Essays in Labor and Environmental Economics

Doctoral Dissertation


Road space rationing policies keep cars off the street on the basis of the last digit of the license plate number. The first chapter evaluates how different road space rationing policies affected the air quality of cities in a Chinese province from 2017 to 2019. I offer the length of the policy as a novel way to categorize road space rationing. Using a variety of methods including difference-in-differences, event study, and the synthetic control method, I find significant heterogeneity in policy effectiveness. In cities where road space rationing was implemented permanently, the policy reduced air pollution, while in cities where road space rationing was implemented temporarily, I cannot reject that the policy had zero impact.

Do people in China move from more polluted cities to less polluted cities? In the second chapter, I estimate a fixed effects model to study the effect of air pollution in the origin on out-migration and a conditional logit model to study the effect of air pollution on location choice, employing air pollution from distant sources carried by wind as an instrument for local air pollution. I find that, at the household level, a one standard deviation increase in particulate matter concentration increased the probability of having a migrant in the household by 9 percentage points.

In 2004, Zhengzhou Institute of Technology changed its name to Henan University of Technology. The third chapter examines the short-run effect of the name change on graduates’ employment outcomes. I find that the name change did not affect graduates’ probability of being employed, but increased the probability of going to graduate school. I also find substantial heterogeneity in the effect of the name change on employment. For example, employment in cities with a high-ranking similar-sounding college increased more than employment in cities with a low-ranking similar-sounding college, a result consistent with the hypothesis that employers formed beliefs of the quality of the college based on its name.


Attribute NameValues
Author Wenbo Li
Contributor Christopher Cronin, Committee Member
Contributor Abigail Wozniak, Research Director
Contributor Daniel M. Hungerman, Research Director
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Economics
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
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Defense Date
  • 2020-05-11

Submission Date 2020-06-05
  • Economics

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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