Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

First Advisor

BARRY HIRSCH

Second Advisor

JAMES MARTON

Third Advisor

RACHANA BHATT

Fourth Advisor

MELINDA PITTS

Abstract

Essays in this dissertation address three research questions. (1) What types of persons hold dual jobs and what are their motives for doing so? In essay 1, I investigate multiple factors that affect the decision to hold more than a single job. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the first essay documents the characteristics of second jobs and multiple job holders in the U.S. I characterize the types of people who hold dual jobs and use additional information from the BLS to find out workers’ motives for holding multiple jobs. I examine how multiple job holding differs with respect to age, education, race and ethnicity, sex, foreign-born status, marital status, public-private worker status, broad industry and occupation. (2) How does dual job holding vary with the business cycle and state of the labor market? Essay 2 explores a large micro data set for 1998-2013 that covers most U.S. urban labor markets. We find clear-cut evidence that multiple job holding across labor markets and over time is weakly cyclical, thus (slightly) exacerbating rather than mitigating the severity of business cycles. Much of the cyclicality in multiple job holding seen across labor markets, however, is not causal, dropping sharply after accounting for MSA fixed effects. Using longitudinal worker data, there is minimal response to unemployment changes within labor markets over time. Our large CPS sample size produces precise estimates, albeit ones close to zero, helping explain conflicting results in prior studies based on far smaller data sets. (3) How might one explain the persistent geographical differences in multiple job holding? Essay 3 documents what are systematic (i.e., long-run) differences in multiple job holding across labor markets (MSAs) and explores possible explanations for these differences. Geographical differences in multiple job holding rates have received little attention, although the multiple job holding rates in some regions of the country are substantially higher than in other regions, and these differences have been persistent over time. Examining correlates of these labor market differences in multiple job holding provides us with a better understanding of the determinants of labor supply and how local labor markets work.

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