, and a monotonic and decreasing relationship between income and maternal mortality. At the same time, these disparities by parental income are small when compared to racial disparities, and we observe virtually no convergence in health outcomes across racial and ethnic groups as income rises. Indeed, infant and maternal health in Black families at the top of the income distribution is markedly worse than that of white families at the bottom of the income distribution. Lastly, we benchmark the health gradients in California to those in Sweden, finding that infant and maternal health is worse in California than in Sweden for most outcomes throughout the entire income distribution.

Covering Undocumented Immigrants: The Effects of a Large-Scale Prenatal Care Intervention with Sarah Miller, under review

Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for public insurance coverage for prenatal care in most states, despite their children representing a large fraction of births and having U.S. citizenship. In this paper, we examine a policy that expanded Medicaid pregnancy coverage to undocumented immigrants. Using a novel dataset that links California birth records to Census surveys, we identify siblings born to immigrant mothers before and after the policy. Implementing a mothers' fixed effects design, we find that the policy increased coverage for and use of prenatal care among pregnant immigrant women, and increased average gestation length and birth weight among their children.


Medicaid Expansion Led to Reductions in Postpartum Hospitalizations with Maria Steenland, Health Affairs, 2023, Press release

What Difference Does a Diagnosis Make? Evidence from Marginal Patients with Mattan Alalouf and Sarah Miller, forthcoming at American Journal of Health Economics

Multi-generational Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net: Early Life Exposure to Medicaid and the Next Generation's Health with Chloe East, Sarah Miller, and Marianne Page, forthcoming at American Economic Review

The Economic Consequences of Being Denied an Abortion with Sarah Miller and Diana Greene Foster, forthcoming at American Economic Journal: Economic Policy

Estimated Mortality Increases During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Socioeconomic Status, Race, and Ethnicity, with Sarah Miller and Bhash Mazumder, Health Affairs, 2021

Medicaid and Mortality: New Evidence from Linked Survey and Administrative Data with Sarah Miller and Norman Johnson, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2021, Ungated version, Appendix

Medicaid Expansion Increased Preconception Health Counseling, Folic Acid Intake, and Postpartum Contraception, with Rebecca Myerson and Samuel Crawford, Health Affairs, 2020

The Impact of Insurance Expansions on the Already Insured: The Affordable Care Act and Medicare with Colleen Carey and Sarah Miller, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2020

How Have ACA Insurance Expansions Affected Health Outcomes? Findings From The Literature, with Aparna Soni and Kosali Simon, Health Affairs, 2020

What Happens After an Abortion Denial? A Review of Results from the Turnaway Study with Sarah Miller and Diana Greene Foster, AEA Papers and Proceedings, 2020

Four Years Later: Insurance Coverage and Access to Care Continue to Diverge Between ACA Medicaid Expansion and Non-Expansion States with Sarah Miller, AEA Papers and Proceedings, 2019

The Long-Term Effects of Early Life Medicaid Coverage with Sarah Miller, Journal of Human Resources, 2018, Appendix

Childhood Medicaid Coverage and Later Life Health Care Utilization with Sarah Miller, Robert Kaestner, and Bruce Meyer, Review of Economics and Statistics, 2018, Appendix

State Medicaid Expansions for Parents Led to Increased Coverage and Prenatal Care Utilization Among Pregnant Mothers, Health Services Research, 2018

Health and Access to Care During the First 2 Years of the ACA Medicaid Expansion with Sarah Miller, New England Journal of Medicine, 2017

State and Federal Coverage for Pregnant Immigrants: Prenatal Care Increased, No Change Detected for Infant Health with Rachel Fabi, Adam Schickedanz, and Brendan Saloner, Health Affairs, 2017

Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility with Bruce Meyer, Journal of Human Resources, 2016, Appendix

Early Coverage, Access, Utilization, and Health Effects of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansions: A Quasi-Experimental Study with Sarah Miller, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2016

Previous Medicaid Expansion May Have Had Lasting Positive Effects on Oral Health of Non-Hispanic Black Children with Brandy Lipton, Sarah Miller, Sandra Decker, and Genevieve Kenney, Health Affairs, 2016

The Role of Public Health Insurance in Reducing Child Poverty with Genevieve Kenney and Benjamin Sommers, Academic Pediatrics, 2016

Predicting High Cost Pediatric Patients: Derivation and Validation of a Population-Based Model with Lindsey Leininger and Brendan Saloner, Medical Care, 2015

Using Self-Reported Health Measures to Predict High-Need Cases among Medicaid-Eligible Adults with Marguerite Burns and Lindsey Leininger, Health Services Research, 2015

Medicaid Family Planning and Related Preventive Care, American Journal of Public Health, 2013