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Title: Determinants of Children's Health
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Zhang, Ning
Determinants of Children's Health
Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell University, 2009
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Alcohol Use; Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS); Birth Outcomes; Child Health; Geocoded Data; Obesity; School Entry/Readiness; State-Level Data/Policy; Taxes

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

This dissertation consists of three empirical analyses of determinants of health of children and adolescents. The first essay investigates the causal relationship between education and youth overweight. The second essay examines the relationship between alcohol taxes and infant health. The last one explores whether an older minimum legal drinking age laws improves average health of infants. In the first paper, I use the first-grade entrance policies in a regression discontinuity design to compare years of education and the probability of being overweight among students who are born immediately before and after the school entrance date. Results show that girls who are born a few days after the entrance date are over ten percent more likely to be obese than those who are born just before. This finding shows that, for girls, one more year of education reduces the likelihood of being obese. A possible explanation is that education promotes healthier eating habits among girls. The second paper employs state variations in taxes in investigate the causal relationship between drinking alcohol during pregnancy and birth outcomes. Using data from NLSY79 Children and Young Adults (NLSY79-CY), Natality files and behavioral Risk Factor Surveillances System (BRFSS), this study finds that there is a negative and causal relationship between alcohol taxes and birth outcomes. The last chapter provides empirical evidence on the structural relationship between alcohol use and infant health by exploiting the exogenous variation in alcohol availability laws among youth generated by changes in state minimum legal drinking ages (MLDA). Two effects of the MLDA on infant health are tested: infants born to mothers aged younger than 21 (direct effects) and those to mothers who at early teenage years lived through the era of changes in MLDA (indirect effects). The results show that the MLDA of 18 at the conception year had small and insignificant direct impact, while it had larger and mor e significant indirect effects, on birth outcomes. Behavioral change, rather than compositional shift, contributes the change in infant health outcomes.
Bibliography Citation
Zhang, Ning. Determinants of Children's Health. Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell University, 2009.