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Author:Butcher, Kristin F. 

Journal Article
Obesity, disability, and the labor force

Men of prime working age have increased their non-employment rates over the past 30 years, and disability rates have also increased. Many have noted that this increase has happened against a backdrop of generally improving health in the U.S. population. However, obesity has increased substantially over this period. The authors find that changes in the characteristics of male workers?including age, race, ethnicity, and obesity levels?can explain a large portion (around 40 percent) of the increase in non-employment.
Economic Perspectives , Volume 32 , Issue Q I

Working Paper
Female offenders use of social welfare programs before and after jail and prison: does prison cause welfare dependency?

Prior studies indicate that incarcerated women are among the most economically disadvantaged populations in the U.S. In this paper we focus on the links between incarceration and use of the social welfare system. Is prison, for example associated with increased welfare dependency? To better understand this relationship, we examine the temporal pattern of social welfare receipt for 45,000 female offenders from Cook County, Illinois over a ten year period. We find that this group does in fact have high rates of social welfare receipt, especially if they were incarcerated in state prison rather ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-06-13

Working Paper
Women and the Phillips curve: do women’s and men’s labor market outcomes differentially affect real wage growth and inflation?

During the economic expansion of the 1990s, the United States enjoyed both low inflation rates and low levels of unemployment. Juhn, Murphy, and Topel (2002) point out that the low unemployment rates for men in the 1990s were accompanied by historically high rates of non-employment suggesting that the 1990s economy was not as strong as the unemployment rate might indicate. We include women in the analysis and examine whether the Phillips curve relationships between real compensation growth, changes in inflation, and labor market slackness are the same for men and women and whether measures of ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-03-22

Journal Article
Economic perspectives on childhood obesity

Obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed in the last 30 years. Among adults, obesity rates more than doubled from the early 1970s to the late 1990s. Children obesity rates nearly tripled over the same period. This article discusses why obesity is of interest from an economic perspective. It them examines changes in children's lives, particularly the increase in maternal employment, that may have contributed to increases in children's weight.
Economic Perspectives , Volume 27 , Issue Q III , Pages 30-48

Working Paper
Making the (Letter) Grade: The Incentive Effects of Mandatory Pass/Fail Courses

In Fall 2014, Wellesley College began mandating pass/fail grading for courses taken by first-year, first-semester students, although instructors continued to record letter grades. We identify the causal effect of the policy on course choice and performance, using a regression-discontinuity-in-time design. Students shifted to lower-grading STEM courses in the first semester, but did not increase their engagement with STEM in later semesters. Letter grades of first-semester students declined by 0.13 grade points, or 23% of a standard deviation. We evaluate causal channels of the grade ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2022-55

Working Paper
Not working: demographic changes, policy changes, and the distribution of weeks (not) worked

From 1978 to 2000 the fraction of adult men in full-year non-employment increased from 17.1 to 21.6 percent. Previous research focused on the role of disability insurance policy and wage structure changes to explain this increase. Using Current Population Surveys from 1979 to 2003 we assess how much of the changes in full-year non-employment can be explained by demographic changes, possibly linked to health. With our empirical strategy we examine how 1978 to 2000 changes in demographic characteristics would have changed the distribution of weeks worked if policies and macroeconomic conditions ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-04-23

Journal Article
Bringing together policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to discuss job loss

Economic Perspectives , Volume 29 , Issue Q II , Pages 2-12

Discussion Paper
Using credit reporting agency data to assess the link between the Community Reinvestment Act and consumer credit outcomes

We use a regression discontinuity design to investigate the effect of the Community Reinvestment Act on consumer credit outcomes using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?s Consumer Credit Panel database (Equifax data) for the years 2004 to 2012. A bank?s activities in census tracts with median family incomes less than 80 percent of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) median family income count toward a lending institution?s compliance with CRA rules. Assuming census tracts with median incomes at 79.9 percent of the MSA median are the same as census tracts at 80 percent?except ...
Public and Community Affairs Discussion Papers , Paper 2013-2

Job loss: causes, consequences, and policy responses

From 2001 to 2003, 5.3 million workers were displaced. Beyond quantifying the numbers of jobs lost lie important questions about gains and losses from these changes and what policies may affect them. These questions will be addressed at an upcoming Chicago Fed conference.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue Oct

Journal Article
Childhood obesity: an issue for public health advocates, researchers, and community development practitioners

Obesity rates for U.S. children have risen precipitously over the past 20 years. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999?2002, 15 percent of children on average, ages 2?19 are obese. With little evidence that individual weight loss programs can solve the problem, attention is increasingly turning to the environment in which children live, in an effort to understand both the causes of and potential solutions to childhood obesity. Drawing on recent research, this article provides an overview of childhood obesity trends from the 1970s to 2002, ...
Profitwise , Issue Oct , Pages 12-16


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