PhD Candidate, Economics


Applied Microeconomics;

Health Economics

Research Statement


Dissertation Research in Progress: 
Cancer and Employment Among Working Age Women

Job Market Paper:  "The Effects of Cancer on Employment Among Women: A Panel Analysis, 1999-2013."  Working Paper, 2017.


The effects of Cancer on Employment among women: a panel analysis, 1999-2013

Annually, more than 900,000 women are diagnosed with cancer, more than half of whom are under age 65 (ACS).  Prior research addresses economic costs of cancer morbidity and treatment, though not the economic costs of surviving cancer.  While return to work is a growing concern among women, research about the effects of cancer on employment among working age, female cancer survivors is limited.  Using the longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this paper analyzes a sample of 5,911 working age women, of whom 263 women age 21-64 received a cancer diagnosis between 1999 & 2011.  Through a fixed effects model which examines a prior cancer diagnosis as well as time since cancer onset among survivors, cancer has a statistically significant effect on various employment outcomes.  The model controls for household characteristics (marital status & preschool children present), as well as other comorbidities (diabetes, heart conditions, pulmonary disorders, and stroke), as well as time-invariant unobservables.  Most outcomes—including wages, earnings, and the probability of being employed—are adversely affected by cancer at some point between onset and ten years thereafter.  In particular, working age women have 77% (p=0.02) lower earnings and 32% (p=0.03) lower wages, eight years after cancer onset.  There are lower probabilities of being employed when women have lived two, four, and ten years after their diagnosis.  These probabilities are 5, 7, and 11 percentage points lower, respectively.  Given projections of cancer diagnosis, survivorship and these results, estimates of macroeconomic losses range from $3.5 to $7 billion annually.  Additional research may examine the part which health insurance, especially that provided by employers, may play in employment outcomes affected by cancer.


Poster Presentation at the 2017 PSID User Conference, University of Michigan

Paper Presentation at Fordham University Economics Dept Seminar, 2017


Background:  Breast cancer affects more than 300,000 women each year.  As treatments have improved, survivors are increasingly concerned about returning to work after cancer.  This study examines how breast cancer might affect the employment of working aged (18-64) women.  Data: Using the 2011 Medial Expenditure Panel Survey with a special cancer module, this study evaluated a dataset of 8,465 US women of whom 146 had a previous diagnosis of breast cancer malignancy.  Methodology:  Using Probit models, the study identified whether a correlation existed between a breast cancer diagnosis and full-time employment status.  In addition, multivariate regressions tested whether there was a statistical relationship between breast cancer and weekly hours worked or hourly wages.  Results:  A previous diagnosis of breast cancer predicted an approximate 51% reduction in the full-time employment probability of working-aged women.  Similarly, while including an employment condition, breast cancer survivors worked 3 fewer hours than those with no breast cancer diagnosis; without the employment condition, survivors worked 4 fewer hours. The correlation between breast cancer and hourly wages was not statistically different from 0 among the employed.



Paper Presented at the New York State Economic Association 2016 Annual Conference


Other Research & Publications

Health Insurance and children in low- and middle-income countries: A review

Authors & Publication Details:  Sophie Mitra, Michael Palmer, Shannon Pullaro, Daniel Mont, Nora Groce. (2017)  Economic Record.  93:302, 484-500.

Publication available here.

We conduct the first systematic review of the impact of health insurance on children and their households in low- and middle-income countries where nine-tenths of the world's child population reside. We find only 13 studies for seven countries published between 2000 and 2014 which assess the insurance impacts for children, controlling for self-selection and heterogeneity. Nine out of 10 studies reviewed provide consistent evidence that health insurance provides financial protection. The results are more mixed for health utilisation and health outcomes. Policy-makers would benefit from additional research on whether and how health insurance benefits children.

Co-presented preliminary paper results at UNICEF in 2015.