Empirical essays on wage determination and mobility /

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Kirby, Joseph
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Middle Tennessee State University
This dissertation consists of three essays on labor force outcomes that result from implementation of statewide policies. The first essay, "Division of Labor and Marital Institutions: Evidence from Same-Sex Marriage", tests Becker's theory on household division of labor and wages with regards to individuals in same-sex partnerships relative to those in heterosexual partnerships. Results indicate that same-sex couples who identify as married have wage differentials similar to those of a heterosexual married couple. Married gay heads of household receive a wage premium relative to unmarried gay heads of household while married gay partners receive a wage penalty relative to unmarried gay partners. Evidence also suggests greater division of labor in married same-sex household compared to unmarried same-sex holds. The second essay, "Legal Protections and Marital Investment", tests the impact of legal recognition of same-sex partnerships. Results suggest same-sex marriage and civil unions increase the wage differentials of married same-sex partnerships, while domestic partnerships result in wage penalties for married homosexuals. The third essay, "Non-Discrimination Laws, Mobility, and Labor Outcomes", tests the labor force outcomes for heterosexuals and homosexuals in states with laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Results do not provide significant evidence that gay men and women have better labor force outcomes in states with non-discrimination laws. It appears that laws designed to improve the labor force outcomes of homosexuals do not have much significant impact while laws targeting non-pecuniary aspects of their lives have significant results on wages.
Adviser: Adam Rennhoff.