Three essays in labor economics
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This dissertation consists of three chapters that study issues related to workers and families, and the intersection of these two topics. The first chapter examines domestic outsourcing of labor services in Germany. This chapter uses a novel method to identify outsourcing in administrative data, and finds that outsourcing leads to a 10-15% drop in wages that is persistent, lasting at least 10 years. There is evidence that these wage losses are associated with the loss of firm-specific rents, suggesting that labor costs savings are an important consideration in outsourcing. Finally, the increase in outsourcing activity is tied to broader changes in the German wage structure, particularly increases in wage dispersion and occupational sorting. The second chapter analyzes the relationship between state abortion restrictions and the living circumstances of children living in these states. It uses data on 15 years of abortion laws in the US connected to individual level data on children and their family structure from the Census and American Community Survey, and finds evidence that low-income children who are born in states with more restrictive abortion laws are more likely to live with a single mother than similar children born in more permissive states. To address the endogeneity of these laws, data on nullified laws is incorporated; nullified laws have no impact, indicating that it is likely the hurdles faced by women seeking abortions in stricter states that impacts family structure. The third chapter develops a new method to identify married couples in administrative worker data that do not include a household identifier. Couples are identified using information on their geo-coded location, name, gender and age; using German social security records, about 3.3 million couples are identified. Consistency checks are provided using a subsample of the data for which marriage information is available, as well as a comparison to a known sample of married couples from the German Microcensus. These identified couples are then used to analyze patterns of relative income within households, where strikingly different patterns are found for couples who work in the same establishment and those who do not.