Three essays in applied microeconomics on the topics of health reform, drug subsidies, and disaster resilience
My dissertation is a collection of three essays in applied microeconomics. Chapters 1 and 2 are sole-authored papers. In Chapter 1, I investigate the impact the Affordable Care Act's 2014 Medicaid expansion had on Medicaid spending by the government. I apply a difference-in-differences study design using data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on all Medicaid expenditures over an 18 year period, including three years post-expansion. I find that the expansion increased total Medicaid spending by 14 percent in participating states, but this masks the substantive heterogeneity in Medicaid spending across the 21 health care service categories. Most notably, dental and rural health clinic services increased by 201 and 99 percent, respectively. In Chapter 2, I study the effect of the first multi-country antimalarial subsidy on the type and source of treatment taken for children under five years of age reporting a fever. I use nationally representative, repeated cross-sectional survey data from 15 malaria endemic African countries over an 11 year period. Among children reporting a fever, countries offering subsidized ACTs increased ACTs taken in the private sector by 8.2 percentage points and decreased treatment with lesser effective antimalarial monotherapies by 7.9 percentage points. In Chapter 3, I collaborate with economists at RAND Corporation to investigate the direct effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf fisheries industry. Our research shows that the dynamic path of certain indicators, such as fisheries landings and revenues, can provide information about the resilience of fisheries to oil spill events at the sectoral level, aggregating the various physical, policy, and behavioral responses that combine to form the latent resilience construct.