Essays in health and environmental economics: Challenges in the empirical analysis of micro-level economic survey data
Cai, Beilei, 1979-
Micro-level survey data are widely used in applied economic research. This dissertation, which consists of three empirical papers, demonstrates challenges in empirical research using micro-level survey data, as well as some methods to accommodate these problems. Chapter II examines the effect of China's recent public health insurance reform on health utilization and health status. Chinese policy makers have been eager to identify how this reform, characterized by a substantial increase in out-of-pocket costs, has affected health care demand and health status. However, due to self-selection of individuals into the publicly insured group, the impact of the reform remains an unresolved issue. I employ a Heckman selection model in the context of difference-in-difference regression to accommodate the selection problem, and provide the first solid empirical evidence that the recent public health insurance reforms in China adversely affected both health care access and health status for publicly insured individuals. Chapter III examines the construct validity of a stated preference (SP) survey concerning climate change policy. Due to the fact that the SP survey method remains a controversial tool for benefit-cost analysis, every part of the survey deserves thorough examination to ensure the quality of the data. Using a random utility approach, I establish that there is a great deal of logical consistency between people's professed attitudes toward different payment vehicles and their subsequent choices among policies which vary in the incidence of their costs. Chapter IV employs the same survey data used in Chapter III, but demonstrates the potential for order effects stemming from prior attitude-elicitation questions. In addition, it considers the potential impact of these order effects on Willingness to Pay (WTP) estimates for climate change mitigation. I find the orderings of prior elicitation questions may change people's opinions toward various attributes of the different policies, and thereby increase or decrease their WTP by a substantial amount. Thus, this chapter emphasizes the significance of order effects in prior elicitation questions, and supports a call for diligence in using randomly ordered prior elicitation questions in stated preference surveys, to minimize inadvertent effects from any single arbitrary ordering.
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Stiffler, Peter B., 1976- (University of Oregon, 2010-03)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 ...
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