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Essays in health economics


Zurovac, Jelena (2009). Essays in health economics. Master's thesis / Doctoral dissertation.


The first two chapters of this dissertation use the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) and both investigate alcohol consumption in Russia. The third chapter is an analysis of vaccination coverage using aggregate country-level data, and it stands on its own. The first chapter describes the type, frequency, quantity, and variations over time in alcohol consumption in Russia using RLMS, spanning 1994 to 2003. Several clear patterns are revealed: (1) gender differences in alcohol consumption are the most significant determinant of the patterns, (2) quantity of alcohol consumed is the highest in men 30 to 50 years old, who are, on average, binge drinkers, (3) Russians have been switching from hard liquor into beer from the nineties onward, (4) high relative intake of spirits and binge drinking are both associated with worse self-reported health and more common in men and older adults in general. The second chapter examines the relationship between fathers' alcohol consumption and children's hospitalization in Russia using RLMS. The analysis illustrates that failing to take into account the endogeneity of alcohol consumption obscures the relationship between father's drinking and child hospitalization. Instrumental variables estimation is employed to correct for the endogeneity, simultaneity, and measurement error. The findings indicate large, positive, and statistically significant effects of father's drinking on their daughters' hospitalization. The findings are robust for all four measures of drinking: for a continuous measure, for two measures of heavy drinking, and a measure of binge drinking. The third chapter analyzes the determinants of differences in coverage rates among vaccines in developing countries, concentrating on the period of 1990 to 2006, and using country fixed effects. Three pairs of coverage rates are considered: DPT3 and MCV are each compared to BCG coverage and DPT3 to Pol3. Although the determinants of the gap in coverage differ for the various pairs of coverage figures, coverage differentials for all three pairs decrease over time. Greater democracy score has a small, positive, and significant effect on coverage differentials in most regressions. Population density is consistently and strongly associated with larger differentials for DPT3-Pol3 and point to logistical issues in vaccine availability.

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Zurovac, Jelena