THREE ESSAYS ON LABOUR AND HEALTH OUTCOMES OF VULNERABLE POPULATIONS IN CANADA
This dissertation contains three essays examining the labour market and health outcomes of vulnerable populations in Canada. The first essay examines the relationship between information-processing skills, educational attainment, and labour market outcomes among Indigenous peoples in Canada, and uses the 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Relative to the non-Indigenous sample, this study finds negative earning differentials, lower information-processing skills, higher unemployment, lower employment and labour market participation among Indigenous peoples. The results show a positive relationship between skills and earnings and there is no evidence of economic discrimination based on the returns to skills which are very similar for both groups. The results also imply the need to consider barriers to education faced by Indigenous peoples. The second essay measures and examines the gender gaps in the health status among Indigenous adults living off-reserve in 2001, 2006 and 2012 with three corresponded Aboriginal People Surveys (APS). It shows that the self-rated general health gap between Indigenous males and females widened from 1.6 to 5.2 percentage point between 2001 and 2012. Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition shows that differences in the observable characteristics between males and females explain more than half of the gender difference in good general health. Specifically, the results indicated that improving socioeconomic status and participation in traditional activities of females to the level of males will effectively reduce the gender health gap among Indigenous peoples in Canada. The third essay investigates the causal detrimental effect of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy on infant birth weight and fraction of male births in Canada. With seven million birth record from 1990-2016 Canadian Vital Statistics Birth Record, and large variation in daylight hours within geographic locations over time, as well as across locations, this study also enables estimations of a large amount variation in Ramadan fasting hours. The results show that babies of Muslim mothers have lower average birth weight and are more likely to be below the low birth threshold. Moreover, once the extreme fasting hours are removed, modest reductions are found in birth weight associated with Ramadan falling on the ninth, seventh or fifth month of pregnancy.