Date of Award

Fall 2008

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Karen Smith Conway


Evaluating the effectiveness of public programs requires an understanding of how these programs affect the choices of individuals and households. For example, the program design of Social Security and Medicare may affect how much people work. While these effects are not intended goals of the programs, proper evaluation of these programs requires analyzing costs and benefits from all sources, even those that may be unintended. Given the growing number of uninsured individuals, currently 47 million, policy makers are considering an expanded role for government in the provision of health insurance. With any expansion may come secondary effects, such as those on labor supply, which must be accounted for and considered when deciding on the proper structure and parameters of the policy. Although the goal of expanding current public health insurance programs would be to cover more individuals, this goal might not be achieved if the public were not well informed about eligibility and enrollment procedures. The three essays in my dissertation consider how the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs affect the decisions made by households with regard to retirement, labor supply, and program enrollment. The results of these studies provide useful information for evaluating current programs that will be useful for guiding future public policy decisions.