Opioids and the Labor Market
This paper studies the relationship between local opioid prescription rates and labor market outcomes for prime-age men and women between 2006 and 2016. We estimate the relationship at the most disaggregated level feasible in the American Community Survey in order to provide estimates that include rural areas that have, in some cases, seen particularly high prescription rates. Given the limited time period, it is particularly important to account for geographic variation in both short-term and long-term economic conditions. We estimate three panel models to control for evolving local economic ...
A distinction between causal effects in structural and rubin causal models
Structural Causal Models define causal effects in terms of a single Data Generating Process (DGP), and the Rubin Causal Model defines causal effects in terms of a model that can represent counterfactuals from many DGPs. Under these different definitions, notationally similar causal effects make distinct claims about the results of interventions to the system under investigation: Structural equations imply conditional independencies in the data that potential outcomes do not. One implication is that the DAG of a Rubin Causal Model is different from the DAG of a Structural Causal Model. Another ...
What Determines the Success of Housing Mobility Programs?
This paper studies how design features influence the success of Housing Mobility Programs (HMPs) in reducing racial segregation. Targeting neighborhoods based on previous residents' outcomes does not allow for targeting race-specific outcomes, generates uncertainty when targeting income-specific outcomes, and generates bias in ranking neighborhoods' effects. Moreover, targeting opportunity bargains based on previous residents' outcomes selects tracts with large disagreements in current and previous residents' outcomes, with such disagreements predicted by sorting since 1990. HMP success is ...
The growing difference in college attainment between women and men
Workers with more education typically earn more than those with less education, and the difference has been growing in recent decades. Not surprisingly, the percentage of the population going after and getting a college degree has been rising as well. Since the late 1970s, though, the increase in college attainment has stalled for men and gathered steam for women. Among college-age individuals, more women now graduate than men. Changes in labor market incentives appear to explain the increased investment in education made by women. But men?s investments in education have been much less ...
When should children start school?
Kindergarten-entrance-age effects are difficult to identify due to the nonrandom allocation of entrance-age and simultaneous relative-age effects. This paper presents evidence that instrumental variable frameworks do not identify age effects for the youngest children of a cohort using the results of statistical tests for essential heterogeneity in initial enrollment decisions. Restricting attention to the oldest children in a cohort yields a sample with quasirandom variation in entrance and relative ages. This variation is used to identify the parameters of education production functions in ...
Neighborhood Poverty and Quality in the Moving to Opportunity Experiment
Researchers suspect that some of the disparities that exist in such outcomes as health, employment, and education might be attributable to inequality of opportunity as determined by neighborhood environments. We study census data to identify neighborhood characteristics in addition to poverty that might help to explain these disparities. We focus on the Moving to Opportunity housing-relocation experiment and show that because program participants typically moved from one predominately black neighborhood to another, their new low-poverty neighborhoods may have provided little to no change in ...
Assessing the evidence on neighborhood effects from moving to opportunity
Trying to learn about neighborhood effects from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing mobility experiment by focusing on its program effects obfuscates the evidence on neighborhood effects from MTO. This paper shows that using Intent-to-Treat (ITT) and Treatment-on-the-Treated (TOT) program effects from MTO to indirectly draw conclusions about neighborhood effects (1) offers no advantage for learning about neighborhood effects over directly estimating neighborhood effects, and (2) answers an ill-posed question as a result of allowing central identifying assumptions to be made implicitly. ...
What Explains Neighborhood Sorting by Income and Race?
Why do high-income black households live in neighborhoods with characteristics similar to those of low-income white households? We find that neighborhood sorting by income and race cannot be explained by financial constraints: High-income, high-wealth black households live in similar-quality neighborhoods as low-income, low-wealth white households. We provide evidence that black households sort across neighborhoods according to some non-pecuniary factor(s) correlated with the racial composition of neighborhoods. Black households sorting into black neighborhoods can explain the racial gap in ...
The Opioid Epidemic and the Labor Market
Drug overdoses now account for more deaths in the United States than traffic deaths or suicides, and most of the increase in overdose deaths since 2010 can be attributed to opioids--a class of drugs that includes both prescription pain relievers and illegal narcotics. We look at trends in drug use and overdose deaths to document how the opioid epidemic has evolved over time and to determine whether it could be large enough to impact the labor force.
The Dynamics of the Racial Wealth Gap
What drives the dynamics of the racial wealth gap? We answer this question using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium heterogeneous-agents model. Our calibrated model endogenously produces a racial wealth gap matching that observed in recent decades along with key features of the current cross-sectional distribution of wealth, earnings, intergenerational transfers, and race. Our model predicts that equalizing earnings is by far the most important mechanism for permanently closing the racial wealth gap. One-time wealth transfers have only transitory effects unless they address the racial ...