Determinants of Health and Labor Market Outcomes : Three Essays in Applied Microeconomics
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- Department of Economics 
This thesis consist of four chapters: One introductory chapter and three chapters that each includes the three papers that are the main part of this thesis. The introductory chapter provides an overview of the determinants health and labor market outcomes, both in a theoretical framework and an overview of the relevant empirical literature. The chapter also provides a discussion on the concept of causality, and the empirical methods used in the three papers, before it concludes with a discussion on the contribution of the thesis with an emphasis on the internal and external validity of the three studies. The first paper studies the effects of experiencing that a child has a negative health shock on parents' health and labor market outcomes. This paper shows that parents experiencing that their child has a severe health shock between age 5 and 18, have significant and persistent reductions in labor income and employment, and increased use of social security benefits. The underlying health problems are psychological disorders. Heterogeneity analysis by age of the child and type of health shock reveals larger effects of health shocks related to injury, poisoning and other consequences of external causes, such as traumatic head injury, when the children are between age 5 and 12. The results are found using high-quality Norwegian register data and an event study approach. The second paper examines the impact of increased access to universal childcare on adult health. The results show that affected women increase their use of pregnancy-related healthcare services and sickness absence. However, there is no increase in fertility and no effects on the second generation's birth outcomes, indicating that the women’s health is unchanged, but that they have increased their demand for healthcare services. Second, there is a reduction in the use of mental healthcare services, and services related to injuries and social problems, pointing toward improved mental health. Finally, children of employed mothers are driving the effects. The third paper studies the relationship between short-term air pollution increases and indicators of health and worker productivity. Estimating two-way fixed effects models using geographical and time variation in exposure to particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), we find that the number of GP consultations, certified sickness absences, and hospital visits increases in periods with high(er) pollution levels. There is substantial heterogeneity in this relationship. We find some support for previous results showing that pollution affects vulnerable groups like children and elderly negatively. Importantly, however, the largest effects are on school-age children and the working-age population.