Exploring the Correlations between Health and Community Socioeconomic Status in Chicago
Much research demonstrates that where you live ? and the socioeconomic conditions present in that place ? determine individual-level health outcomes. The premise that individual stressors tend to aggregate themselves into communities with poor socioeconomic status (SES) leads to the conclusion that ?where you live determines how long you live.? As former Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke stated, ?Factors such as educational attainment, income, access to healthy food and the safety of a neighborhood tend to correlate with individual health outcomes in that neighborhood.? These factors ...
Does U.S. Health Inequality Reflect Income Inequality—or Something Else?
Health is an integral part of well-being. The United Nations Human Development Index uses life expectancy (together with GDP per capita and literacy) as one of three key indicators of human welfare across the world. In this post, I discuss the state of life expectancy inequality in the United States and examine some of the underlying factors in its evolution over the past several decades.
Indian Residential Schools, Height, and Body Mass Post-1930
We study the effects of Canadian Indian residential schooling on two anthropometric measures of health during childhood: adult height and body weight. We use repeated cross sectional data from the 1991 and 2001 Aboriginal Peoples Survey and leverage detailed historical data on school closures and location to make causal inferences. We ?nd evidence that, on average, residential schooling increases adult height and the likelihood of a healthy adult body weight for those who attended. These effects are concentrated after the 1950s when the schools were subject to tighter health regulations and ...
The Impact of Car Pollution on Infant and Child Health: Evidence from Emissions Cheating
Car exhaust is a major source of air pollution, but little is known about its impacts on population health. We exploit the dispersion of emissions-cheating diesel cars?which secretly polluted up to 150 times as much as gasoline cars?across the United States from 2008-2015 as a natural experiment to measure the health impact of car pollution. Using the universe of vehicle registrations, we demonstrate that a 10 percent cheating-induced increase in car exhaust increases rates of low birth weight and acute asthma attacks among children by 1.9 and 8.0 percent, respectively. These health impacts ...
Check Up Before You Check Out: Retail Clinics and Emergency Room Use
Retail clinics are an innovation that has the potential to improve competition in health care markets. We use the universe of emergency room (ER) visits in New Jersey from 2006-2014 to examine the impact of retail clinics on ER usage. We find significant effects of retail clinics on ER visits for both minor and preventable conditions; Residents residing close to an open clinic are 4.1-12.3 percent less likely to use an ER for these conditions. Our estimates suggest annual cost savings from reduced ER usage of over $70 million if retail clinics were made readily available across New Jersey.
Achievement Gap Estimates and Deviations from Cardinal Comparability
This paper assesses the sensitivity of standard empirical methods for measuring group differences in achievement to violations in the cardinal comparability of achievement test scores. The paper defines a distance measure over possible weighting functions (scalings) of test scores. It then constructs worst-case bounds for the bias in the estimated achievement gap (or achievement gap change) that could result from using the observed rather than the true test scale, given that the true and observed scales are no more than a fixed distance from each other. The worst-case weighting functions have ...
Health, Health Insurance, and Retirement: A Survey
The degree to which retirement decisions are driven by health is a key concern for both academics and policymakers. In this paper we survey the economic literature on the health-retirement link in developed countries. We describe the mechanisms through which health affects labor supply and discuss how they interact with public pensions and public health insurance. The historical evidence suggests that health is not the primary source of variation in retirement across countries and over time. Furthermore, declining health with age can only explain a small share of the decline in employment ...
The Evolution of Health over the Life Cycle
We construct a unified objective measure of health status: the frailty index, defined as the cumulative sum of all adverse health indicators observed for an individual. First, we show that the frailty index has several advantages over self-reported health status, particularly when studying health dynamics. Then we estimate a stochastic process for frailty dynamics over the life cycle. We find that the autocovariance structure of frailty in panel data strongly supports a process that allows the conditional variance of frailty shocks to increase with age. Our frailty measure and dynamic process ...
Delayed Collection of Unemployment Insurance in Recessions
Using variations in unemployment insurance policies over time and across U.S. states, this paper provides evidence that allowing unemployed workers to delay the collection of benefits increases their job-finding rate. In a model with discrete job take-up decisions, benefit entitlement, wage-indexed benefits, and heterogeneous job types, I demonstrate that the policy can increase an unemployed worker's willingness to work, even though more benefits in general reduce the relative value of employment. In a calibrated quantitative model, I find that allowing delayed benefit collection increases ...
Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in Covid-19: Health Insurance, Comorbidities, and Medical Facilities
Our previous work documents that low-income and majority-minority areas were considerably more affected by COVID-19, as captured by markedly higher case and death rates. In a four-part series starting with this post, we seek to understand the reasons behind these income and racial disparities. Do disparities in health status translate into disparities in COVID-19 intensity? Does the health system play a role through health insurance and hospital capacity? Can disparities in COVID-19 intensity be explained by high-density, crowded environments? Does social distancing, pollution, or the age ...