Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Three Essays on Labor Economics
by Kaplan, Erin, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011, 126; 3495683
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation consists of three separate chapters on topics in labor economics. The first chapter, entitled "Ignorance and Bliss: Early Onset Depression, Human Capital Accumulation and Labor Market Outcomes in Early Adulthood," examines the link between early onset mood disorders and post-secondary education and labor market outcomes. In addition, controlling for contemporaneous depression symptoms provides insight into the mechanisms by which adolescent depression affects long-term outcomes. The results of this analysis indicate that the negative long-term outcomes associated with early onset depression symptoms are significant, and result from both the initial depressive episode as well as recurrent symptoms experienced later in life.

The second chapter, entitled "Student Responses to Changes in the Cost of Post-Secondary Education," focuses primarily on the effect of changes in tuition and financial aid on education and labor market choices of post-secondary students. The existing literature dealing with the cost of education focuses primarily on education outcomes. I develop a theoretical model to illustrate trade-offs between formal human capital accumulation and labor market participation, which yields predictions about how college cost affects student employment decisions. My empirical analysis is problematic for several reasons, and I do not find evidence to support the predictions of my theoretical model. Despite the lack of empirical evidence, the theoretical model presented here may be a useful starting point for future researchers.

The third chapter, entitled "The Impact of Divorce Law Changes on Fertility Decisions," examines the relationship between fertility and unilateral and no-fault divorce laws. The results provide evidence that unilateral divorce laws may have decreased birthrates. Further, we analyze the effect unilateral and no-fault divorce laws have on the birth rate among women with different demographic characteristics such as age, marital status, and level of education. We find that unilateral divorce laws result in a decrease in birthrates among married women. Additionally, there are distributional effects of no-fault divorce laws across age groups, with a significant positive effect on the birthrate among women aged 15 to 29.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bedard, Kelly
Commitee: Dechenes, Olivier, Royer, Heather
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: Economics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Labor economics
Keywords: Depression, Divorce, Early onset depression, Human capital, Labor market, Mood disorder
Publication Number: 3495683
ISBN: 978-1-267-19418-3
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