Job Market Paper

Over the past three decades, new prescription drugs have transformed the treatment of chronic disease in the US, but we know little about the role that access to these drugs may play in remediating health disparities. In this paper, we test whether Medicare Part D - a publicly-funded prescription drug benefit program - is associated with education-related disparities in drug insurance coverage, medical utilization, and mortality. We find that Part D is associated with increased drug insurance rates, greater utilization of prescription drugs, and decreased out-of-pocket spending on drugs, and these improvements are magnified among low-educated individuals. We also find that Part D is associated with reductions in all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, and reductions in hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease that are processed through the emergency department. While there are larger reductions in all-cause and cardiovascular death counts among individuals with lower education than those with higher education, it does not lead to a larger decline in the mortality rate in percentage terms due to the former’s much higher baseline rate.

Working Paper

Inter-generational Changes in the Educational Outcomes of Americans with Disabilities [PDF available upon request}

In this paper, we examine changes in educational and labor market outcomes of Americans with disabilities between the late 1970s and the late 1990s by comparing the two cohorts of the NLSY. Our preliminary findings show that the gap in educational attainment between the disabled and non-disabled increases over time. For men, the increase in the educational attainment difference mainly comes from an increase in the difference in college graduation rates. For women, increases in gaps appear in high school graduation, college attendance, and college graduation rates. Further, we develop a theory of education investment for disabled students. The model suggests two motivating factors for education investment decisions: 1) the cost of obtaining education, 2) the incentive to signal their productivity through education in order to overcome employers’ uncertainty about disabled workers. That is, if obtaining education is too burdensome for the disabled, they will lose incentive to obtain education. But, if the effect of the uncertainty is strong, then the incentive to signal will be preserved well or even increase. Consequently, the educational attainment gap can be affected by the two conflicting forces.

Work in Progress

Does Research Change Prescribing Behavior?, with Sai Sindhura Gundavarapu

Disproportionate Effects of the COVID Pandemic on People Scarred by the Great Recession

Learn to Walk by Learning to Fall in a Non-linear Price Schedule: Evidence from Medicare Part D