Essays on the economics of inequality
Kroeger, Sarah Anne
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation looks at three aspects of inequality within labor markets: wage inequality, intergenerational economic mobility, and inequality in higher education between sexes. The first chapter examines the contribution of offshoring to the relative decline in the wages paid to middle skilled workers. Within a task based model of production, I develop a theoretical framework that demonstrates how increased offshoring is consistent with a decline in domestic employment and a reduction in the wages paid to workers in middle skilled occupations. I test these predictions empirically using a proxy measure of offshoring. I find that industries which engage in offshoring see their domestic employment decline over time and have a wider gap between the wages of their middle and high skilled workers. Current levels of industry offshoring are significantly correlated with an industry's lagged occupational composition. Both material and service offshoring decrease with the share of manual occupations and service offshoring increases with the share of routine occupations. Chapter two estimates the magnitude of the intergenerational elasticity of income found in the NLSY79, and provides a decomposition of this elasticity into paternal and maternal effects. Roughly one fourth of intergenerational income transmission can be attributed to maternal earnings, and omitting maternal income biases the estimate of the effect of paternal income by over 20 percent. The third chapter analyzes the growing inequality in college graduation rates between men and women. Evidence from two cohorts in the National Longitudinal Surveys suggests that although women have performed better in high school than men for several decades, the impact of high school performance on college success has increased dramatically since the 1980s. The increasing weight attributed to academic excellence in high school explains a substantial portion of the female advantage in college graduation over their male peers.