Anna Aizer (Brown)

Event Date

Blue room, Social Sciences and Humanities, 1113

"Nurses and the Health of the Community: Evidence from Public Support of Nurse Training"

Abstract:  Nursing has historically been one of the few professional opportunities available to women.  Until the 1960s, most nurses were trained in private apprentice-like programs in hospitals.  A deliberate change in nurse training policy combined with increased federal support for through the 1965 Nurse Training Act resulted in a shift in nurse training out of hospitals and into community colleges and universities.  With new data on the growth in nurse training programs across the US 1960-1980, we find that the shift from private to public training of nurses led to a significant increase in the number of nurses, particularly among those living in previously underserved communities.  Using this growth and variation in nurse training opportunities, we instrument for the local supply of nurses to estimate the impact of nurses on an important marker of community health: mortality.  The increase in nurses brought about by the shift to public support of nurse training led to a significant decline in local rates of mortality (including infant and elderly), suggesting important spillovers associated with public investments in women’s human capital.

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