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Essays on Social Insurance, Education, and Health

  • Author(s): Romero, Henrique
  • Advisor(s): Cullen, Julie
  • et al.
Abstract

Chapter 1 studies the role of Unemployment Insurance (UI) in preventing the children of benefit recipients from dropping out of school. Parental job loss has been associated with a number of negative educational outcomes for the children of job losers. In this paper, I investigate whether Unemployment Insurance (UI) can mitigate some of these deleterious effects. I find evidence that more generous UI benefits available to parents are associated with a lower probability of their children dropping out of high school.

Chapter 2 considers the relationship between local economic conditions and health. Using data from all California hospitalizations from 1990 to 2011, I investigate how hospitalization rates are affected by the business cycle. I find that health, as proxied by hospitalizations, is counter-cyclical. Most of the estimated effects, however, are driven by groups not strongly attached to the labor force, such as the elderly and those covered by Medicare.

Chapter 3 examines the interaction between special education programs and child Social Security Income caseloads. Between 1990 and 2007, child SSI caseloads grew by 263%. Much of this increase is unexplained. In this paper, we explore the role played by fiscal incentives for classifying children as special education embedded in state school finance formulas. We exploit variation in fiscal incentives across school districts in Texas, and find evidence that larger fiscal incentives are associated with higher rates of SSI participation among children. Our results emphasize that heterogeneity in child outcomes across localities depend on complicated interactions between schools and social safety net programs within our federalist system.

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