Three Essays On Children's Health Care Use And Health
The early years of children's lives are crucial to their future health and development. Disparities in health and skills that emerge during children's first few years increase with age. Many factors affect children?s health. At an individual level, mother's education is an influential factor. At a societal level, public policies affect children's surrounding environment that influences their health. Therefore it is critical that public policies and other determinants of children's health be studied carefully. As a nation, U.S. has made significant improvements in children's health over the past century. However, there is a significant increase in the number of children in the U.S. today that suffer from conditions and diseases that have emerged in recent years, including asthma and obesity. These conditions are impediments to children's healthy development and have long lasting effects. Investment in children's health yields long term payoffs at the individual as well as societal levels. Healthy children have more opportunities to succeed in schools and more likely to become healthy, productive adults. Benefits extend to society as a whole including reduced dependency and disability, a healthier future workforce, and consequently a stronger economy. Due to these reasons, it is important to understand how health care use and health among children in the U.S. have been affected by some of their key determinants in recent decades. This dissertation is divided into three chapters. The first chapter examines the feasibility of using compulsory schooling policies as instruments for mother's schooling to examine the causal effect of mother's schooling on children's health care use and health. The second chapter examines the causal effect of insurance coverage on children's health care use and health using evidence from the Medicaid and SCHIP expansions. The third chapter examines the causal effect of welfare reform on children's health care use and health. Findings from this dissertation provide informative insights on key factors that shape children's health and wellbeing and highlight important methodological issues involving such empirical research.
Children's Health Care
dissertation or thesis