Essays on Long-Term Care and Aging

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This dissertation contains three empirical papers on important health policy issues. The first paper looks at the effect of changes in levels of Medicare home health care services on the informal care use of disabled, older adults. I estimate two-part models of informal care use, where the key independent variable is a measure of Medicare home health payment restrictiveness. Individuals who lived in states with less Medicare home health care services increased their use of informal care, although this effect is only observed among low-income individuals. The second paper assesses the effects of changes in employment incentives on the supply of informal support from adult children to their disabled, older parents. This study focuses on one specific form of informal support, co-residence with a disabled parent. I compare changes in co-residence patterns between 1990 and 2000 across groups of middle aged women whose co-residence patterns were arguably comparable, and who experienced very different changes in employment incentives. Results from difference-in-difference models provide support to the hypothesis that increasing employment incentives reduces the supply of informal support to disabled parents. The third paper looks at the effect of education on health status. This paper builds on the extensive research literature on this topic by measuring health in terms of the number of Quality-Adjusted Life Years experienced by individuals over an extended period of time. This measure captures overall health status over time, which is arguably a more important measure than point-in-time measures of specific health conditions or longevity alone. I use changes in compulsory schooling laws to identify the causal effect of education on health. Instrumental variables models provide evidence that the health returns to education are both statistically significant and substantial.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2008


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