Title page for ETD etd-11162005-101240

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Coombs, Christopher K
Author's Email Address ccoomb1@lsu.edu
URN etd-11162005-101240
Title Three Essays in Labor and Health Economics
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Economics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert J. Newman Committee Chair
Milton D. Terrell Committee Co-Chair
Douglas D. Schwalm Committee Member
Tibor Besedes Committee Member
Moises Arce Dean's Representative
  • fixed effects
  • conditional logit
  • fixed effects probit
  • health
  • labor
Date of Defense 2005-10-27
Availability unrestricted
This Dissertation is primarily focused on the study of U.S. workforce trends. Research over the past fifty years, with respect to the choices that individuals make in terms of maximizing their own well-being, has covered several areas. Additionally, the legal climate has changed dramatically over this time period and research in this area has covered the possible effects on economic outcomes, including an individual's well-being.

The first essay focuses on the trend in trade union membership in the U.S. over the last few decades. We revisit what is known as the government substitution hypothesis which basically addresses the question of why trade union membership has fallen on average for more than 50 years. After testing for and finding support to use the fixed effects model, we find evidence that supports the government substitution hypothesis.

The second essay observes the choices that registered nurses in Louisiana are making. Specifically, we model the educational and occupational choices of registered nurses in this state and attempt to gain an inference on how their choice toward occupations might change when their choice on education has changed. We find supporting evidence that the likelihood that a registered nurse will be in a staff nurse position decreases when the registered nurse invests in additional units of human capital after controlling for potential experience. We also find that salary positively affects the choices of these registered nurses who have invested in additional units of human capital relative to those registered nurses who have not invested in additional units of human capital.

The third essay analyzes state level data over time to model the supply and demand factors that affect the likelihood that a state will move away from the common law interpretation of the employment-at-will doctrine and recognize any of the three main exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine. Using the fixed effects probit model, we are able to confirm a number of our hypotheses on the supply and demand factors that affect the likelihood of a state recognizing any of the three main exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.

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