Three essays on factors influencing changes in labor and marriage markets

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2023-08
Authors
Ahn, Kunwon
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Orazem, Peter
Winters, John
Kreider, Brent
Kédagni, Désiré
Peters, David
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Economics
Abstract
This dissertation addresses important topics in labor economics, with a specific emphasis on the factors influencing labor and marriage markets. Chapter 2 (joint with Xiaoyin Li) investigates the effects of the relaxation of labor laws on youth employment. The study specifically targets 16-17-year -old youth in Wisconsin and utilizes the change in the working hour restriction in 2011 as a quasi-experiment. The study examines how extending working hours and days for teenagers can potentially influence their labor outcomes. The findings indicate that relaxing labor laws increase teen employment rates, while the labor force participation rate and hours worked show negligible changes. Chapter 3 (joint with John V. Winters) examines the causal effects of education on marriage outcomes. Economic theory suggests that causal effects of education on marriage are ambiguous and likely heterogeneous. We use individual-level data from the American Community Survey combined with cohort-level maternal education data from prior decennial censuses to estimate causal effects of education on marriage outcomes via two-stage least squares regression. The study reveals that formal education significantly decreases the probability of being married for younger individuals but not for older individuals. However, education does significantly increase the probability of never marrying even by ages 45-54. Chapter 4 analyzes the impact of unilateral divorce laws on marriage outcomes. A significant change in marriage law is the shift from mutual consent to unilateral divorce laws, allowing one spouse to terminate the marriage without the consent of the other party. This change had implications for various marriage outcomes. The findings provide evidence that the introduction of unilateral divorce laws has a negative impact on the likelihood of being married among certain age groups, while the effect is not uniform across age and gender.
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