Essays On Labor And Health Economics
The first essay looks how the disability wage gap as well as the gender, race, and ethnicity wage gaps are affected by macroeconomic conditions. Even though a large literature looks at the trends of these wage gaps, very little research considers their cyclicality. I use the SIPP linked to administrative earnings records to look at how these gaps vary with local labor market conditions from 1978 to 2010. For annual earnings, the disabled and blacks seem to fare better than their counterparts as labor market conditions worsen while women seem to fare worse than men, and the results are mixed for Hispanics. For hourly earnings, the results are largely mixed and inconclusive. There is also evidence that these results vary by decade. The second essay asks whether the gender gap in total compensation is smaller than the gender wage gap. One potential explanation for the observed gender wage gap is that men and women value the nonwage aspects of a job differently. I construct two individual level measures of total compensation - one using supplemental CPS data on employer contribution to health insurance premiums and one using the NLSY linked to employer cost data. I find that the observed gender gap resulting from these measures of total compensation is almost identical to the observed gender gap in wages. The third essay considers how parents allocate scarce resources among children with different levels of initial endowment. Parents that are interested in maximizing the return on their investment might reinforce initial conditions, but parents motivated by equity might compensate. I use the SIPP to directly measured health endowment as whether the child has any health conditions and parental investment as the frequency with which parents do various activities with each child. The results show that there is some evidence that parents do not invest equally in children of different health endowments, but the evidence is far from overwhelming. Moreover, the results differ depending on parents' education and the children's age group. In general, these results seem to indicate that pattern of parental behavior depends crucially on the specific investment.
Economics; Labor Economics; Health Economics
Abowd, John Maron
Cawley, John H.
Hallock, Kevin F.
Ph.D. of Economics
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis