U.Va. Economist Amalia Miller Wins Arrow Prize for Paper on Impact of Midwifery Public Policies

September 19, 2007
Sept. 19, 2007 -- Amalia Miller has won the 2006 Kenneth J. Arrow Prize for Junior Economists. The Arrow Prizes for Junior and Senior Economists recognize two papers that make an outstanding contribution to their field, out of approximately 400 published in 2006 in the five Berkeley economics journals. The prizes were announced via e-mail Sept. 14 to the Berkeley Electronic Press network of 65,000 economists, greatly increasing Miller’s visibility among her peer economists around the world.

Begun in 2003, the Arrow Prizes in Economics are named in honor of Kenneth J. Arrow, who shared the Nobel Prize in 1972 for his pioneering contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory. The Arrow Prize for Junior Economists is given to a faculty member or economist who earned his or her Ph.D. within the past six years.

Miller's paper, "The Impact of Midwifery-Promoting Public Policies on Medical Interventions and Health Outcomes," published in the Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, examined what happens when states pass laws that require health insurance companies to cover services provided by midwives that are equivalent to services provided by doctors. By examining a huge data set of all babies born in the U.S. from 1989-99, Miller argues that midwifery-promoting laws do spur more women to go to midwives, and, overall, result in less babies dying, and the pro-midwife laws (and not other factors) are driving the change. The exact reasons for improved birth outcomes are unclear, argues Miller, but pro-midwife laws, overall, result in improved health outcomes.

Her paper is available at: