Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





David Jaeger

Committee Members

Michael Grossman

Wim Vijverberg

Subject Categories

Economics | Labor Economics


Demography, Labor Economics, Social networks, scope of practice


In the first chapter, I evaluate the wage impacts from exogenous and endogenous peer effects within different metropolitan areas. I construct comparison groups for workers within the same industry and Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA) residence based on support from existing literature on social networks, and estimate peer and network effects in a spatial auto-regressive model with a network structure that in- corporates group fixed effects. Inclusion of these effects reveals that both observed and unobserved factors within each network have significant effects on individual outcomes. This is the first attempt to estimate the social effects on wages using the spatial econometric approach proposed by Lee (Journal of Econometrics 2007; 140(2), 333-374). The industry-PUMA combination is a statistical association that merges geographic and social space for a new perspective in the realm of spatial effects. The model includes spatial autoregressive processes in the dependent variable. I find limited evidence of spillover (endogenous) effects, which vary significantly across the cities in the analysis.

In the second chapter, I consider the dental workplace as an illustrative example of the conflict between occupational licensing and overlapping services. Registered dental hygienists perform a subset of the dentist’s duties. State licensing bodies have varied approaches on regulating this, including the services that dental hygienists are allowed to provide and the extent to which they must be supervised by dentists. Kleiner (2013) reviews such cases where licensing requirements evolve over time and the resulting conflicts between practitioners. I use wage data for dentists and dental hygienists along with information on state law licensing changes to evaluate the change iv in wages for dental hygienists following changes in state law that expanded the direct access hygienists have to patients. I find small increases in the mean wages for hygienists.