Matching Items (6)

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Economic Recessions and the Returns to Higher Education

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A recession at the time of high school graduation could place multiple and competing pressures on a student deciding between entering the labor force and going to college. A recession

A recession at the time of high school graduation could place multiple and competing pressures on a student deciding between entering the labor force and going to college. A recession may lower opportunity costs, increasing college enrollment and depressing the college wage premium; a downturn may also restrict enrollment to only those with sufficient family resources to pay for it. In the event that either of these illustrations holds true, recessions would seem to result in an adverse, exogenous welfare impact. This paper examines the extent to which recessions at the time of high school graduation affect students' likelihood of enrolling in college and then looks at the long-term earnings effects these early-life recessions carry. I first describe the choice between entering a volatile labor market and enrolling in higher education that faces 18-year-old high school graduates during a recession. For my analysis, I use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to study the effects recessions have on high school graduates' decision-making. I then develop a model using these same data to compare the college wage premiums for individuals treated and untreated by a recession at the time of high school graduation. I find that recessions result in an economically significant uptick in college enrollment. However, the college wage premium for those who enroll in a recession is not statistically different from that witnessed by enrollees in better economic climates. Nonetheless, those young people who enter college during a recession may witness an economically appreciable earnings premium over and above the typical college premium. I conclude by exploring the significance of these findings and reflect on their seemingly contradictory implications.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Three Essays on Environmental Economics: Effects of Air Pollution on Health and Human Capital

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This dissertation consists of three chapters. Chapter one examines whether spending different amount of time outdoors on weekends and weekdays change the estimates of the impact of ground level ozone

This dissertation consists of three chapters. Chapter one examines whether spending different amount of time outdoors on weekends and weekdays change the estimates of the impact of ground level ozone on the incidents of respiratory disease and asthma in California. This chapter contributes to the literature that focuses on the short term effect of air pollution on public health. Using the American Time Use Survey data, I find that on average people spend 50 minutes outdoors on weekends more than weekdays. Incorporating this difference in estimating the health impact of ozone changes the results significantly, especially for adults 20-64. The specification also allows me to find a precise estimate for each day of the week.

In chapter two I estimate the effect of exposure to ozone on skills of children aged 3 to 15 years. I use the Letter-Word (LW) test scores from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) as a measure of children's skills. Due to omitted variable bias, OLS estimate of ozone effect on children's skill is positive and imprecisely estimated. To mitigate the omitted variable bias I use the instrumental variables approach. This method accounts for endogeneity of pollution. The effect of ozone on children's skills becomes negative but only marginally significant.

In chapter three, I estimate a production function of skill formation for children 3 to 15 years old and simultaneously account for their childhood exposure to ozone. I find that a one standard deviation increase in ozone leads to a 0.07 standard deviation reduction in the LW test scores on average. The LW test score of 3 year olds drops by 0.10 standard deviation in response to one standard deviation increase in pollution levels, while for the 14 year olds this effect is only half as much, 0.04 standard deviation. I also find that households exhibit compensatory behavior and mitigate the negative effect of pollution by investing more on their children. I quantitatively demonstrate that certain policies, such as a reduction in pollution levels or income transfers to families, can remediate the negative impact of childhood exposure to pollution on adult outcomes.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Essays on Human Capital, Fertility, and Child Development

Description

This dissertation consists of two chapters. The first chapter studies children's skill formation technology while endogenizing the maternal age and child investments. I estimate the effect of a mother's age

This dissertation consists of two chapters. The first chapter studies children's skill formation technology while endogenizing the maternal age and child investments. I estimate the effect of a mother's age at childbirth on her child's health, skill level, educational attainment, and adulthood earnings. There is a tradeoff between delaying childbirth to provide a more secure economic environment for mother and child versus the potential negative biological consequences for a child of having an older parent. I quantify this tradeoff. The results indicate that a five-year decrease in the maternal age of educated women, ceteris paribus, results in over 0.50 std increase in the child’s skill level due to an increase in the child’s ability to acquire skills. However, if one adjusts child investment according to individuals’ wage profile conditional on reduced maternal age, the average child’s skill level decreases by 0.07 std. This reduction in children’s skill highlights the impact of lower inputs that children of younger mothers receive. The negative effect of foregone wages may be reduced through policy approaches. My policy analysis indicates implementing a two-year maternity leave policy that freezes mothers’ wages at the level before childbirth would reduce average maternal age at the first birth by about two years, while also increasing the average child’s skill level by about 0.22 std and future earnings by over 6%.

