The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions

53 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2014 Last revised: 21 Aug 2022

See all articles by Sarah Cohodes

Sarah Cohodes

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Samuel A. Kleiner

Government of the United States of America - Federal Trade Commission

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dan Grossman

Cornell University

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

Public health insurance programs comprise a large share of federal and state government expenditures. Although a sizable literature analyzes the effects of these programs on health care utilization and health outcomes, little prior work has examined the long-term effects and resultant health improvements on important outcomes, such as educational attainment. We contribute to filling this gap in the literature by examining the effects of the public insurance expansions among children in the 1980s and 1990s on their future educational attainment. Our findings indicate that expanding health insurance coverage for low-income children increases the rate of high school completion and college completion. These estimates are robust to only using federal Medicaid expansions, and mostly are due to expansions that occur when the children are older (i.e., not newborns). We present suggestive evidence that better health is one of the mechanisms driving our results by showing that Medicaid eligibility when young translates into better teen health. Overall, our results indicate that the long-run benefits of public health insurance are substantial.

Suggested Citation

Cohodes, Sarah and Kleiner, Samuel A. and Lovenheim, Michael and Grossman, Dan, The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions (May 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20178, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2444565

Sarah Cohodes (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Samuel A. Kleiner

Government of the United States of America - Federal Trade Commission ( email )

600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580
United States

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Dan Grossman

Cornell University ( email )

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