Three Essays in Labor Economics
Room 3301 (Lift 17/18), Academic Building, HKUST


This dissertation consists of three empirical studies in labor economics in China, focusing on human capital and the marriage market. The first essay studies how investment in human capital responds to land reform (agricultural decollectivization) in China. I find that the impact of land reform depends on children’s age at reform initiation. I attribute these effects to changes in the demand side of education and show suggestive evidence on three demand-side channels: household income, returns to education, and the opportunity cost of schooling. The second essay investigates the influence of social norms in shaping the impact of early life exposure to China’s Great Famine on gender inequality. Using cohort and regional variation in exposure to the famine with regional variation in the culture of son preference, I find that son preference buffers the negative impact of intrauterine famine shocks on male survival rates but reduces gender inequality in health and education. The third essay examines how globalization influences women’s marital and fertility decisions using China’s accession to WTO as a natural experiment. I find that import tariff reduction improves female economic status relative to males. And it reduces women’s marriage rate, delays their first marriage, and reduces their fertility.

Room 3301 (Lift 17/18), Academic Building, HKUST
Speakers / Performers:
Ms Wei LUO