Essays on minimum wage and immigration policy

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This dissertation has three chapters. The first chapter provides causal evidence on the effect of implementing or increasing a wage floor (an occupation-specific minimum wage) on the wage difference between outsourced, insourced, and informal workers, the employment of outsourced and insourced workers, and the size of the informal labor market. To do so, I use matched employer-employee data from Brazil, focusing on the labor market for cleaning workers. Brazil has regional occupation-specific wage floors that increased in response to yearly federal minimum wage increases starting in 2000. I use this institutional context to implement a simulated instrument that predicts the regional wage floors based only on the federal minimum wage increase and the wage floor in 1999. Estimation results show that a wage floor increase decreases the outsourced wage penalty, which makes outsourced workers relatively more expensive than insourced workers, thus reducing outsourcing employment. Finally, I find no significant effect on informal worker employment and a reduction in the informal wage penalty. The second chapter characterizes the contribution of immigrants to US innovation. Leveraging new data, we use the age of SSN assignment to identify immigrant status. Immigrants represent 16 percent of inventors but authored 23 percent of patents. Immigrant inventors contribute to knowledge diffusion across borders. They disproportionately rely on foreign technologies and inventor collaborations, and are cited more abroad. Using variation from premature inventor deaths, we find immigrant inventors create stronger innovation productivity spillovers on their collaborators than US-born inventors. A simple model implies immigrants are responsible for 36 percent of aggregate innovation, two-thirds due to innovation externalities on US-born collaborators. Finally, the third chapter estimates if the large influx of immigrants to Brazil between 1870 and 1920 contributed to the decline in women's participation in manufacturing employment during the same period. To do so, I assemble a novel country-wide data set that covers employment by gender and industry for the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century in Brazil. I used a shift-share instrument similar to Card (2001) to estimate the causal effect. It predicts the influx of immigrants by assuming that immigrants of a specific nationality are more likely to settle in states with a large population from their home country. My results indicate that, counter-intuitively, the increase in immigration actually slowed down the decline in women's labor force participation in manufacturing.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2023; ©2023
Publication date 2023; 2023
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Ract Pousada, Ana Beatriz
Degree supervisor Bloom, Nick, 1973-
Degree supervisor Hoxby, Caroline Minter
Thesis advisor Bloom, Nick, 1973-
Thesis advisor Hoxby, Caroline Minter
Thesis advisor Abramitzky, Ran
Thesis advisor Choi, Jungho
Thesis advisor Sorkin, Isaac
Degree committee member Abramitzky, Ran
Degree committee member Choi, Jungho
Degree committee member Sorkin, Isaac
Associated with Stanford University, School of Humanities and Sciences
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Economics


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Beatriz Pousada.
Note Submitted to the Department of Economics.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.

Access conditions

© 2023 by Ana Beatriz Ract Pousada
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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