Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Murat Munkin, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Benjamin Craig, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Christopher Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Giulia La Mattina, Ph.D.


difference-in-difference, discrete choice experiment, health insurance, marijuana legislation


In the first chapter, we investigate the changing landscape of America’s marijuana legislation. We first build a theoretical model to determine the impact of these changing laws on adolescents and take a closer look at the intricacies within the market. Then we provide an empirical analysis to test our hypotheses and improve upon econometric models used in previous research. We use data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) administered from 2009 to 2017 in the United States. Our identification strategy included a non-linear generalized difference-in-differences approach and a group-time treatment effect. When focused on adolescent usage in the past 30 days we find consistent significant decreases in the probability of usage regardless of model specification.

The second chapter includes a literature review and theoretical model of the demand for health insurance and insurance pooling. This chapter provides a framework for chapters 3 and 4.

The third chapter examines the association between firm size and the premiums paid by single employees for their employer-based health insurance coverage. We use survey data on single employees, ages 26-64, in 2017, and a secondary analysis using Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data. We estimated interval regression models of monthly health insurance premiums by maximum likelihood to determine differences by firm size and plan type. Employees in smaller firms (less than 50 people) pay more in premiums and individuals with HMO plans pay about $20 less than those in PPO plans. The current structure of the U.S. health insurance marketplaces an undue burden on single employees in small firms. These findings may help guide future U.S. policies that promote fairness in the U.S. health insurance marketplace.

The fourth chapter examines the values that single adults with employer-based coverage place on health insurance plan attributes using a discrete choice experiment (DCE). As part of an online survey, each respondent completed 28 paired comparisons trading-off four attributes: source of coverage, plan type, monthly out-of-pocket premium, and quality of coverage. Based on our results (N=2,207), single employees slightly preferred their employer over the Marketplace as a source of coverage (0.726 odds ratio; p-value<0.01). Single employees would be willing to switch to the Marketplace for a $25 reduction in monthly premiums. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans were overwhelmingly preferred over all other plan types, especially compared to Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans (4.230 odds ratio; p-value<0.01). The predicted probability that a health insurance plan from the Marketplace would be chosen ranged from 42% to 43.7%.

Included in

Economics Commons