Essays on Preschool Education, Family Economic Circumstances, and Child Outcomes
AuthorZerpa Reisch, Mariana
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe goal of this dissertation is to analyze the effects of public programs and parental labor market outcomes child health and human capital accumulation. The first chapter studies the effects of attending state pre-kindergarten programs on child development and health up to eight years after preschool age. I find that the implementation of a pre-K program in a state reduces the utilization of special education services by boys within four years of preschool age, and improves boy's developmental outcomes five to eight years after preschool age. I also find evidence that boys and girls in states with pre-K programs have increased health problems in the short-term. The second chapter analyzes the effects of parental job loss on children's health. The findings show that a father's job loss is detrimental to children's mental health, and among children in low socioeconomic status families it is also associated with worse physical health. By contrast, the results show no evidence of maternal job loss having detrimental effects on child health. The third chapter evaluates whether two of the largest social insurance programs in the U.S.—Unemployment Insurance (UI) and public health insurance (Medicaid/CHIP)—mitigate the effects of parental job loss on children's health insurance coverage and health care access in the short run. The results show that more generous Medicaid/CHIP eligibility rules mitigate increases in out of-pocket expenditures observed after job loss, while it only increases the likelihood of taking up public insurance slightly for children who were insured through a parent's employer before the job loss. More generous UI replacement rates, on the other hand, have a negative effect on child health insurance coverage, by decreasing the likelihood of taking up public insurance.
Degree ProgramGraduate College