Health economics: Policy outcomes, individual choice, and adolescent behavior

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Title: Health economics: Policy outcomes, individual choice, and adolescent behavior
Author: Stiffler, Peter B., 1976-
Abstract: To complement a varied and growing literature in health economics, this dissertation is conducted in three substantive parts. First, I investigate the effect of public policy on health use and health outcomes, exploiting variation in the generosity of Medicaid eligibility to low income pregnant women across states and over time to identify an effect on common, yet costly, pregnancy complications. I provide new evidence on this important question from a nationally representative sample of hospital discharges for 12 states between 1989 and 2001. Second, I explore heterogeneity in individual demand for health risk reductions. Utilizing individual stated-preference data from matching surveys conducted in both Canada and the United States, I employ the Value of a Statistical Illness Profile framework to investigate differences in average willingness-to-pay (WTP) for health risk reductions across the two different cultures. Although existing literature has allowed for systematic variation in age to explain differences in health care demand, the differences in WTP have not been explained through systematic variation across other socio-demographic characteristics, subjective risks of the diseases in question, or differences between the Canadian and U.S. health care systems. I extend the literature by controlling for an expanded set of observable individual heterogeneity and comment on the degree to which estimates can be applied across cultures to inform varying policy decisions. The third paper studies factors affecting adolescent health risk behavior. Previous study finds that community size and the degree to which social networks are interconnected affect three economically significant outcomes: the frequency of adolescent misbehavior in school, degree of perceived safety in school, and grade performance. Other research has suggested peer effects on smoking behavior and drinking behavior. I investigate the degree to which social connectedness impacts adolescent health, specifically looking at outcomes for drinking and smoking, and the degree to which these effects can be disentangled from more commonly studied "peer effects" in health behavior.
Description: xiii, 123 p. : ill. (some col.) A print copy of this thesis is available through the UO Libraries. Search the library catalog for the location and call number.
Date: 2010-03

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