Research

Labor Supply and a Temporary Reprieve from Deportation: Evidence from the DACA Program

There are over 740,000 unauthorized immigrants who have participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Beneficiaries of the DACA program receive temporary reprieve from deportation and work eligibility. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the DACA program on the labor supply among DACA eligible immigrants. We impute the immigration status of respondents in nationally representative data sets and leverage the distinction between authorized and unauthorized status as a mechanism for identification in a triple-differences model. Our results provide evidence that DACA increased labor force participation by 3 to 4 percentage points among DACA eligible immigrants and reveal a disproportionate increase in labor force participation among women by 3 percentage points or 27,000 participants. DACA eligible women with previous employment experience are shown to be the driving force behind the disproportionate increase in labor force participation, suggesting that the risk of deportation influences unauthorized women to transition out of the labor force when experiencing spells of unemployment. This particular finding provides a unique insight into labor supply behavior at the intersection of immigration status and gender.  

The Undocumented Benefit of the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marks a considerable effort to address many of the health disparities in the United States. While uninsurance among Medicaid eligible children has reached an all-time low of 4-percent, 8-percent of the Medicaid eligible children living in mixed-status families remain uninsured. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the ACA on health insurance coverage among US-born children in mixed-status families. I leverage the variations in policy implementation and Medicaid eligibility thresholds to identify a treatment effect. I provide evidence that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion was ineffective in closing the gap in health insurance coverage between children living in mixed-status families and children living in non-mixed status families. An analysis across mixed-status family typology reveals a “welcome mat” effect among children living in mixed-status families, where only one parent is unauthorized, by as much as 6-percentage points. Overall, the evidence highlights the reality that children in mixed-status families are informally excluded from health insurance coverage given the unauthorized status of their parents.

Effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Private Health Insurance Participation

This paper utilizes nationally representative data sets to estimate the effects of DACA on private health insurance participation among DACA-eligible undocumented immigrants. We use multiple data sets to identify the legal status of foreign-born immigrants and create a DACA-eligible cohort to generate difference-in-differences estimates. Our analysis suggests DACA increased private health insurance participation by 6 percentage points, a 13 percent increase in labor force participation among DACA eligible undocumented immigrants. The quasi-experimental design of this study presents some insight into how temporary protective status and work eligibility has positive spill over effect that can be measure in health related outcomes. Further analysis estimates that the DACA program reduces the financial burden of uncompensated care, saving the health care system $121 million per year. These results suggest a generalizable implication that labor market access is positively associated with private health insurance uptake. A more specific implication suggests unauthorized immigration status contributes significant barriers to private health insurance uptake constructed by poor labor market access and fears of deportation.

The Value of Health

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate convergent validity of employing measures of subjective wellbeing (SWB) to quantify the value of health quality. We investigate the validity of using SWB to produce consistent and comparable non-market values of health quality across the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the General Social Survey, and the Health and Retirement Survey. Empirical models of SWB are used to quantify the marginal willingness to pay for health quality as well as compensating and equivalent surplus for infra-marginal changes in health quality. The findings presented in this paper suggest the SWB method is an effective non-market valuation technique by producing consistent and policy relevant non-market values of health quality. Additionally, we evaluate the non-market value of diabetes and provide evidence that the willingness to pay to avoid the burden of diabetes is between $16,000 and $19,000 annually. Overall, the evidence in this paper suggests the SWB method, when described by life satisfaction or happiness, can be used to model the systematic relationship between health, income, and welfare.
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