Essays in Labor Economics
This dissertation consists of three essays in labor economics. Broadly, they explore the labor market responses of firms and workers to various economic policies. The first chapter uses a lab experiment to study the impacts of salary history inquiry bans on wage bargaining. I find that these laws may not work as well as intended. The second chapter uses text analysis of reviews to explore the impacts of minimum wage changes on restaurant prices, hygiene, staff friendliness, wait times, and portion sizes. I find evidence of a rise in prices and improvements in staff friendliness with higher wages. While there is some weak evidence for deteriorating hygiene standards, there are no detectable impacts on portion sizes or wait times. Overall, these changes are associated with a small but significant drop in restaurant ratings. The third chapter explores the early impacts of the Opportunity Zone program on residents of targeted areas. The Opportunity Zone program, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, was designed to encourage investment in distressed communities across the U.S. We leverage restricted-access microdata from the American Community Survey and employ a matching approach to estimate causal reduced-form effects of the program. Our results point to little or no evidence of positive effects of the Opportunity Zone program on the employment, earnings, or poverty of zone residents.