The Effects of Macroeconomic Shocks: Household Financial Distress Matters
When a macroeconomic shock arrives, variation in household balance-sheet health (captured by the presence of financial distress “FD”), leads to differential access to credit, and hence a distribution of consumption responses. As we document, though, over the past two recessions, households in prior FD also experienced macroeconomic shocks more intensely than others, leading to a distribution of shock severity. Quantifying the importance of each dimension of heterogeneity (FD or shock severity) for consumption requires a structural model. We find that heterogeneity in FD matters more than ...
Consumption in the Great Recession: The Financial Distress Channel
During the Great Recession, the collapse of consumption across the US varied greatly but systematically with house-price declines. Our message is that household financial health matters for understanding this relationship. Two facts are essential for our finding: (1) the decline in house prices led to an increase in household financial distress (FD) prior to the decline in income during the recession, and (2) at the zip-code level, the prevalence of FD prior to the recession was positively correlated with house-price declines at the onset of the recession. We measure the power of the ...
Whom Will Opportunity Zones Help?
Opinion: Whom Will Opportunity Zones Help?
Expanding the Scope of Workforce Development
Workforce development efforts often are geared toward adult workers. But examining workforce development from the perspective of human capital theory suggests that earlier interventions may yield high returns.
Implications of Risks and Rewards in College Decisions
Despite a large and growing earnings premium for college graduates, growth in college enrollment and especially college attainment in the United States has been quite slow. The labor market's apparent lack of responsiveness to the earnings premium may be driven in part by the risks that marginally prepared students face when they go to college. Failing or dropping out could leave them with low wealth, high debt, and low earnings. Recent research indicates that neither further increases in the earnings premium nor reductions in college costs are likely to produce large increases in the college ...
Earned income tax credit recipients: income, marginal tax rates, wealth, and credit constraints
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has evolved into the largest anti-poverty program in the United States by providing tax credits for low and moderate income working families. In this paper, we describe the characteristics of EITC recipients at various ages using Current Population Survey data. In addition, we discuss the relevance of the EITC in affecting marginal income tax rates in the United States and discuss the effects of the EITC on household labor supply decisions. Lastly, using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we estimate wealth distributions for EITC recipients and ...
Unemployment insurance and personal bankruptcy
Are harsh penalties for default really better?
How might society ensure the allocation of credit to those who lack meaningful collateral? Two very different options that have each been pursued by a variety of societies through time and space are (i) relatively harsh penalties for default and, more recently, (ii) loan guarantee programs that allow borrowers to default subject to moderate consequences and use public funds to compensate lenders. The goal of this paper is to provide a quantitative statement about the relative desirability of these responses. Our findings are twofold. First, we show that under a wide array of circumstances, ...
Land of opportunity? Economic mobility in the United States. 2012 annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Economics writer Jessie Romero and group vice president Kartik Athreya interpret data that suggest economic mobility has decreased in recent years. Many factors contribute to mobility, but for most people advancement depends on opportunities to obtain human capital ? opportunities that are not as good for children in poor families. Initiatives that focus on early childhood education seem to yield high returns on investment. Their feasibility on a large scale is unknown, but they may have the potential to help the United States achieve a more inclusive prosperity.
Opinion: Investing in Women's Careers
In the early 2000s, only about 5 percent of all NBA players were from Europe. As of 2017, that number had risen to almost 14 percent. During this same period, the league's revenue grew from $2.5 billion to $7.4 billion, peaking in 2019 at $8.8 billion. Since that time, the NBA has invested in global talent on behalf of its teams, and it recently opened academies in Australia, India, Senegal, and Mexico. As a result, young athletes worldwide are choosing to play basketball and invest in their skills more often. The investment is paying off: The last five NBA MVP awards have gone to players ...