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My Research

For a link to my Research Statement click here.

For a link to my YouTube channel where I present some of my research click here

Pink Sugar

Working papers

Gender neutral household bargaining in the absence of divorce laws

Abstract: Using the collective model of household bargaining, I find that analysing couples from the perspective of high-wage partner relative to low-wage partner ensures key bargaining factors are statistically significant, unlike  the traditional husband/wife dichotomy. This new premise accounts for the significant advances in gender and sexuality equality over the past 20 years. I study how partners' differences in kinship attitudes, such as responses to the statement 'Marriage is an outdated institution', in a country of homogeneous and progressive divorce laws, affect household bargaining. I find that divergent social attitudes can act as a substitute for laws. I find that specialization in the household between paid and unpaid work is driven by partners' differences in bargaining power, rather than the result of gender-specific preferences regarding time allocation. Keywords: household bargaining, social norms, labour supply, housework JEL: D13, J22, Z13.

For link to this paper in DropBox click here.

To see me presenting this paper on YouTube click here

Inequality resulting from mismatch between mothers' actual and desired labour supply

Abstract: I provide evidence that earnings inequality amongst females, driven by the heterogeneous impact of motherhood on females’ labour supply, is more pronounced than inequality amongst males and females. To do so, I study first-time parents and parents aged 22-60, and examine differences between an individual’s ``desired” hours worked and their position in the distribution of actual hours worked. This documents both under- and over-employment to be more pervasive than found by previous work.  My results suggest that there is a lagged state dependence in the mismatch between actual and desired hours that results from motherhood. Using inequality indices, I demonstrate how earnings inequality amongst females would decline if mothers were able to close the gap between actual and desired hours. Keywords: labour supply, motherhood penalty, differences-in-differences, overemployment, underemployment JEL: J13, J16, J22, J4, D63

For a link to this paper in DropBox click here.

To see me presenting this paper on YouTube click here

Gender, biology, and time use

Abstract: Considering progressive gender attitudes prioritise the needs of females, and traditional gender attitudes prioritise the needs of males, it is puzzling that I find male and female gender attitudes hardly differ according to the 2017-2022 World Values Survey. I utilise an index from biological anthropology, Gendered Fitness Interest (GFI), that calculates the sex-bias of how individuals' genes will be passed on. Individuals may adopt behaviour consistent with gendered attitudes that do not prioritise their own needs, but prioritise the needs of their descendants. If a female (male) has many female descendants of reproductive age they take actions reflective with internalising a more progressive gender attitude and in turn devote more (less) time to labour market work. If a female (male) has many male descendants of reproductive age they take actions reflective with internalising a more traditional gender attitude and perform more (less) non-paid work.   I demonstrate how ignoring that gender attitudes influence `stopping-rule' behaviour can provide biased estimates of the effect of descendant kin on gendered socio-economic outcomes. Keywords: time use, biological anthropology, social norms, labour supply, housework, fertility JEL: J16 ,J13, J22, Z13.

For link to this paper in DropBox click here.

To see me presenting this paper on YouTube click here

Current Research Projects

The effect of a National Disability Insurance Scheme on household inequality

Working Abstract: The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was introduced in Australia in 2013. In 2022-23, the NDIS cost the Australian government AUD $35.8 billion. Using the Person-Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA), a federal linked administration dataset, I intend to assess the NDIS on household equivalised income though two identification strategies a) a staggered differences-in-differences model between the years 2006-2022 and b) regression discontinuity design, where Australians are eligible for the NDIS from 7-65 years of age (keeping in mind that schooling usually begins at 5 years old in Australia and the mandated retirement age is 67 years old). I intend to asses 'relative poverty’ ("How did the NDIS affect the number of households that earned less than 60\% of median equivalised household income?”) as well as `poverty gaps’ ("Comparing post- and pre- NDIS participation, how much would household earnings of those with a disability have to increase so that they earn median equivalised household income?”).

Intersectional inequality: bio-cultural factors and earnings

Working Abstract: My thesis discovered that there was more within-inequality than between-inequality with respect to mothers and fathers. Over 80\% of Australian females over the age of 15 are mothers. I seek to answer the following questions: `"Why do some mothers have lifetime earnings no different to fathers, whilst some mothers face a severe, lifelong labour market penalty due to being mothers? How does gender interact with other aspects of a person’s identity- such as their education level, ethnicity, disability status, religion, location, body mass index and family composition- to help explain the heterogeneity in mothers’ earnings?” I intend to use the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey for this analysis. 

Earnings and "Selfish Genes”

Working Abstract: Selfish genes are a concept developed by biologists and zoologists who argue that life is best understood from the genetic perspective as opposed to the organismal perspective. Given the adverse health effects of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, it can initially seem puzzling why natural selection continues to cause these conditions to occur in 2-4% of the population; however genes can spread in a population regardless of their effect on organismal fitness as long as they have a transmission advantage. PLIDA includes tax returns, medical receipts, demographic information, as well as a module specifically intended to model family relationships in administration data. I propose to answer the questions: “Do people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder face a labour market penalty?” and “Do the first-degree relatives of those diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder earn a labour market premium?” If the answer to these two questions is “yes”, this supports the biological concept of selfish genes using economic analysis.

Does exercise increase earnings? Evidence from bio-markers as instruments

Working Abstract: For this project, I intend to utilise the Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study (IHMHS). Obesity is a health crisis, leading to severe health problems, including a decrease in mortality, as well as economic entrenched disadvantage. Crucially, the IHMHS records 60,000 participants’ blood pressure, pulse as well as their cholesterol levels. High blood pressure, high pulse and high cholesterol are both associated with a sedentary lifestyle, whilst exercise has been proven to reduce blood pressure, lowere pulse rate and reduce cholesterol. I intend to predict how weekly hours of exercise increases earnings, with weekly hours of exercise instrumented by blood pressure levels, pulse rates and cholesterol levels. I will assess if there are different economic returns to exercise for males and females.

Single Parenting Payment and parents' well-being

Working Abstract: In Australia, when the youngest children of unemployed parents turn 14, their welfare payments decrease by 17.28%, which places their eqivalised household income below the poverty line. Using survey data, I test how this significant drop in welfare payment affects parents' wellbeing, using the Kessler Psychological Distress scale. Using administration data, I test how this significant drop in welfare payment affects parents' use of subsidised mental health services, as well as subsidised medication for psychological conditions. My key estimation strategies are differences-in-differences models and regression discontinuity designs. 

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