Padmaja Ayyagari

Department of Health Management and Policy
University of Iowa
145 N. Riverside Drive, N246 CPHB
Iowa City, IA 52242

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2015The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages
with David Frisvold: w21484
Prior literature has documented a positive association between income and cognitive function at older ages, however, the extent to which this association represents causal effects is unknown. In this study, we use an exogenous change in Social Security income due to amendments to the Social Security Act in the 1970s to identify the causal impact of Social Security income on cognitive function of elderly individuals. We find that higher benefits led to significant improvements in cognitive function and that these improvements in cognition were clinically meaningful. Our results suggest that interventions even at advanced ages can slow the rate of decline in cognitive function.

Published: Padmaja Ayyagari & David Frisvold, 2016. "The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages," American Journal of Health Economics, vol 2(4), pages 463-488.

August 2009The Impact of Job Stress on Smoking and Quitting: Evidence from the HRS
with Jody L. Sindelar: w15232
This paper examines the impact of job-related stress on smoking behavior. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine how high job stress affects the probability that smokers quit and the number of cigarettes smoked for current smokers. We include individual fixed effects, which control for time-invariant factors. Occupational fixed effects are also included to control for occupational characteristics other than stress; time dummies control for the secular decline in smoking rates. Using a sample of people who smoked in the previous wave, we find that job stress is positively related to continuing to smoke and to the number of cigarettes smoked for current smokers. The FE results are of greater magnitude and significance than the OLS results suggesting an important omitted...

Published: Padmaja Ayyagari & Jody L. Sindelar, 2010. "The Impact of Job Stress on Smoking and Quitting: Evidence from the HRS," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Berkeley Electronic Press, vol. 10(1). citation courtesy of

July 2009Job Loss: Eat, drink and try to be merry?
with Partha Deb, William T. Gallo, Jason M. Fletcher, Jody L. Sindelar: w15122
This paper examines the impact of job loss from business closings on body mass index (BMI) and alcohol consumption. We improve upon extant literature by using: exogenously determined business closings, a sophisticated estimation approach (finite mixture models) to deal with complex heterogeneity, and national, longitudinal data (Health and Retirement Study). For both alcohol consumption and BMI, we find evidence that individuals who are more likely to respond to job loss by increasing unhealthy behaviors are already in the problematic range for these behaviors before losing their jobs. Thus health effects of job loss could be concentrated among "at risk" individuals.
Sin Taxes: Do Heterogeneous Responses Undercut Their Value?
with Partha Deb, Jason Fletcher, William T. Gallo, Jody L. Sindelar: w15124
This paper estimates the price elasticity of demand for alcohol using Health and Retirement Survey data. To account for unobserved heterogeneity in price responsiveness, we use finite mixture models. We recover two latent groups, one is significantly responsive to price but the other is unresponsive. Differences between these two groups can be explained in part by the behavioral factors of risk aversion, financial planning horizon, forward looking and locus of control. These results have policy implications. Only a subgroup responds significantly to price. Importantly, the unresponsive group drinks more heavily, suggesting that a higher price could fail to curb drinking by those most likely to cause negative externalities. In contrast, those least likely to impose costs on others are more ...
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