Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilcox, Virginia

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Economics




This dissertation comprises three essays. The first examines the effect of health insurance on child health and healthcare utilization in Nigeria. It uses the implementation and expansion of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to introduce an exogenous variation in health insurance eligibility, a natural experiment that fits a difference-in-difference analysis. Findings from this essay suggest that health insurance decreases the prevalence of diarrhea and increases birthweight among children. It also increases the probability that children receive polio and diphtheria vaccines and increases the probability that children from middle-income households receive medical treatment for diarrhea. The second essay examines the effect of the Boko Haram Insurgency (BHI) on height-for-age z-scores, weight-for-age z-scores, weight-for-height z-scores, stunting, and wasting. It compares outcomes in Boko Haram high-active and low-active areas. A difference-in-difference analysis identifies the extensive margin effects while a regression analysis identifies the intensive margin effects. The essay uses data from the Nigerian Health and Demographic Survey and the Global Terrorism Database. The results suggest that the BHI reduces weight-for-age and weight-for-height z-scores and increases the probability of wasting. The evidence suggests that policies targeting healthcare services may mitigate the long-term impacts of the BHI on human capital production. Finally, the third essay examines the effect of neighborhood gangs on youth criminal behavior in the United States. It uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) and examines the effect of neighborhood gangs on youth delinquency and substance use. The essay finds that neighborhood gangs positively affect incidences of substance use by youths after accounting for individual heterogeneity. This finding suggests that policies providing early guidance to youths about the effects of neighborhood gangs should be encouraged. Youths exposed to neighborhood gangs should be sensitized on the dangers of substance use.


Advisors: Virginia Wilcox.||Committee members: Jeremy Groves; Maria Ponomareva.||Includes bibliographical references.


129 pages




Northern Illinois University

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