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University of Michigan

1. Koh, Sae Ran. Essays in Applied Microeconomics.

Degree: PhD, Economics, 2018, University of Michigan

This dissertation evaluates two public policies using methodologies from applied microeconomics. The first chapter examines an immigration policy in the U.S and its impacts on local labor markets and by industry. The second chapter investigates how an expansionary maternity leave reform in Germany affected firm behaviors in terms of their employee structure, job flows, and survival. Despite their topics of importance, this dissertation is among the first to discover policy implications in the outcomes examined. Chapter 1 begins by presenting an empirical study of labor market impacts of Secure Communities, a local immigration enforcement policy introduced in 2008 that is known to affect a wide range of immigrants. Exploiting its traits as a staggered roll-out program by county until 2013 when it became active in all U.S. counties, this study examines factors to policy adoption, and the economic impacts on local labor markets by using panel fixed effects regressions and event study analyses. It identifies the effects by pairing state border counties that are contiguous to each other and using their within-pair variations in activation. The study did not find discernible effects of the program on the labor market variables such as population, labor force, or earnings variables. Although the panel fixed regression show negative effects on per capita earnings or income variables, the event study analyses reveal that they may be stemming from trends that existed prior to the program implementation. In addition, there was no evidence of effects at the industry level, particularly in the immigrant-intensive industries, in counties that adopted the program. The findings show that neither positive nor negative impacts of the program on the local labor markets were present. Chapter 2 examines the effects of a maternity leave expansion in Germany that extended the job protection period of working mothers from 2 weeks to 6 months in 1979. The analyses use Establishment History Panel (BHP) from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Germany for years 1975-1985 and explore differential effects of the reform by firm size in a difference-in-difference framework. While the results confirm previous empirical findings of higher female employment after an expansionary reform, this paper further pursues the possible reasons behind the phenomenon by looking at full-time and part-time female employment and female job flows. The results suggest that higher employment in female employees are driven by the increase in part-time female employment, and that this is more strongly observed in small firms. Additional findings suggest that small firms adjust to the reform by employing more female rehires who have previously worked in the firm, and are more likely to shut down following the reform relative to big-size firms. In addition, heterogeneity by location show that there were more pronounced reform effects in rural areas where labor markets are thin. Advisors/Committee Members: Yang, Dean C (committee member), Kossoudji, Sherrie A (committee member), Bound, John (committee member), Brown, Charles C (committee member).

Subjects/Keywords: immigration; immigration policy; maternity leave reform; Economics; Business and Economics

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APA (6th Edition):

Koh, S. R. (2018). Essays in Applied Microeconomics. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Michigan. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Koh, Sae Ran. “Essays in Applied Microeconomics.” 2018. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan. Accessed February 17, 2020.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Koh, Sae Ran. “Essays in Applied Microeconomics.” 2018. Web. 17 Feb 2020.


Koh SR. Essays in Applied Microeconomics. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2018. [cited 2020 Feb 17]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Koh SR. Essays in Applied Microeconomics. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2018. Available from: