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Job Choices, Flexibility and Maternal Labor Force Participation

By Samantha Cox

While there are countless studies concerning the effects of various variables on female labor force participation, there are still many unexamined intricacies involved in a woman’s choice to enter, re-enter or leave the work force. This paper attempts to extend on previous research and examine how the flexibility of a woman’s job influences her return to work after the birth of her first child. The findings support the results found in previous models which find a relationship between family size, hourly wage rate, other household income and age at first birth. The results further sought to address the elusive concept of culture’s effect on a woman’s labor decisions by using the woman’s religiosity. Most intrical to this research is the creation of two flexibility indices, one regarding occupation choice and one regarding industry choice, and the varying effect of these variables as well as the aforementioned explanatory variables over time. Using hazard analysis, a positive, significant relationship was established between the flexibility indices and the dependent variable when the influence of time was held constant. Also found was a positive relationship linking the likelihood of a woman returning to work after the birth of her first child, considering she has not already done so, with the interaction of the flexibility indices over time. Only the term interacting with the industry index was found to be significant.

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Advisor: Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: D1, J13, J24 | Tagged: Economics, Hazard/Survival Models, Industry, Labor Decisions, Maternity, Occupation, Women

Capturing a College Education’s Impact on Industry Wages Across Time: An Analysis of Academic Factors that Affect Earnings

By Ian Low

Studying how a college education can impact one’s wages has always been an area of interest amongst labor and education economists. While previous studies have stressed using single academic factors (i.e. college major choice, performance, or college prestige) to determine the effect on wages, there has not been a focus on predicting wages given industries and a combination of these academic factors across time. Therefore, the crux of my thesis seeks to provide a new model which incorporates college major choice, GPA, industry selection across time, college type (private or public), natural ability (standardized test scores), and several demographic variables in order to predict percent increase/decrease in wages. My results show that college major choice, academic performance, natural ability, and industry selection (together) do have a significant impact on earnings, and they are appropriate measures to predict post-graduation wages.

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Advisor: Peter Arcidiacon | JEL Codes: A2, A22, J3, J31 | Tagged: College, Industry, Wages

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