Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In this dissertation, I offer three independent studies. The first examines the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on entrepreneurial activities over the period 1996-2008. We find that FDI has no discernible effect on entrepreneurial activity in probusiness states identified by the existence of Right-to-Work (RTW) states. In non-RTW states, however, we find that an increase in FDI decreases the average monthly rate of business creation and destruction. The second study assesses the impact of breastfeeding on early childhood outcomes. Using Birth Cohort of Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey (ECLS-b) data and employing a recently developed econometric technique, I estimate the upper and lower bounds of the effect of breastfeeding on early childhood health and cognitive ability. I find that even a small fraction of selection on unobservables explains the full effect of breastfeeding on early childhood outcomes. The third study evaluates the effect of Ban-the-Box (BTB) policy on recidivism. BTB policies restrict employers from conducting background checks on employment applications and delay them until interviews are completed. I examine if BTB policies prevent ex-offenders from returning to prison. Using the National Correctional Reporting Program 2000-2014 dataset in a differences-in-differences framework, I find that BTB policies reduce one-year rates of recidivism. I also observe a large reduction in recidivism for black males in BTB counties but do not detect any evidence for females. Finally, I find that employment opportunities in industries which employ more ex-offenders are complements with BTB policies.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Eren, Ozkan



Included in

Economics Commons