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Title: Essays on Economic History, Immigration, and Human Capital
Authors: Hao, Stephanie
Advisors: BoustanKuziemko, LeahIlyana
Contributors: Economics Department
Subjects: Economics
Labor economics
Economic history
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation consists of three chapters on topics in labor economics and economic history. Chapter 1 documents the shifting relationship between birth order and educational attainment throughout U.S. history. I compile a new dataset of siblings spanning over one hundred years. After controlling for family fixed effects, I find that older siblings in the 19th century were less likely to be in school and completed fewer years of education than their younger siblings. This positive birth-order effect has gradually decreased, switching sign for cohorts born in the 1930s and remaining negative until the modern day. The decline of child labor in the U.S. in the early 1900s may have contributed to this trend and may explain the different birth-order effects observed in high- versus low-income countries today. Chapter 2 explores the effect of high-skilled immigration on U.S. innovation. I compare changes in patenting in county-research field cells with different levels of exposure to the 1992 Chinese Student Protection Act, which exogenously increased the number of high- skilled immigrants in the U.S. Cells with a 1-percentage-point higher exposure to the CSPA experienced a 3 percent increase in patent applications post-1992. Increases in private sector non-academic patenting drive the results. The number of new inventors also increased in more-exposed cells. These findings contribute to the policy debate on the effects of extending immigration opportunities to high-skilled foreign workers in the U.S. today. Chapter 3, co-authored with Ran Abramitzky, Leah Boustan, and Katherine Eriksson, investigates whether the perceived cultural assimilation of immigrants affects their labor market outcomes. We document that, in the early 20th century, children of immigrants who were given more-foreign first names completed fewer years of schooling, earned less, and married less assimilated spouses. However, we find few differences in the adult outcomes of brothers with more and less foreign-sounding first names. This pattern suggests that the negative association between ethnic names and adult outcomes in this era does not stem from discrimination on the basis of first names but instead reflects household differences associated with cultural assimilation. We cannot rule out discrimination on the basis of other ethnic cues.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Economics

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