Three Essays in Health Economics

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Title: Three Essays in Health Economics
Author: Robinson, Christina Ann
Advisors: Melinda Sandler Morrill, Committee Member
Robert Clark, Committee Chair
Xiaoyong Zheng, Committee Co-Chair
Alvin Headen, Committee Member
Walter Wessels, Committee Member
Abstract: This dissertation examines topics in health economics. The first study examines the relationship between access to retiree health insurance (RHI) and the decision to leave one’s career job. In this paper a Cox Proportional Hazard Model with time varying covariates is utilized to estimate the probability that an individual disengages from their career job, given they have not yet done so. Results indicate that those with access to RHI are significantly more likely to leave their career employer in all time periods than identical individuals without RHI. The second examines the relationship between a household’s Food Stamp Program participation, and child overweight and obesity. This paper considers a dynamic process for weight gain explicitly modeling the role last period’s weight plays in determining this period’s weight. Results suggest that FSP participation does not significantly affect the deviation of a child’s current BMI from the ideal level, indicating that FSP participation does not contribute to child overweight. The results also suggest that children tend toward their medically ideal weight. The third essay considers a related issue. There is a wide body of literature that examines the effect of FSP participation on obesity outcomes for adults and a smaller body of work that examines the same relationship for children. The literature focusing on adults finds that FSP participation is positively related to obesity in women, while work focusing on children fails to find a similar effect. This creates an interesting economic puzzle as most children live in the same household as their mother, and as such, the foods they consume and the effect of that food on their weight are expected to be similar. This paper directly addresses this puzzle, and examines the relationship between a mother’s Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation, and obesity. Empirical results suggest that mother’s are less likely to become obese as a result of FSP participation and make healthier food choices than non-mothers thus, protecting their children from obesity.
Date: 2009-04-13
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Economics

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