Essays In Labor And Education Economics

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In chapter 1, I explore the relationship between discrimination towards blacks and the blackwhite self-employment rate gap, and provide the first direct empirical evidence that discrimination negatively impacts black self-employment. As a proxy for discrimination, I construct a measure of prejudicial attitudes using responses from the 1993-2010 General Social Survey. After compiling an index of prejudicial attitudes, I estimate the relationship between self-employment and this index of prejudicial attitudes using the 2005-2009 American Community Survey. I find that an amount of prejudice equal to the difference in the least and most prejudiced census divisions increases the black-white self-employment rate gap by 24.2%34.5%. In chapter 2, I examine how income tax rates affect the labor migration decisions of NBA free agents. By using a dataset of professional basketball players' free agent contracts from the National Basketball Association (NBA) between the 2001-2002 and 2007-2008 seasons, I am able to identify the effect that changes in income tax rates have on the labor migration decisions of NBA free agents. I find that an increase in the marginal income tax rate faced by NBA basketball players that play for a given team leads to a decrease in the average skill of the NBA free agents that migrate to that team. In chapter 3, I study how a nutritional improvement in school provided meals affects student outcomes. There has recently been an emphasis on decreasing childhood obesity and increasing the health of schoolchildren in the United States. Improving the nutritional content of school meals is one potential mechanism for achieving these goals. In addition to direct health benefits, these interventions may provide positive effects on students' academic and behavioral outcomes. In 2007, the Buffalo Public School District implemented the Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) program, which increased the nutritional content of food provided at school. I find that students in HOPS schools experienced a statistically significant increase in iii standardized math test scores, particularly among low ability, high income, and female students. Additionally, I find that the intervention had no impact on standardized English test scores, attendance, or suspensions. iv
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labor; education; discrimination; black-white self-employment gap; labor migration; tax rates; NBA
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Kahn, Lawrence M
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Lovenheim, Michael F
Hallock, Kevin F.
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Ph. D., Economics
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Doctor of Philosophy
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dissertation or thesis
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