Research

Work in Progress

Equally Married, Equally Benefited: Same-sex Marriage, Health Insurance, Labor Market, and Social Security (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of the United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage, employing a difference-in-differences methodology that leverages the variation in timing and the multifaceted natures of legalization across states, and exploring the federal recognition of same-sex marriages and marriage equality. The findings indicate significant increases in insurance coverage, a shift from Medicaid to employer-sponsored plans, enhanced labor supply, and alterations in Social Security benefits for same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex counterparts. The study also demonstrates a reduction in disparities in insurance and labor outcomes among same-sex couples across states, with lower-income households decreasing reliance on government health insurance in favor of employer-sponsored options. Permutation tests reveal limited effects of the 2015 ruling on couples in states with prior legal recognition, highlighting the heterogeneous impact of legalization. The analysis further reveals that family structures without children are most likely to transition from government-subsidized to employment-based coverage. The results underscore the profound implications of marriage policy interactions between state and federal levels on minority behaviors in insurance and labor markets.


Mental Health Outcome of the COVID-19 Citywide Lockdown

Abstract: This paper contributes to the growing literatures studying the mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the most effective non-pharmaceutical public health interventions (NPIs), citywide lockdown effectively helped mitigate the exponential spread of the infection. However, public health researchers have been constantly warning the governments worldwide regarding the potential deterioration of citizens’ mental health during such lockdowns. This paper offers further empirical evidence of the negative mental health impact of citywide lockdowns by studying the lockdown happened in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China during April, and May 2022. Both my baseline OLS and Double Machine Learning (DML) estimation shows that Baidu searches among locked down Shanghai residents of keywords including “depression” and “anxiety” statistically significantly increased during the citywide lockdown. Baidu searches on “suicide” shows mixed results, indicating potential heterogeneity among residents.


The Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Health Insurance Coverage and Health Outcome

Abstract: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 expanded the eligibility of the Medicaid, which proves to significantly promote the insurance coverage of all Americans. This paper focuses on the dynamic effect of the change in policy using a staggered Differences-in- differences method, as well as the heterogeneous responses from groups that implemented the expansion later in time. I documented additional evidence that the ACA expansion on Medicaid eligibility improved the health insurance take-up rate by at least 6.7%, and the effects are persistent over a longer period. At the same time, later expansion states exhibited smaller improvements. However, the self-reported physical and mental health status years following the expansion has shown no significant improvement despite the widened insurance coverage.