Essays in Labor and Development Economics

Lan, Xiaohuan, Department of Economics, University of Virginia
Turner, Sara, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

About 750f U.S.-trained, non-citizen PhDs in science and engineering work in the U.S. after graduation, and 540f those who stay take postdoctoral positions. The probability of postdoctoral participation is substantially higher for temporary visa holders than for permanent visa holders because of visa-related restrictions in the U.S. labor market. To identify the causal e�ects of visa status on entry into a postdoctoral position, the �rst chapter uses a unique shock to visa status generated by the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992. I use eligibility for the act as an instrumental variable for visa status. 2SLS estimates show that permanent visa holders are 24 0.000000e+00ss likely to take postdoctoral positions than temporary visa holders. This sudden removal of visa restrictions reduces labor supply in the postdoctoral sector and increases supply in the non-postdoctoral sector, which may a�ect relative wages across sectors. Using data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients in the 1990s, the second chapter shows that a one percentage point decrease in the percentage of temporary immigrants among new PhDs increases the relative wage of native postdocs to non-postdocs by between 0.9% and 2%. This e�ect operates through increasing wage level of native postdocs. I also �nd that natives do not change their postdoctoral participation in response to this supply shock. The third chapter examines how di�erences in school resources impact student performance. Using unique administrative data collected in one Chinese city, I estimate the e�ect of attending a magnet high school on academic performances. To separate the e�ect of school resources from abilities of students, I exploit the regression discontinuity generated by thresholds for entering a magnet school in China's High School Entrance Exam. These thresholds create a signi�cant di�erence in the cost of attending a magnet school, which in turn generates a discontinuity in the II probability of attending such schools. I �nd that attending a magnet school does not a�ect students' academic performances in any subject, in both the low-stake annual City Exam and the high-stake National College Entrance Exam.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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