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Author: Koehli, Marianne Bernatzky
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1. Koehli, Marianne Bernatzky
Essays on Labor Economics
Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, Yale University, 2021
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79, NLSY79 Young Adult, NLSY97
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT); Current Population Survey (CPS) / CPS-Fertility Supplement; Depression (see also CESD); Family Structure; Fertility; Health, Mental; Home Observation for Measurement of Environment (HOME); Locus of Control (see Rotter Scale); Occupational Information Network (O*NET); Parenting Skills/Styles; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Math); Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) (see Self-Esteem)

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

The first chapter studies the life-cycle behavior of two cohorts of American women: those born in the 1960s and those born in the 1980s. Millennial women are more likely to work full time, work in professional, health, and education-related occupations, and be childless in their mid-thirties than women born in the 1960s. I build a life-cycle model that incorporates labor supply, occupation, and fertility choices, and estimate the model for the older cohort. I analyze the role of two forces in explaining the data patterns: (i) labor market factors, including changes in the wage structure and in the initial joint distribution of workers' skills and occupations' skills requirements, and (ii) family factors, including changes in marital status across cohorts. I find that both mechanisms are important and together are able to (i) explain the changes in occupational sorting across cohorts; (ii) predict 74% of the changes in the share of women in full-time work; (iii) explain 85% of the decrease in the share of women with two children and (iv) explain 81% of the increase in the share of childless women in their mid-thirties.

In the third chapter, which is joint work with Paula Calvo and Zhengren Zhu, we investigate the role of maternal mental health on children's cognitive and mental health development. We propose a model that incorporates maternal mental health as a separate input in the human capital production function, different from cognitive and non-cognitive skills. We employ the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, where we link mothers and their children, to document the empirical patterns that motivate this study: First, poor maternal mental health is positively associated with poor mental health of her child and negatively associated with her child's cognitive development (which includes math and reading recognition). Second, poor maternal mental health is associated with worse parental practices at different ages. Third, children's mental health problems affect their cognitive outcomes in school. Fourth, children with poor mental health are more likely to have mental health problems in adult life, have lower wages and lower educational attainment. Our model incorporates these key mechanisms. We describe the estimation steps and propose counterfactual exercises.

Bibliography Citation
Koehli, Marianne Bernatzky. Essays on Labor Economics. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, Yale University, 2021.