Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Economics

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 129 pages) : color illustrations, color maps.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kajal Lahiri

Committee Members

Pinka Chatterji, Diane Dewar


Health, Healthcare Spending, Income Inequality, Income distribution, Public health, Minorities, Discrimination in medical care, Health services accessibility, Poor, Medical care, Cost of

Subject Categories

Economics | Public Health


This set of essays addresses issues related to income inequality, public healthcare supply and population health. Income inequality has been found to affect health in a number of studies. Using data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a telephone survey of adults in the United States, the first chapter of my dissertation studies the effect of state level and county level income inequality on health status and the pathway via public health spending. By using multiple imputation method applied to BRFSS income data, it derives synthetic Gini coefficient at state level and county level for each year from 2000 to 2012. After controlling for smoking, age, education, race, gender, house- hold income and fraction of black, this study finds that both state level and county level income inequality is negatively associated with health status. Furthermore, this paper shows that provision of health related public goods is one of the pathways by which income inequality influences health. And the effects of both income inequality and inefficient level of public health spending are different by income groups and geographic areas. Income inequality has largest negative effect on poorer people and smaller negative effect on people living in big cities.