Three essays on health economics

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Date
2021-08
Authors
Cho, Seung Jin
Major Professor
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Kreider, Brent
Bartalotti, Otávio
DePaula, Guilherme
Kédagni, Désiré
Winters, John V
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Economics
Abstract
This dissertation addresses three important topics in health economics and focuses specifically on the factors that affect the health status of youth and children. Chapter 2 examines the effects of aging out of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on youth food security status. WIC provides nutrition assistance to children under the age of five from low-income households. This study finds that aging out of WIC increases child food insecurity, demonstrating that this break in food assistance programs for children deteriorates child food security. Chapter 3 (joint with Brent Kreider and John V. Winters) analyzes the effects of the fracking boom on child food security. The oil and gas fracking boom provides a natural experimental setting for investigating how macroeconomic conditions affect child food security. This study finds that increases in states’ oil and gas labor income reduce child poverty and improve child food security. Chapter 4 focuses on the effects of statewide Tobacco-21 laws on youth smoking. Raising the minimum legal smoking age is a well-known policy strategy for deterring youth smoking. This study shows that state-level Tobacco-21 laws decrease traditional cigarette smoking among youth but increase electronic cigarette smoking. This finding indicates that electronic cigarettes serve as substitutes for traditional cigarettes.
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