Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In this dissertation, I offer three independent studies that each contribute to the literature on poverty and infant health. The first essay examines whether access to public transportation reduces food insecurity in the U.S. Potential endogeneity problem is addressed with instruments of federal transportation funding. I provide new evidence of a negative causal effect of public transportation accessibility on food insecurity, which is more prominent among poor African-American households. The second essay examines the relation between savings of poor households and a welfare program called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Eligibility for SNAP benefits requires households to own limited value of assets. Beginning in 2001, states were given the authority to formulate their own rules regarding how vehicles are counted towards this asset limit in the SNAP. Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the results suggest that liberalizing vehicle asset rules increases vehicle assets of households with a high ex ante probability of program participation. Particularly, this increase in car value can be attributed primarily to low educated single parents who already owned a car before the policy change buying more expensive cars. The third essay examines how notifications of governmental authorities mitigate the effect of air pollutants on infant health outcomes in Korea. Using a data set of 1.5 million babies, and air status information from 250 weather stations in Korea between 2003 and 2011, the results indicate that the public warnings against the yellow sand events improve birth outcomes.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mocan, Naci



Included in

Economics Commons