Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Jan Ondrich

Subject Categories

Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation comprises three essays on economic justice and fairness. The first chapter investigates the effect of job continuity on new mothers’ labor supply following their first childbirth. The second chapter studies the impact of wages and other factors on women's work duration after childbirth. The third chapter analyzes the effect of disability within the family on the financial satisfaction of the female head or spouse. Chapter 1 investigates the effect of job continuity on the supply of labor of new mothers for the five-year period after their first childbirth. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), we extend the beta-logistic model of Heckman and Willis (1977) to a higher-dimensional Dirichlet generalized ordered logit (DGOL) model. This approach considers heterogeneity in employment choices. The DGOL model nearly doubles the predictive accuracy of the standard generalized ordered logit model. Our study finds that working full-time in any given period increases the likelihood of continuing full-time work in the next year by 65 percent. The findings also suggest the importance of job continuity: a higher job continuity probability increases full-time employment rates by over 10 percent, offsetting potential drawbacks of lower education and older age. Chapter 2 incorporates a control function approach to study the duration of women's work after childbirth. Maternity leaves allow mothers to return to the labor force after giving birth without having to find a new job at a potentially lower wage rate. Contrary to expectations, recent research, such as Bailey et al. (2019), suggests that California's paid leave program has had limited impact on women's labor market outcomes. Traditional labor market models often suffer from bias due to the endogeneity of wages and unobserved variables. Building on the methodological framework set by Petrin and Train (2005, 2006), this chapter introduces an innovative duration analysis technique. This approach incorporates instrumental variables via control functions to examine job attachment after childbirth using U.S. data from NLSY97. Our empirical findings reveal a that the effect of wages on job attachment and the baseline hazard for leaving the job both increase substantially when we use information about maternity leave as an instrument for missing employment conditions. In Chapter 3, we examine the effect of disability in the family on financial satisfaction of the female head or spouse using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. This empirical work is based on the theoretical work on the capability approach developed primarily by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, which emphasizes the presence of capabilities as opposed to actual outcomes. Following the empirical work of Kuklys (2005), we estimate a probit of financial satisfaction on log income, disability variables, and variables representing other capabilities. We find that the loss in financial satisfaction due to disability in the United States is substantially greater than the corresponding loss in Britain. Point estimates suggest that conversion factors for disability reduce effective income by as much as 60 percent for male heads and 70 percent for female heads. These figures are over and above the direct income loss due to reduced labor market opportunity.


Open Access

Included in

Economics Commons