Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Rejoinder to Barkowski and McLaughlin


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In the previous issue of this journal, I published “Health Insurance Mandates and the Marriage of Young Adults: A Comment on Barkowski and McLaughlin.” That piece by me is a critique of Scott Barkowski and Joanne Song McLaughlin’s “In Sickness and in Health Interaction Effects of State and Federal Health Insurance Coverage Mandates on Marriage of Young Adults,” published in the Journal of Human Resources in 2022. The previous issue of this journal also featured a reply by Barkowski and McLaughlin. In this rejoinder, I provide a straightforward restatement of the main criticism and clearly show why their eligibility term is only identified in a DDD framework. I call attention to that their reply does not directly address the primary criticism and, instead, offers deficient reasons for their model specification. Specifically, Barkowski and McLaughlin argue that the additional fixed effects required in a DDD framework absorb the identifying variation and introduce bias. I contend that their arguments are theoretically unsound and empirically unsupported.

This article is a response to Response to Gamino by Scott Barkowski and Joanne Song McLaughlin (EJW, March 2023).