Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In this dissertation, I present three distinct essays in health and public economics. In chapter 2, using Vital Statistics data from National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and a Difference in Difference methodology, I investigate the impact of the Paid Family Leave (PFL) of California on birth delay, infant health, and labor market outcomes of mothers after first childbirth. I find that PFL of California reduces birth delay by encouraging women to have their first child earlier. Results are more pronounced for older women who are over the age of 35. This policy also improves infant health by reducing incidence of low birth weight (<2500 grams), premature (<37 weeks of gestation), and cesarean-born infants of older mothers. Furthermore, results show that PFL policy improves labor market attachment by increasing the likelihood of employment after childbirth for college educated women who are more likely to exit the labor force after childbirth. Chapter 3, investigates the impact of the biggest oil spill in the U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 on air quality and health outcomes of newborns. Using Vital Statistics data from National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), air quality data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a Difference in Difference methodology, I find that oil spill of 2010 reduces air quality and increases the incidence of low birth weight and premature newborns. Heterogeneity effects show higher adverse health impacts for black mothers, less educated mothers, unmarried, and mothers less than 20 years old. Chapter 4 examines whether the party affiliation of governors (Democrat or Republican) has an impact on the allocation of state expenditures. Exploiting gubernatorial election results from 1960 to 2012 and a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD), we find that Democratic governors allocate a larger share of their budget to health/hospitals and education sectors. We find no significant impact of the political party of governors on total spending, only on the allocation of funds. The results are robust to a wide range of controls and model specifications.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Beland, Louis-Philippe

Included in

Economics Commons