These essays explore the modern workplace and how it impacts low-wage workers. The research focuses on the various ways low-wage work interacts with constraints and obligations inside and outside of work, including the effects of wage-setting decisions on productivity and retention among warehouse workers and customer service representatives, reasons underpinning the gender-pay gap among unionized bus and train operators, whether work obligations may be at fault for failure to appear at court dates, and why firms may be loath to offer remote work possibilities despite their effect on worker productivity. My work utilizes a number of different methods, including natural experiments, randomized controlled trials, and surveys. Each paper has leveraged data specific to the firm or organization I study. Together, these essays aim to understand various different forces that are at play when firms are making key personnel decisions—such as how much to pay and the location of work—and when workers are optimizing, given the decisions that firms have made.
Link to dissertation full text