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The Economic and Behavioral Impacts of Mandatory Health Programs and Education Policies
AdvisorMukhopadhyay, Sankar SM
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This dissertation focuses on evaluating the effects of social policies on economic agents' behavior in health and education sectors by econometric analysis. The first chapter presents evidence of a decreased absenteeism at the workplace among obese individuals due to an increase in health insurance rates. We use variation in health insurance rates caused by the Affordable Care Act to display the change in absenteeism patterns of obese and overweight workers. We also conclude that the reported effects were mainly driven by the female workers. The second study evaluates the impact of the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program on hospital behavior in response to a financial penalty in case of high rates of HACs. We find that the incentives provided by the federal government do decrease HAC rates for the penalized hospitals; however, we do not find a significant change among clinical outcomes such as readmission rates. The third chapter analyzes changes in inputs of the education production function during the Covid-19 pandemic. The inputs of interest are the amount of instruction and study time among K-12 students. We find that those students who attended school in-person received more instruction at school; however, these students study significantly less on their own compared to those students who learn remotely. The presented results may inform future studies in the area of health and education and provide guidance for policymakers in these sectors.