Mary Reader's piece about benefits in pregnancy published in The Guardian
Published/Broadcast 31 March 2023
Mary Reader is a research officer at STICERD's Hub for Equal Representation (and previous research officer in CASE). She has published her research in the Journal of Health Economics and has written an item for The Guardian.
Her research explores the infant health effects of starting universal child benefits in pregnancy, using evidence from England and Wales. She shows that health inequalities starting at birth and could be tackled by a simple, low-cost intervention: starting child benefit payments during pregnancy. Using the data from an policy from 2009-2011, she finds out that the relatively small sum of the Health in Pregnacy grant led to significant improvements in babies’ health. Average birth weight increased, while the proportion of babies born prematurely fell, with the biggest winners being low-income, young mums.