Relative pay, productivity, and labor supply
Relative pay ? earnings compared with the earnings of others doing a similar job, or compared with one?s earnings in the past ? affects how much individuals would like to work (labor supply) and their effort on the job; it therefore has implications for both employers and policy makers. A collection of recent studies shows that relative pay information, even when it is irrelevant, significantly affects labor supply and effort. This effect stems mainly from those who compare unfavorably, as essentially all studies find that awareness of earning less than others or less than in the past ...
The ups and downs of the gig economy, 2015–2017
A variety of researchers and public entities have estimated the prevalence of nontraditional work arrangements ? using diverse definitions ? in recent decades, and the topic has received increasing attention in the past five years. Despite numerous media reports that the prevalence of nonstandard work has increased since the Great Recession, not all sources agree on this point, and very little evidence exists relating to hours or earnings from such arrangements and their changes over time. Using unique data from the Survey of Informal Work Participation (SIWP), we describe changes in informal ...
Inflation Thresholds and Inattention
Inflation expectations are key to economic activity, and in the current economic climate of a heated labor market, they are central to the policy debate. At the same time, a growing literature on inattention suggests that individuals, and therefore individual behavior, may not be sensitive to changes in inflation when it is low. This paper explores evidence of such inattention by constructing three different measures based on the University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers 1-year ahead inflation expectations. Exploring inflation thresholds of 2, 3, and 4 percent, our findings are ...
How low can you go? Charity reporting when donations signal income and generosity
Consistent with nonprofit fundraising practices, donation visibility has been shown to increase giving. While concern for status is used to explain this response, the authors argue that this explanation relies on the assumption that giving signals only income or generosity. When giving signals both attributes overall status need not increase in donations, and donation-visibility may be harmful when individuals prefer to be perceived as poor-and-generous rather than rich-and-stingy. Using an experiment the authors find that both income-status and generosity-status concerns affect behavior. ...
Relative pay and labor supply
The authors use a labor supply; relative pay; experimental economics laboratory experiment to examine the impact of relative wages on labor supply. They test the hypothesis that, ceteris paribus, making a given wage high (low) relative to other wage levels will lead to an increase (decrease) in labor supply. They find that labor supply does respond significantly to relative pay, and in the expected direction. However, when a strong enough reason is given for the relative low pay, this difference disappears.
Nudging credit scores in the field: the effect of text reminders on creditworthiness in the United States
Given the fundamental role that credit scores play in day-to-day life in the United States, it is very important to understand what can be done to help individuals improve their credit scores. This question is important in general, and especially important for the low-to-moderate-income (LMI) individuals who likely have a greater need for access to liquidity than higher-income individuals. In this paper the authors report results from a field experiment conducted between early 2013 and early 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts, with LMI taxpayers who were offered credit advising services. Taxpayers ...
Informal work in the United States: evidence from survey responses
"Informal" work refers to temporary or occasional side jobs from which earnings are presumably not reported in full to the Internal Revenue Service and which typically do not constitute a dominant or complete source of income. Perhaps the most important reason for undertaking informal work is to offset negative income and employment shocks, such as reduced hours in a formal job, stagnant wages, or involuntary unemployment. Such negative shocks affected many Americans during the Great Recession, so it is important to determine the extent to which people engaged in informal work during this ...
Public and private values
This paper experimentally examines whether looking at other people's pricing decisions is a type of heuristic - a decisionmaking rule - that people use even when it is not applicable, as in the case of clearly private value goods. We find evidence that this is indeed the case - an individual's valuation of a purely subjective experience under full information, elicited using an incentive compatible mechanism, is highly influence by valuations made by others. This result can shed light on price behavior, price rigidities, and rents.
Who counts as employed?: informal work, employment status, and labor market slack
Several recent studies find that as of 2015, a significant share of working-age adults in the United States participates in nonstandard work arrangements. Such arrangements tend to lack long-term employment contracts and are often referred to as ?gig economy? jobs. This paper investigates the implications of nonstandard or ?informal? work for the measurement of employment status and labor market slack. Using original survey data, we find that as of 2015 roughly 37 percent of nonretired U.S. adults participated in some type of informal work, and roughly 20 percent participated in informal ...
The Great Recession and confidence in homeownership
Confidence in homeownership shifts for those who personally experienced real estate loss during the Great Recession. Older Americans are confident in the value of homeownership. Younger Americans are less confident.