Class Year


Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Economics Department

First Advisor

Benjamin Ho

Second Advisor

Alicia Atwood


For nearly half a century, the American government funded the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” As the name suggests, this experiment abused black men from Alabama and required medical professionals to withhold care from the test subjects. The “Tuskegee Study” is credited with increasing medical mistrust among members of the black community. Specifically, black men, particularly those similar to the original test subjects, experienced a decline in health following the 1972 “Tuskegee Study” disclosures. In this thesis, the health of black infants is viewed through the lens of the “Tuskegee Study” revelations. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a difference-in-differences methodology demonstrates that the disclosures did not negatively impact the health of black infants. Furthermore, data from the General Social Survey indicates that potential southern black mothers did not experience meaningfully high levels of medical mistrust following the revelations.