Three Essays in Applied Microeconomics Topics: Crime, Intra-Household Bargaining and Marital Dissolution

Roy, Susmita, Department of Economics, University of Virginia
Friedberg, Leora, Department of Economics, University of Virginia
McLaren, John, Department of Economics, University of Virginia
Gayle, Wayne-Roy, Department of Economics, University of Virginia
Wilcox, Brad, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia

This dissertation consists of three topics related to applied microeconomics. The first chapter addresses the following questions. Do violent crimes increase following natural disasters? Does an upcoming election or the presence of a strong local media, which potentially increases the incentive of the government to provide disaster relief, mitigate the effect of disasters on crime rates? I find that crime rates tend to increase following moderate to big disasters. Furthermore, a higher pre-disaster size and growth of newspapers has a mitigating effect on the crime response to disasters. Elections have a tempering effect on the crime response to low to moderate level disasters and this mitigating effect is lower in the years close to an election. The second chapter investigates whether land and crop shocks in rural Tanzania have identical effects on the allocation of leisure time and private expenses of the husband and the wife. I find that the wife's relative leisure time is increasing in the share of female land within the household. Male and female crops also influence household allocation to some extent. Overall, the results imply a partial acceptance of the collective model. The third chapter investigates whether shifts in the unemployment rate affect the divorce probability of married and cohabiting couples. Compared to the match quality shocks utilized in the existing literature, unemployment rate movements are plausibly exogenous and affect individuals through both actual as well as potential loss of a job. I find that a rise in the unemployment rate in the wife's sector increases the odds of a divorce among cohabiting couples but not married couples. Moreover, for married couples the husband's leisure time is increasing in the wife's sectoral unemployment rate; however, the same is not true for cohabiting couples.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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