Three Essays in Health Economics

TitleThree Essays in Health Economics
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsRobinson, CA
Date Published2009
UniversityNorth Carolina State University
CityRaleigh, North Carolina
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Income, Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

This essay examines topics in health economics. The first study uses data obtained from the Rand version of the Health and Retirement Study, to examine the relationship between retiree health insurance (RHI) and the decision to leave one's career job. This paper a Cox Proportional Hazard Model and estimates the probability that an individual disengages from their career job. Results indicate that access to RHI are significantly increases the probability of disengagement occurring. The second and third essays examine the relationship between Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation and obesity in women and children. There are two main bodies of literature that examine the effect of FSP participation on obesity, the first focuses on adults and the second on children. The literature focusing on adults finds that FSP participation is positively related to obesity in women, while no similar effect is found for children. This creates an interesting economic puzzle. The second chapter of this dissertation focuses on children and considers weight accumulation as dynamic process. To measure obesity, a child's BMI is compared to their medically ideal BMI; if FSP increases this deviation then FSP is found to increase childhood obesity. Results suggest that FSP participation does not significantly contribute to childhood obesity. The third essay considers the relationship between FSP participation and obesity in mothers. Three estimations are performed and evidence that mothers are not at an increased risk for obesity is found. I first consider a women's weight growth in the same framework employed in chapter 2 and find no significant relationship. Next, I consider how FSP participation affects the probability a mother becomes obese. Finally, I estimate the nutritional value of foods brought into FSP households controlling for the presence of children. Results from these estimations suggest that mothers are not at an increased risk for obesity due to FSP participation. Thus, it is not surprising that children who live in FSP households are not at an increased risk of obesity, and the puzzle is resolved.

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Short TitleThree Essays in Health Economics
Citation Key6069