The Intergenerational Effects of Health and Health Policy
This research project will combine several large data sets and use up-do-date economic methods to investigate whether investment in health by parents is transmitted to future generations and if so, the mechanisms through which this occur. Economists and policy makers know a lot about the effects of the adoption of Medicaid and Medicare on the beneficiaries of these programs but know very little about whether these effects are transmitted to the recipients' off-springs and how this transmission takes place. Understanding if and how the benefits of investment in health is passed on to future generations is important for discussions of health policy, such as expansion of Medicare and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The results of this research may suggest that the benefits of current period investment in health should be expanded to include benefits that may accrue to future generations.
This project will merge several administrative data sets with Medicaid coverage and Vital Statistics data to investigate the intergenerational effects of childhood Medicaid coverage on the health of children in the next generation. Two issues are investigated in this research project: (i) how does Medicaid affect the size and composition of the next generation and (ii) how does Medicaid affect infant health in the next generation. The project also investigates the mechanisms through which these effects might occur. The empirical approach uses a quasi-experimental design that relies on wide historical variation in state- and cohort-level exposure to health insurance due to the original introduction of Medicaid in the 1960s. The results of this research project will substantially add to our knowledge of the inter-generational effects of Medicaid and health investment generally and contribute to health policy in the US and around the world.
Supported by the National Science Foundation grant #1850791
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