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Essays on labor markets and economic growth

Jo, Kangchul (2020) Essays on labor markets and economic growth. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis consists of three chapters on labor markets and economic growth. Chapter 1 examines the role of offshoring in the flattening out of the female to male hours ratio in the US since the early 1990s. The leveling off of the gender hours ratio coincides with the rise in service offshoring and the fall in the share of occupations with high offshoring potential in female hours worked. We propose a model with two genders, two sectors, and a continuum of tasks. Due to higher female intensity in the service sector, the gender hours ratio falls when offshoring of service rises. Quantitatively, the increase of service offshoring plays an important role in explaining the plateau of the gender hours ratio after the 1990s. Chapter 2 studies firm dynamics in Korea before and after the 1997-98 Asian crisis and pro-competitive reforms that reduced the dominance of chaebols. We find that in industries that were dominated by chaebols before the crisis, labor productivity and TFP of non-chaebol firms increased markedly after the reforms (relative to other industries). Furthermore, entry of non-chaebol firms increased significantly in all industries after the reform. Finally, after the crisis, the non-chaebol firms also significantly increased their patenting activity (relative to chaebol firms). These results are in line with a neo-Schumpeterian view of transition from a growth model based on investment in existing technologies to an innovation-based model. Chapter 3 investigates the factors behind long hours worked in Korea. Koreans work longer hours than Americans although they face higher labor tax rates and lower family care related subsidies. We propose a two-period OLG model incorporating education costs and pension benefits to explain this observation. In Korea, education costs are high due to prevalence of private after-school lessons and limited student loans for college education, restricting households’ budgets and driving the prime-aged to work longer. The old receive lower pension benefits, staying longer in the labor market. The calibrated model is successful in generating longer hours worked of the prime-aged and the old in Korea.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Kangchul Jo
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Ngai, Rachel

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