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2021 Honors Thesis: Benjamin Wiener


Benjamin Wiener

Title of Thesis:

Police Interventions and Birth Outcomes


Chris KarbownikStephen O'Connell, Michael Kramer (Epidemiology)


Based on existing literature that well establishes the stress of police interventions and the effects of in utero exposure to stress on birth outcomes, I hypothesize that in utero exposure to local high profile uses of police force will affect infant birth outcomes, particularly in minority populations. Using comprehensive birth data from the National Center for Health Statistics, I perform a difference-in-difference analysis to test this hypothesis. I do not find compelling evidence for a link between the use of force by police and birth outcomes. I present three explanations for the contradiction between my expected and experimental results. The first two explanations revolve around limitations of measures of police violence incidents. Alternatively, I propose that my results may provide evidence for theories of race-related stress that understand this stress as a lifetime chronic factor, as opposed to being tied to individual events.

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