Essays in Empirical Labor Economics

Hofmarcher T

This thesis contributes to empirical research in labor economics. It consists of three self-contained papers.

The first paper, The Effect of Paid Vacation on Health: Evidence from Sweden, analyzes the causal effect of paid vacation on health. Using register data on the universe of central government employees in Sweden, I exploit an age-based rule stipulated in the collective agreement covering these employees. The results indicate that no statistically significant changes in health are induced by an increase of three paid vacation days at age 30 and four days at age 40. These findings challenge the anecdotal view of additional paid vacation days as an adequate means to improve workers’ health.

The second paper, The Effect of Education on Poverty: A European Perspective, studies the causal relationship between education and poverty. I construct a novel database comprising compulsory schooling reforms in 32 European countries and use them as instruments for education. I find economically large poverty-reducing effects of education among people aged 30 to 80. This holds true for both objective and subjective measures of poverty. An additional year of education thus reduces not only the likelihood of being classified as poor but also the likelihood of feeling poor.

The third paper, Is There Less Household Specialization in Gay and Lesbian Couples? (co-authored with Erik Plug), examines intra-couple differences in earnings potential as a source of specialization in same-sex and different-sex couples. We find that spouses with a higher earnings potential spend significantly more time on market work and less time on household work than spouses with a lower earnings potential. We observe this pattern in gay, lesbian, and different-sex couples. The effect of intra-couple differences in earnings potential on household specialization does mostly not differ statistically in gay and lesbian couples relative to different-sex couples.

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Thesis 2019. Lund: Lund University, School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Sweden.