Effectiveness of state-level vaccination mandates: evidence from the varicella vaccine (with Jason Abrevaya, Journal of Health Economics (2011)) [PDF]
This paper utilizes longitudinal data on varicella (chickenpox) immunizations in order to estimate the causal effects of state-level school-entry and daycare-entry immunization mandates within the United States. We find significant causal effects of mandates upon vaccination rates among preschool children (aged 19-35months); these effects appear in the year of mandate adoption, peak two years after adoption, and disappear
(minimal difference from aggregate trend) about four years after adoption. For a daycare-entry mandate enacted in 2000, the model and estimates imply that 22% of the increase in state-level immunization rates were caused by the mandate introduction.
Working Papers/Works in Progress
Contraception and fertility: the role of insurance mandates (Job Market Paper) [PDF]
Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, suggesting a high incidence of either improper or non-use of contraceptives. While many insurance plans do not cover contraception, 30 states have enacted mandates for insurance coverage of contraceptives. This study utilizes variation in mandated insurance coverage for contraception across states and over time to determine the causal impact of insurance coverage of contraception on fertility outcomes, specifically abortion rates and birth rates. State-level results indicate that a mandate decreases abortion rates by approximately 6.3% in the year of introduction and decreases birth rates by 3% two years following mandate introduction, with the magnitude of both effects remaining steady over the long run.
Access to emergency contraception and fertility and sexual health
This study utilizes variations in access to emergency contraception (EC) across states to determine the impact of over the counter access of EC on abortion rates, birth rates, and STD rates. The FDA switched the status of EC from prescription-only to over the counter in 2006, but prior to that nine states had already passed state-level legislation which gave EC over the counter status. Preliminary results finding increases in abortion rates and STD rates indicate that fewer restrictions on access to EC increase risky sex behaviors, particularly among teenagers.
Identifying the effect of adolescent mental health on adult outcomes using genetic biomarkers
This paper utilizes nationally representative data to determine the impact of mental health in adolescence on several adult outcomes, including educational attainment, employment status, and wages. The genetic aspect of mental health is controlled for with several genetic biomarkers, and potentially unobservable environmental confounders are controlled for by sibling fixed effects. Despite scientific evidence that biomarkers will serve as good instruments for mental health, first stage regressions are not significant at any reasonable level.