Date

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Economics

First Adviser

Chou, Shin-Yi

Other advisers/committee members

Meyerhoefer, Chad D.; Yang, Muzhe; Zhang, Yuping

Abstract

This dissertation studies the short-term, long-term, and inter-generational effects of environmental changes on health outcomes. In the first chapter, I use China's "Home Appliances Going to the Country-side" policy to study the effects of the spread of household electronic appliances in rural areas on body weight outcomes and on behaviors associated with caloric intake and caloric expenditure. The analysis is based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). Using data from waves 2004, 2006, and 2009 and difference-in-differences and instrumental-variable approaches, I find that household technology increases the likelihood of obesity among female adults, due to more caloric intake and less caloric expenditure. In the second chapter, I use unique and comprehensive data from Taiwan to extend the existing literature to the long-term effects of malaria exposure on health outcomes. Malaria prevalence in Taiwan dropped sharply in the 1950s due to the DDT-based eradication campaign from 1952 to 1957. Given that areas with greater changes in malaria prevalence should benefit more from the eradication campaign, I use a difference-in-differences approach to estimate the impact of malaria eradication on future health, education, and labor outcomes in areas with high pre-eradication malaria prevalence. In this study, I find significant long-term effects of early life malaria exposure on future outcomes: less early life malaria exposure improves educational attainment, and lowers the likelihood of getting heart disease, stroke, and renal failure for women, and lowers the likelihood of getting stroke and cerebral palsy for men.In the third chapter, I use the Great Chinese Famine of 1959--1961 to examine the effects of in utero exposure to famine on the health outcomes of offspring. In particular, I focus on the weight and height outcomes of children whose mothers were exposed to famine while in utero. The results indicate that daughters of famine survivors have a lower z-score of body mass index (BMI) than daughters of parents who were not exposed to famine. I do not find any impact on BMI for sons.

Included in

Economics Commons

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