Does Financial Aid really help the poor?

Conventional Wisdom holds that financial aid helps poor students afford higher education.  This is certainly true.  However, does financial aid truly help the entire distribution of poor families in the United States.   A study by Hansen and Weisbrod in their 1969 book Benefits, Costs and Finance of Public Higher Education seeks to analyze how financial aid is distributed…

State of the Union

In the State of the Union address, President Bush dedicated portions of the speech to the health care problems facing the United States.  A summary of his proposals is located on the White House website.  I will comment on a few noteworthy additions to the Bush plan, of which I was not aware of during my…

The Econometrics of Piecewise-Linear Budget Constraints

This is a summary of an article by Robert Moffitt (1986): Often in Public Economics, we come across budget constraints which are piecewise-linear. Some examples are studies of: the negative income tax, Social Security program, food stamp program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and unemployment insurance. Wrinkles to the traditional piecewise linear budget…

Trends in Health Care Spending

A recent Health Affairs article by Cynthia Smith, Cathy Cowan, Stephen Heffler and Aaron Catlin details the trends in health care spending over the last 25 years. I have compiled their results into a handy graph. In addition the the general overall increase, there are other significant findings. Between 1970 and 2004, out-of-pocket payments decreased…