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Author: Moore, Richard Quinn
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1. Moore, Richard Quinn
Essays in Labor and Family Economics
Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, University of Michigan, 2005. DAI-A 67/07, Jan 2007.
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79, NLSY79
Publisher: Department of Economics, University of Michigan
Keyword(s): Behavior Problems Index (BPI); Educational Attainment; Heterogeneity; Maternal Employment; Modeling, Fixed Effects; Mothers, Education; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Math); Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Siblings

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

The papers in this dissertation deal broadly with issues related to inequality, human capital formation, and family economics. The first paper investigates the role of selection bias in the change in the black-white log wage gap among women. The second paper looks at the effect on child academic achievement of maternal human capital investment undertaken during the child's lifetime. The third paper is a cohort-based investigation of the gender wage gap over the past two decades.

The first chapter seeks to estimate changes in selection bias in the observed wages of black and white women over time. Results suggest that while the selection-corrected wage gap is larger than the observed gap throughout the period under study, selection bias became much less important in recent years. Moreover, my results indicate that focusing on the measured wage gap leads to misleading conclusions with regard to the relative economic progress of black women. The pattern of potential wage gaps suggests that the racial gap in economic opportunity among women was never as small as it appeared, and changed less over time than suggested by observed estimates.

The second chapter investigates the role that maternal schooling undertaken during a child's lifetime plays in child cognitive development. Little research has focused on the effects of human capital investments undertaken by women while they are mothering children. A theoretical model is developed that shows that such maternal schooling has an ambiguous effect on child cognitive development. Empirical results suggest that maternal schooling undertaken during the first year of the child's life has large negative significant effects on child cognitive development, but that schooling in later years has positive significant effects on child cognitive development. In this paper, we develop a theoretical model that shows that under certain conditions, mothers who value their own consumption and the final level of their children's development will choose to go to school during their child's lifetime. This decision has a theoretically ambiguous effect on child cognitive development. Time spent on human capital investment reduces time spent with children, and thus negatively impacts child outcomes. However, maternal education may have positive spillover effects on investment in children, including role model effects and improved ability to help with homework. Using data from the Child Supplement of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we examine empirically the theoretically ambiguous effect of a mother undertaking schooling on her children's academic outcomes. We also compare the effects of maternal schooling to effects of maternal labor force participation. Using both child-fixed effects and sibling-fixed effects models to address unobserved heterogeneity, we find that cumulative maternal schooling has significant positive effects on child outcomes, and that negative time allocation effects are minimal. These results increase further the expected rate of return on continued schooling among women with children and suggest that proposals to have education classified as a work-related activity for purposes of welfare eligibility could have positive effects on the academic achievement of children in welfare-dependent families.

The final chapter uses cohort analysis to investigate the stagnation of the gender wage gap during the 1990s. We find that understanding cohort dynamics is crucial to understanding changes in the wage gap. In particular, changes in point in lifecycle cohort replacement explain much of the increases in women's wages related to changes in observed characteristics and to changes in selection into employment.

Bibliography Citation
Moore, Richard Quinn. Essays in Labor and Family Economics. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, University of Michigan, 2005. DAI-A 67/07, Jan 2007..