UBC Theses and Dissertations
Three essays on family labour supply and health over the life cycle Turner, Laura
The three essays in this thesis explore how intrahousehold decision making interacts with evolving health, disability shocks and aging to determine life cycle patterns of labour supply and retirement among Canadian and U.S. households. One of the main roles of marriage and cohabitation is to provide individuals with insurance against idiosyncratic risk such as health and disability shocks. The extent and effects of this insurance depend on how household members interact and delegate tasks--for instance, whether they can specialize and easily transition between home-based or market-based work--and the extent to which household members commit to and cooperate with each other. The first two chapters of the thesis document and provide a structural explanation for the fact that, in general, marriage is associated not only with better health outcomes but also with better economic outcomes conditional on health status. The final chapter suggests that these better outcomes, and the role of public policy in facilitating them, may be contingent on how cooperative household members are with each other when making career and retirement decisions. In general, the results suggest that household-level interactions have important implications for aggregate labour supply and human capital; for the role and appropriate use of public policy; and for the welfare of individuals confronted with uncertainty over the length and productivity of their working life.
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