M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 118

The Connection Between State Policies and Health Outcomes: How State Unemployment Insurance Generosity Affects Type II Diabetes Incidence and Outcomes

Honorable Mention, 2019 Dunlop Thesis Prize

Victor C. Agbafe



How does state policy affect health outcomes? While researchers have looked at how social determinants affect patient health, few have directly studied the effects of income insecurity on health outcomes. In my research, I attempted to fill this gap in the literature by analyzing how state social policy can affect health outcomes via its effect on income security. I tested the connection between state unemployment insurance generosity and type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) incidence and outcomes. In the quantitative component of my research, I found a statistically significant negative correlation between the minimum unemployment insurance benefits and the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) due to T2DM, as well as a statistically significant negative correlation between the maximum weekly unemployment insurance benefits and death due to T2DM. In the qualitative part of this research, which encompassed surveys of physicians and previously or currently unemployed patients with T2DM, I found that cultural background, access to a payer source, and a social support system were significant moderator variables.

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