Three essays in health economics

TitleThree essays in health economics
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsWang, X
AdvisorGrossman, M
Number of Pages118
UniversityCity University of New York
CityUnited States -- New York
Thesis Type3541918
Accession Number1115316395
KeywordsEvent History/Life Cycle, Health Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Public Policy, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

This dissertation consists of three essays. In my first essay, I examine the relationship of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC program) to breastfeeding. Although WIC promotes breastfeeding among its participants through education, counseling, and the provision of enhanced food packages to breastfeeding women, the program has been criticized for discouraging breastfeeding by providing free infant formula. In order to estimate the extent to which participation in WIC discourages breastfeeding, I employ a methodology that disentangles selection bias associated with WIC participation from the incentives associated with the provision of free infant formula. Findings suggest that postpartum entrants are less likely to breastfed for at least 6 months and have shorter breastfeeding durations than non-participants, and the effects are significantly larger among twin mothers than among singleton mothers. In my second essay, I investigate the association between WIC participation and infant health. How effective WIC is at improving birth outcomes is under debate. Identifying treatment effect is challenged by selection bias and gestational age bias. We use twins to minimize selection bias associated with WIC participation because twin pregnancy increases the probability of adverse birth outcomes significantly but is unlikely related to other risky behaviors. Our focus is on measures of fetal growth as outcomes amenable to nutritional supplementation. Our findings from two national datasets, PNSS and ECLS-B, suggest that prenatal WIC participation has very limited effect on fetal growth. We do not find evidence of causal effect between WIC and better birth outcomes, especially among twin births. In my third essay, I turn my interest to a different research question, the association between retirement and alcohol consumption. Retirement is life transition whose significance may provoke lifestyle and health behavioral alterations such as alcohol consumption. We examine the effect of retirement on subsequent period alcohol consumption within a two period follow up. We use seven waves of the data from Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and found retirement lead to consume 1.3 more alcoholic drinks per day within men. No effect has been found within retired women.


Wang, Xu Breastfeeding 9781267688194 Alcohol 68148022 Health economics 3541918 0501: Economics 0573: Public health 66569 0630: Public policy n/a Social sciences Retirement English 1115316395 Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2012 Infant health 2012 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 2799357101 2012-11-26 Health and environmental sciences

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Short TitleThree essays in health economics
Citation Key6143