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Cyclical and market determinants of involuntary part-time employment
We examine the determinants of involuntary part-time employment, focusing on variation associated with the business cycle and variation attributable to more persistent structural features of the labor market. Our theoretical framework distinguishes between workers? decision to seek part-time work and employer demand for part-time work hours, emphasizing demand and supply determinants of involuntary part-time work such as workplace technology, labor costs, and workforce demographics. We conduct regression analyses using state-level panel and individual data for the years 2003-2014. The results show that the combination of cyclical variation and the influence of market-level factors can explain virtually all of the variation in the aggregate incidence of involuntary part-time employment since the Great Recession.
AUTHORS: Bengali, Leila; van der List, Catherine; Valletta, Robert G.
U.S. economic mobility: the dream and the data
Economic mobility is a core principle of the American narrative and the basis for the American Dream. However, research suggests that the United States may not be as mobile as Americans believe. The United States has high absolute mobility in the sense that children readily become richer than their parents. But the nation appears to fall short on relative mobility, which is the ability of children to change their rank in the income distribution relative to their parents. ; This Economic Letter is based on a presentation given by Mary Daly in April 2012.
AUTHORS: Bengali, Leila; Daly, Mary C.
What’s behind the increase in part-time work?
Part-time work spiked during the recent recession and has stayed stubbornly high, raising concerns that elevated part-time employment represents a ?new normal? in the labor market. However, recent movements and current levels of part-time work are largely within historical norms, despite increases for selected demographic groups, such as prime-age workers with a high-school degree or less. In that respect, the continued high incidence of part-time work likely reflects a slow labor market recovery and does not portend permanent changes in the proportion of part-time jobs.
AUTHORS: Valletta, Robert G.; Bengali, Leila
Will labor force participation bounce back?
The most recent U.S. recession and recovery have been accompanied by a sharp decline in the labor force participation rate. The largest declines have occurred in states with the largest job losses. This suggests that some of the recent drop in the national labor force participation rate could be cyclical. Past recoveries show evidence of a similar cyclical relationship between changes in employment and participation, which could portend a moderation or reversal of the participation decline as the current recovery continues.
AUTHORS: Bengali, Leila; Daly, Mary C.; Valletta, Robert G.
Is it still worth going to college?
Earning a four-year college degree remains a worthwhile investment for the average student. Data from U.S. workers show that the benefits of college in terms of higher earnings far outweigh the costs of a degree, measured as tuition plus wages lost while attending school. The average college graduate paying annual tuition of about $20,000 can recoup the costs of schooling by age 40. After that, the difference between earnings continues such that the average college graduate earns over $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age.
AUTHORS: Bengali, Leila; Daly, Mary C.
The wage growth gap for recent college grads
Median starting wages of recent college graduates have not kept pace with median earnings for all workers over the past six years. This type of gap in wage growth also appeared after the 2001 recession and closed only late in the subsequent labor market recovery. However the wage gap in the current recovery is substantially larger and has lasted longer than in the past. The larger gap represents slow growth in starting salaries for graduates, rather than a shift in types of jobs, and reflects continued weakness in the demand for labor overall.
AUTHORS: Hobijn, Bart; Bengali, Leila