Brooks Hall 527
310 Herty Drive
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Medicaid and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers: Implications for Health Care Reform [Online Appendix], resubmitted, International Economic Review

Abstract: The Medicaid expansions and health insurance subsidies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) change work incentives for single mothers. To evaluate the employment effects of these policies ex ante, I estimate a model of labor supply and health insurance choice exploiting variation in pre-ACA Medicaid policies. Simulations show that single mothers increase their labor supply at the extensive and intensive margin by 12 and 7 percent, uninsurance rates decline by up to 40 percent, and an average family’s welfare improves by $1,600 per year. These effects are mostly due to health insurance subsidies and not Medicaid expansions.

Targeting Policies: Multiple Testing and Distributional Treatment Effects (with Steven F. Lehrer and Kyungchul Song) [Online Appendix]

Abstract: Economic theory suggests that individual responses to welfare reform depend on pre-treatment labor supply and other characteristics. Resulting changes in earnings may be positive or negative, leading to heterogenous treatment effects. In this paper, we extend the literature on treatment effect heterogeneity by introducing six nonparametric tests that are implemented using bootstrap testing of functional inequalities. The proposed tests treat treatment effect heterogeneity as a multiple testing problem and make corrections for the family-wise error rate. To facilitate comparisons to the existing literature we reexamine the extent of heterogeneity in labor supply responses to the Jobs First welfare experiment across both quantiles of outcome distribution for the full sample as well as individual subgroups. Our results shed new light on who truly benefits from welfare reform and demonstrate the importance of correcting for multiple testing.

Minimum Wages and Healthy Diet (with Kathryn L. Clark and Ryan C. Thomas)

Abstract: A healthy diet is often unaffordable for low-income individuals, so income-lifting policies may play an important role in not only alleviating poverty but also in improving nutrition. We investigate if higher minimum wages can contribute to an improved diet by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables. Exploiting recent minimum wage increases in the U.S. and using individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System we identify the causal effect of minimum wage changes on fruit and vegetable intake among low-wage individuals in a triple-differences framework. Our results indicate that higher minimum wages contribute positively but moderately to improved nutrition.

Health Shocks, Human Capital, and Labor Market Outcomes (with Francisco Parro) [email me for draft]

Abstract: The relationships between health, human capital, and labor market outcomes are complex and not fully understood. We explore them using high frequency administrative data from an emerging economy. Using hospitalizations as a proxy for health shocks, we first document that higher levels of educational attainment mitigate the negative labor market effects of health events. This evidence informs a flexible yet tractable dynamic model of human capital accumulation in the presence of health shocks. We  estimate the model, which allows us to disentangle pathways between health and labor market outcomes operating through education, type of job, and access to health care.

Wage Premiums, Shirking Deterrence, Gift Exchange and Employee Quality: Firm Evidence (with Constanca Esteves-Sorenson and Ernesto Freitas) [email me for draft]

Abstract: Why may firms pay efficiency wages: above-market clearing wages which are not contingent on output? We explore the contribution to productivity of three main mechanisms underpinning efficiency wages (shirking, gift-exchange, and selection) by exploring a novel personnel data set from two Portuguese hotel chains as well as particular features of the Portuguese labor market. We find evidence of the three mechanisms. In the first firm, higher wage premiums at the time of hiring decrease shirking, consistent with selection. Higher yearly wage premiums also reduce shirking, consistent with the shirking and gift-exchange models. However, tenure induces an increase in shirking which is consistent with the shirking model.


Health and Work in the Family: Evidence from Spouses’ Cancer Diagnoses (with Sung-Hee Jeon), Journal of Health Economics 52, March 2017, pp. 1–18. [Online Appendix]

Media coverage: NPR (WUGA)U.S. News & World ReportConsumer Affairs, Specialty Pharmacy Times

Abstract: Using Canadian administrative data from multiple sources, we provide the first nationally representative estimates for the effect of spouses’ cancer diagnoses on individuals’ employment and earnings and on family income. Our identification strategy exploits unexpected health shocks and combines matching with individual fixed effects in a generalized difference-in-differences framework to control for observable and unobservable heterogeneity. While the effect of spousal health shocks on labor supply is theoretically ambiguous, we find strong evidence for a decline in employment and earnings of individuals whose spouses are diagnosed with cancer. We interpret this result as individuals reducing their labor supply to provide care to their sick spouses and to enjoy joint leisure. Family income substantially declines after spouses’ cancer diagnoses, suggesting that the financial consequences of such health shocks are considerable.

Medical Guidelines, Physician Density, and Quality of Care: Evidence from German SHARE Data (with Hendrik Jürges), European Journal of Health Economics 13(5), October 2012, pp. 635-649.

Abstract: We use German SHARE data to study the relationship between district general practitioner density and the quality of preventive care provided to older adults. We measure physician quality of care as the degree of adherence to medical guidelines (for the management of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the prevention of falls) as reported by patients. Contrary to theoretical expectations, we find only weak and insignificant effects of physician density on quality of care. Our results shed doubt on the notion that increasing physician supply will increase the quality of care provided in Germany’s present health care system.


Provider Incentives and Overspending in Long Term Care (with Martin B. Hackmann)

Labor Market Effects of Medical Innovation: The Case of Breast and Prostate Cancer (with Sung-Hee Jeon)


Economics of Human Resources (UGA, undergraduate)
Economics of Managing Organizations (UGA, MBA)
Health Economics (UGA, undergraduate)
Applied Analytical Methods (Queen’s, MIR and MPA)
Labour Economics and Industrial Relations (Queen’s, MIR)
Research Problems and Methodology (Queen’s, MA Economics)