Three Essays in Applied Microeconomics

TitleThree Essays in Applied Microeconomics
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsZhang, X
AdvisorMoehling, C
Academic DepartmentEconomics
UniversityRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
CityNew Brunswick, NJ
Accession Number1442199731
KeywordsAdult children, Employment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Methodology

This dissertation contains three chapters in applied microeconomics. All three chapters try to answer one question: what factors determine labor market outcomes like employment probability, occupational choice and earnings? Chapter 1 investigates the effects of multidimensional personality traits on employment status, occupational choice and earnings. Using the United Kingdom National Child Development Study, the analysis deals with the problems of reverse causality and measurement error by instrumental variable methods. The results indicate that personality traits play an important role in explaining the variation in labor market outcomes. The more agreeable and conscientious, and the less imaginative a person is, the more likely he is employed. The more outgoing and the less imaginative a person is, the more likely he works in a managerial occupation, but the less likely in a non-manual occupation. Agreeableness reduces one's probability of being in a professional occupation. Being outgoing and conscientious leads to higher earnings for paid employees. Chapter 2 uses the United States Health and Retirement Study to study the effects of elder care provision on one's job choice with respect to flexibility. Fixed effects panel data models are used to control for time-invariant individual heterogeneity. Compared to non-caregivers, both male and female caregivers are significantly more likely to sort into flexible jobs or occupations, though they realize job flexibility through different channels: caregiving women are more likely to choose jobs with direct flexible work arrangements like flexible schedules, while caregiving men are more likely to realize flexibility indirectly by sorting into flexible occupation categories. Chapter 3 uses the Brazil Living Standards Measurement Study Survey to examine the long-run consequences of child labor on an adult's income, health and educational attainment. The analysis leads to the following conclusions. Early working has a substantial negative impact on earnings for rural residents but no impact on urban residents. For health, child labor has an adverse consequence in the long run. As for the schooling effect, the earlier one enters the labor market, the fewer years of schooling he obtains. I also discover appreciable differences of child labor effects between urban and rural residents.

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