Joseph Altonji, Amanda Kowalski, Fabian Lange and Costas Meghir
Individual health plays an important role in many markets. In my dissertation, I analyze the relationship between health and market outcomes in three examples from the labor and marriage markets. Health status affects individuals’ demand for health insurance coverage, which, in the U.S., is linked to employment. In the first chapter, I analyze how single mothers’ labor supply reacts to changes in health insurance availability. I use exogenous variation in Medicaid eligibility to estimate a structural model of labor supply with health insurance and simulate single mothers’ employment choice under the U.S. health care reform. In the second chapter, I focus on the direct impact of health shocks on labor market outcomes. Using hospital discharge data matched to individual employment information, I analyze both the short-term and long-term consequences of a hospitalization on labor supply and wages. Health also plays a role in the marriage market: healthy individuals may be more likely to get married or to find a more desirable spouse. Therefore, individuals can affect their marriage market outcomes by improving their health. This is the topic of the third chapter: I test whether individuals invest more in their health when it is harder to find a spouse.