Essays on Health and Development

Ting, Helena


Timothy Swanson


Abstract: "This submission outlines the progress of four papers. I present a draft version of the first paper with initial results, literature review for the second paper, and preliminary ideas for the third and fourth paper. In the first paper, I leverage a household panel dataset from South Africa and long-term climate data, to decompose permanent and transitory income and evaluate the propensities to save and consume. I test for precautionary saving and myopic consumption. Furthermore, I test for effects on life satisfaction and HIV testing and compare across agriculture and non-agriculture households. I follow Paxson (1992) which decomposed permanent and transitory income in Thai rice farmers using regional rainfall data. The theoretical overview follows Japelli and Pistaferri (2010), while Berg (2013) provided background for testing of precautionary saving and myopic consumption. I interpret the results as in-line with findings from literature, where a larger propensity to save out of transitory income is found although a part of permanent income is also saved. Precautionary saving is present in non-agriculture households, while myopic consumption cannot be rejected for agriculture households. Saving from transitory income enhances life satisfaction, while saving from permanent income leads to a significant effect on HIV testing. This paper is co-authored with Martina Bozzola. For the second paper, I will explore the link between weather shocks, its effects on health, and the consequent effect on intra-household allocation of resources among multiple children. Recently, Yi, Heckman, et al. (2015) presented a model with twins where they find that the child who is less endowed with health received more health investment, and less education investments. Weather can be used as a source of external shock to test the impact on children's development. Maccini and Yang (2009) linked weather shocks in birth year to adult outcomes in Indonesia, and found significant results in height, education attainment, and durable goods ownership in women. Shah and Millett-Steinberg (forthcoming) examined the effect of immediate and past weather shocks, and found negative relationships between rainfall and education for school-aged children, and positive relationships for early childhood exposure. I plan to use the same dataset as the first paper. I will create datasets of individuals at different ages, and evaluate the effect of weather shocks on health by age. Then, I will attempt to evaluate household allocation between health and education. I will follow the theoretical model presented in Heckman (2007), Cunha and Heckman (2007), and Yi, Heckman, et al (2015). For the third paper, I will attempt a dynamic programming model to study forward looking behavior in health. The initial thoughts comes from two papers – Grossman (1999) and Hall and Jones (2007). Hall and Jones suggest that the growth in health spending in the US is a reflection of increasing marginal utility of health. One idea is to incorporate pricing control into the health model, thus taking into consideration that health markets are regulated differently in different countries. This allows for an interpretation of health costs across countries. The fourth paper will be co-authored. We are interested in exploring further the linkages between pollution and health, and their combined effects on growth. We plan to evaluate these relationships using different methodologies, and compare the results.

Note: Jury member(s): Martina Viarengo


The record appears in these collections:
Theses in progress > Development Economics

 Record created 2017-05-11, last modified 2017-05-11



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