My dissertation is comprised of three separate essays that investigate health and welfare issues, both in China and US. The first essay provides insights into the net effects of increasing women’s bargaining power on the health outcomes of their children. Using Chinese longitudinal data in the 1990s, I find evidence in favor of women’s empowerment: children in families where the mother was head of household or made more purchasing decision had better Body Mass Index (BMI) than their counterparts whose mother had less power. The second essay explores the health consequences of computer use in internet cafés compared with usage at home only or in both settings. Using Chinese longitudinal data in the mid 2000s, I find suggestive evidence that adolescents and youth using computers in internet cafés are more likely to smoke and to self-report poor health status, and to consume a higher share of fat in their daily diets. The health disparities between computer users in internet cafés and other settings are significant. The third essay examines changing levels of Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligibility and benefits receipt among low-educated single mothers who entered unemployment between 1990 and 2005, and changing participation in cash welfare and the Food Stamp Program (FSP). Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the study shows that low-educated single mothers who enter unemployment experience an increase in UI eligibility but not an increase in UI benefits receipt, when compared to low-educated, single, childless women who enter unemployment. The proportion of this population accessing benefits from at least one of these programs remains similar across the study period
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