Date of Award

August 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Scott J. Adams

Second Advisor

Scott Drewianka

Committee Members

Scott J. Adams, Scott Drewianka, John Heywood, Suyong Song, Sunwoong Kim


There are three chapters in this dissertation, each of which consists of a journal-length article. They are on the following subjects.

The first chapter uses ordinances in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. to measure the effects of mandated paid sick leave on employment and wages. Using the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, an employment increase is observed in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. relative to places without an ordinance. This evidence suggests that sick leave mandates correct a market failure of under-provision of benefits.

The second chapter uses a novel measure of distance based on the O*Net Content Model to show that information revealed by the spouses' occupations predicts divorce. Spouses that are closer in terms of their occupations' requisite knowledge are more likely to divorce, supporting the hypothesis that gains from specialization in a household renders a marriage more durable. Dissimilar spouses in terms of their occupations' activities are more likely to divorce, suggesting that each spouse brings an inclination toward certain activities to the marriage that reflects compatible preferences for joint consumption of household public goods.

The third chapter measures intertemporal earnings correlation across occupations in the U.S. using the Current Population Survey, 1971-2012. Then predictors of occupational earnings correlation are identified from among measures of occupational dissimilarity based on the O*Net database. Its findings consist of several surprisingly positive and U-shaped relationships between distance measures and measures of earnings correlation, as well as distance measures with negative estimated effects on earnings correlation.