This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Essays in Health Economics




Kanekar, Sanket

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation



Restriction Status


Restriction Type


Date Available



This essay explores the connection between education policy and high school students' health. Additionally, it examines the disparities in access to healthcare and the resulting differences in health outcomes. In Chapter 1, I examine the relationship between high school students' health, particularly chronic conditions like obesity, and the course requirements for high school graduation in math. The research employs a two-way fixed effect model, which utilizes exogenous variations in the timing of changes in math graduation requirements among states. The findings reveal that states with higher graduation requirements for math observe a reduction in BMI and the probability of being obese among high school students. Moreover, the outcomes by race indicate that high school graduation requirements in math reduce the body weight of White high school students, but there was no significant effect on minority high school students. Overall, the study demonstrates the positive health benefits of the policy reform for high school students, primarily for White students. Chapter 2 evaluates a unique joint relationship between U.S. cities’ socio-economic factors, doctors’ visits, and arthritis. This research enhances our understanding of how place characteristics is associated with chronic diseases such as arthritis. The results suggest the importance of health care visits in mitigating health outcomes such as arthritis. Further, lower arthritis prevalence is observed in cities with higher Black percentage populations due to such cities having more prevalent doctor visits. This study's results suggest health care visits as a channel through which future socio-economic health disparity in arthritis can be reduced. In Chapter 3, I study the relationship between the college affirmative action policy ban and its impact on high school students' health. The results of this study suggest that the ban on college affirmative action leads to a higher incidence of mental health problems among minority high school students. The gender specific findings reveal that male minority students are more vulnerable to experiencing mental health issues compared to their female counterparts. In conclusion, this study indicates that policymakers need to implement measures to tackle the adverse impact of affirmative action bans on the mental well-being of minority students.