Essays in labor economics
Author(s)Williams, Tyler (Tyler Kenneth)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics.
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I addressed three questions in Labor Economics, using experimental and quasi-experimental variation to determine causality. In the first chapter, I ask whether playing longer in the NFL increases mortality in retirement. I compared players with very short careers with those with long careers. I also examined mortality for replacement players used briefly during the 1987 players' strike. I find that mortality is 15 percent higher for players with longer careers. This difference is even larger for positions with a high risk of injury. In the second chapter, we use a randomized experiment to evaluate the effects of academic achievement awards for first- and second-year college students studying at a Canadian commuter college. The award scheme offered linear cash incentives for course grades above 70. Awards were paid every term. Program participants also had access to peer advising by upperclassmen. Program engagement appears to have been high but overall treatment effects were small. The intervention increased the number of courses graded above 70 and points earned above 70 for second-year students, but generated no significant effect on overall GPA. Results are somewhat stronger for a subsample that correctly reproduced the program rules. In the third chapter, we examine two questions: (1) What is the value of receiving the first draft pick in the National Basketball Association?, and (2) Do teams lose intentionally to secure higher draft positions? We answer the first question by adjusting for the probability of winning the lottery using a propensity score methodology. The estimates indicate that winning the draft lottery increases attendance by 6 percentage points during the five-year period following the draft. Receiving the first pick is also associated with a small increase in win percentage. To answer the second question, we use a fixed-effects methodology that compares games in which a team can potentially change its lottery odds to games at the end of the season in which these odds are fixed. Since 1968, playoff-eliminated teams have seen around a 5 percentage point increase in win percentage once their lottery odds are fixed. This difference has ballooned above 10 percentage points in more recent years.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Economics, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology