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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Essays in labor and experimental economics with a focus on crime and discrimination

  • Author(s): Young, Timothy
  • Advisor(s): Neumark, David
  • et al.

This dissertation exams how policies designed to alleviate discrimination in labor markets affect relative worker effort, how criminal justice policies affect labor markets, and how the availability of affordability housing affects criminal recidivism. The data used for this dissertation include self-collected data from laboratory experiments, publicly available data from large U.S. government agencies, and restricted access data from U.S. government agencies. The empirical methods consist of experimental randomization and difference-in-differences models. In the first chapter, I show that workers do not change the effort they exert at work when they learn about their coworker’s wages, which is contrary to much of the anecdotal evidence received from managers for why they prefer to not implement pay secrecy bans in the workplace. In the second chapter, I show that decriminalization of marijuana possession is associated with lower wages and decreased employment for young workers, which I argue is driven by decriminalization shifting the composition of the workforce to include more marijuana users. In the third chapter, I show offenders released into areas with better access to affordable housing are less likely to recidivate and return to prison

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