Impacts Of Public Policy On Child Development And Wellbeing
This dissertation examines how public policy initiatives in the areas of education, health and consumer safety regulation can impact the development and wellbeing of children. Methodologically, I employ data-intensive approaches that correct for selection problems by exploiting variation in policy exposure, imaginative sample partitions, and demanding robustness checks. Chapter one examines an educational policy in Canada that provided missionary boarding school to indigenous children in Canada throughout the 20th century. Using the gradual phase-out of the policy after 1950, I examine how exposure to the schools affected adulthood health and social outcomes. I find that the schools led to increased risky health behavior, decreased social cohesion and potentially negative mental health effects. Chapter two investigates how the expansion of prescription drug coverage in the province of Quebec affected rates of stimulant use for treatment of ADHD, and whether use of stimulants improved educational or behavioral outcomes in the medium and long terms. The results suggest that those children who began taking the medication as a result of the policy experienced increased depression and anxiety, and fared worse on educational outcomes. Chapter three examines whether child-safety seats - the use of which are mandated in many jurisdictions - are effective in preventing death in auto accidents. After replication of a previous study (Levitt, 2003), the chapter also describes how driver characteristics, the increased prevalence of SUVs, and incorrect use of safety seats impact the results. Combined, the chapters of this dissertation reveal unintended policy effects across a broad range of areas affecting children.
Health; Education; Consumer Safety Regulation
Ehrenberg, Ronald Gordon; Ziebarth, Nicolas R; Stabile, Mark
Policy Analysis and Management
Ph. D., Policy Analysis and Management
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis