Education, labor, and health disparities of racial and sexual minorities




Delhommer, Scott Michael

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The three chapters of this dissertation explore the applied economics of inequality in educational attainment, labor market outcomes, and sexual health for racial and sexual minorities. In the first chapter, I explore the role of same-race teachers reducing gaps in minority education, presenting the first evidence that matching high school students with same-race teachers improves the students’ college outcomes. To address endogenous sorting of students and teachers, I use detailed Texas administrative data on classroom assignment, exploiting variation in student and teacher race within the same course, year, and school, eliminating 99% of observed same-race sorting. Race-matching raises minority students’ course performance as well as improves longer-term outcomes like high school graduation, college enrollment, and major choice. My second chapter examines how public policy can reduce labor market inequality across sexual orientation. I present the first quasi-experimental research examining the effect of both local and state anti-discrimination laws on sexual orientation on the labor supply and wages of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers. To do so, I use American Community Survey data on household composition to infer sexual orientation and combine this with a unique panel dataset on local anti-discrimination laws. Using variation in law implementation across localities over time, I find these laws significantly reduce inequalities in the labor supply and wages across sexual orientation for both men and women. The last chapter explores the moral hazard and health inequality implications of a life-saving HIV prevention drug, PrEP, for gay men. We document the first evidence of PrEP on aggregate STD and HIV infections. Using the pre-treatment variation in the gay male population, we show that male STD rates were parallel in states with high and low gay population before the introduction of PrEP and begin to diverge afterwards. However, HIV infections were consistently downwardly trending before PrEP with no break at the introduction of PrEP, making inference of the effect of PrEP on HIV infections difficult. Specifically, we show that one additional male PrEP user increases male chlamydia infections by 0.55 cases, male gonorrhea infections by 0.61 cases, and male syphilis infections by 0.03 cases.



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