|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation covers the topics of substance abuse, crime, health insurance, and child maltreatment.
Demand-side approaches should be strongly considered when attempting to combat America’s illegal drug problems. Implementing an identification strategy that leverages variation driven by substance-abuse-treatment facility openings and closings measured at the county level, estimations show that substance-abuse-treatment facilities reduce both violent and financially motivated crimes in an area. These effects are particularly pronounced for relatively serious crimes.
There is a role the employment relationship plays in determining the provision of health benefits at the establishment level. Using restricted data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) and the Coarsened Exact Matching technique, the analysis extends previous studies by testing the relationships between premium costs, employment relationships, and the provision of health benefits between 1999 and 2012. Both establishment- and state-level union densities increase the likelihood of employers providing health plans, while right-to-work legislation depresses the provision. Furthermore, state-level union density reduces the adverse impact of premium costs. These results indicate that the declining provision of health benefits is in part driven by the transformation of the employment relationship in the United States and that labor unions remain a critical force in sustaining employment sponsored healthcare coverage over the past two decades.
Child maltreatment is vastly underreported. School attendance takes children out of the home and places them under the supervision of educators trained to notice symptoms of abuse and neglect. Using state-age level enrollment data, estimations show that school attendance increases maltreatment reporting by 77%. This increase stems solely from reports initiated by educators with no evidence that these reports crowd out reporting from other entities. The effect is not caused by seasonal maltreatment nor hypersensitivity in reporting from educators||en