Date of Award

August 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Scott D. Professor Drewianka

Committee Members

John Professor Heywood, Susan Donohue Professor Davies, Jangsu Professor Yoon


In my dissertation, I have dedicated two chapters to the field of labor economics, specifically exploring the subject of gender-based inequality in the Indian labor market and the differential impact of paid family leave policies based on socio-economic status within the labor market of the United States. The first chapter analyzes the gender-based wage gap in India by utilizing data from the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) for two-time frames (2004-05 and 2011-12) when labor force participation was stagnant. Employing the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition technique, the study reveals a noteworthy decline in the gender-based log wage gap (from 0.64 to 0.48) over a short period, indicating the need for further research to identify the factors contributing to the decrease. The study also employs the Juhn-Murphy-Pierce decomposition technique, revealing that education, industry changes, and occupational choice positively reduce the gender-based pay gap over time. Furthermore, no significant wage gap is discovered between married and unmarried women. The second chapter employs difference-in-difference and difference-in-difference-in-difference techniques to examine the medium-term effects of California's Paid Family Leave (CA-PFL) program on labor outcomes for mothers. The analysis focuses on labor force participation, employment, unemployment duration, and earnings. Robust results from the analysis indicate a noteworthy 3.19% increase in labor force participation within 1-3 years after childbirth, modest improvements in employment probability, and a 3.39-week reduction in unemployment duration. However, despite the positive impact on the overall level, my research provides evidence that the policy has no significant effect on the labor force participation rate of low-income mothers and negatively affects the earnings of lower-income mothers. These findings shed light on the nuanced impacts of paid family leave policies and highlight the importance of considering socio-economic factors when assessing their effectiveness.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 28, 2024

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