In chapter two, I study the impact of females' perceptions regarding their future fertility behavior on their human capital investments and labor market outcomes. I exploit a natural experiment to study the causal effect of fertility anticipation on individual's investments in human capital. I use the arguably exogenous variation in gender mix of children as an exogenous shock to the probability of further fertility. I document that having two children of the same gender is associated with about 5% lower wages for the mother compared to having two children of the opposite sexes. Mothers with same-sex children perceive themselves as more likely to bear one more child, and so less attached to the labor market, so invest less in human capital, and this is reflected in wages today.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Essays on child development

Description

This dissertation comprises three chapters.

In chapter one, using a rich dataset for the United States, I estimate a series of models to document the birth order effects on cognitive outcomes,

This dissertation comprises three chapters.

In chapter one, using a rich dataset for the United States, I estimate a series of models to document the birth order effects on cognitive outcomes, non-cognitive outcomes, and parental investments. I estimate a model that allows for heterogeneous birth order effects by unobservables to examine how birth order effects varies across households. I find that first-born children score 0.2 of a standard deviation higher on cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes than their later-born siblings. They also receive 10\% more in parental time, which accounts for more than half of the differences in outcomes. I document that birth order effects vary between 0.1 and 0.4 of a standard deviation across households with the effects being smaller in households with certain characteristics such as a high income.

In chapter two, I build a model of intra-household resource allocation that endogenously generates the decreasing birth order effects in household income with the aim of using the model for counterfactual policy experiments. The model has a life-cycle framework in which a household with two children confronts a sequence of time constraints and a lifetime monetary constraint, and divides the available time and monetary resources between consumption and investment. The counterfactual experiment shows that an annual income transfer of 10,000 USD to low-income households decreases the birth order effects on cognitive and non-cognitive skills by one-sixth, which is five times bigger than the effect in high-income household.

In chapter three, with Francesco Agostinelli and Matthew Wiswall, we examine the relative importance of investments at home and at school during an important transition for many children, entering formal schooling at kindergarten. Moreover, our framework allows for complementarities between children's skills and investments from schools. We find that investments from schools are an important determinant of children's skills at the end of kindergarten, whereas parental investments, although strongly correlated with end-of-kindergarten outcomes, have smaller effects. In addition, we document a negative complementarity between children's skills at kindergarten entry and investments from schools, implying that low-skill children benefit the most from an increase in the quality of schools.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Essays on Children's Skill Formation

Description

The dissertation is composed by three chapters. In Chapter 2 (coauthored with Matthew Wiswall) I develop new results for the identification and estimation of the technology of children’s skill formation

The dissertation is composed by three chapters. In Chapter 2 (coauthored with Matthew Wiswall) I develop new results for the identification and estimation of the technology of children’s skill formation when children’s skills are unobserved. In Chapter 3 I shed light on the importance of dynamic equilibrium interdependencies between children’s social interactions and parental investments decisions in explaining developmental differences between different social environments. In Chapter 4 (coauthored with Giuseppe Sorrenti) I study the effect of family income and maternal hours worked on both cognitive and behavioral child development.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Essays on human capital, taxation, and adverse selection

Description

This dissertation consists of three chapters. The first two explore the impact of government policies on human capital accumulation.

Chapter one makes two novel contributions related to the two workhorse models

This dissertation consists of three chapters. The first two explore the impact of government policies on human capital accumulation.

Chapter one makes two novel contributions related to the two workhorse models in the human capital literature: Learning by Doing (LBD) and Ben-Porath (BP).

First, I show that BP is much more consistent with empirical life-cycle patterns related to individual earnings growth rates relative to LBD.

Second, I show that the same model features that generate different life-cycle predictions between models also generate different policy implications. In particular, increasing the top marginal labor tax rate, relative to the current US level, generates much larger reductions in lifetime human capital accumulation in the BP model versus the LBD model.

Chapter two examines reforms to the Social Security taxable earnings cap in the context of a human capital model. Old age Social Security benefits in the US are funded by a 10.6% payroll tax up to a cap of $118,500. There has been little work examining the likely outcomes of such a policy change. I use a life-cycle BP human capital model with heterogeneous individuals to investigate the aggregate and distributional steady state impacts of several policy changes the earnings cap. I find that when I eliminate the cap: (1) aggregate output and consumption fall substantially; (2) the role of endogenous human capital is first order; (3) total federal tax revenues are lower or roughly unchanged; (4) about 1/3 of workers are made worse off.

The final chapter studies the existence and optimality of equilibria in the presence of asymmetric information. I develop an equilibrium concept which corresponds to the presence of mutual insurance organizations for a class of adverse selection economies which includes the Spence (1973) signaling and Rothschild-Stiglitz (1976) insurance environments. The defining features of a mutual insurance organization are that policy holders are also the owners of the organization, and that the organization can write policies for which the terms depend on the experience of the mutual members. In general the equilibrium exists and is weakly Pareto optimal. Further, all equilibria have the same individual type utility vector.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016