Date of Award

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Scott D. Dreiwanka

Committee Members

Scott J. Adams, John s. Heywood, Owen Thompson


Health Behavior, Job Search, Labor Market, Substance Use, Supervisor, Worker


This dissertation investigates the link between different aspects of labor market and individuals’ health. The first chapter analyzes the relationship between the use of four different substances and nonstandard work schedules. Using the NLSY97 and applying standard panel techniques as well as survival analyses, I find that contrary to most previous evidence, nonstandard work schedule is not necessarily associated with an increase in substance use, and in the case of drinking and binge drinking such correlation is actually negative. Evidence also suggests that drug prone individuals tend to work more at nonstandard schedules. Results are robust to the specification at the intensive margin and accounting for long-term exposure to work at nonstandard schedules. The second chapter investigates the effect of alcohol use on job search behavior of young individuals. Using the age of respondents from the NLSY97 both in the year and month formats and applying regression discontinuity design by utilizing the surge in alcohol consumption at age 21, I find that young adults tend to increase their drinking and binge drinking once they are allowed to legally access alcohol. However, I find that the surge in alcohol use at age 21 does not seem to immediately or directly affect the job search behavior of young individuals while they are employed or unemployed. I also find that it does not seem to affect their lack of desire for work. The third chapter investigates the effects of workers’ age, gender, and race relative to those of their supervisors on several measures of the employees’ mental wellbeing. Evidence suggests that men show positive mental health signs when they have supervisors of same gender and race. They also seem to like supervisors who are almost the same age. On the contrary, women’s mental health seems to be negatively affected when they have female supervisors. When the gender match effect is combined with race, it is magnified. Women also report negative mental health signs when all these demographic characteristic matches are happening at the same time. Additional tests suggest that reverse causality does not seem to be a major issue here.