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Author:Pitts, M. Melinda 

Working Paper
Do Minimum Wages Really Increase Youth Drinking and Drunk Driving?

Adams, Blackburn, and Cotti (ABC) found that increases in minimum wages were positively related to drunk driving?related traffic fatalities for those ages 16 to 20. The hypothesized mechanism for this relationship?increased alcohol consumption caused by minimum wage?induced income gains?remains empirically unexplored. Using data from two national behavioral surveys and an identification strategy identical to ABC, we find little evidence that an increase in the minimum wage leads to increases in alcohol consumption or drunk driving among teenagers. These results suggest a much smaller set of ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2014-20

Working Paper
Wage gains among job changers across the business cycle:> insight from state administrative data

This paper uses unique employer-employee matched administrative data files to determine that firm and industry employment dynamics play significant roles in the earnings gains of workers who change jobs and in different ways across the business cycle. Among the more notable results is the finding that job-changers who leave a firm that is shutting down experience a greater earnings loss than job-changers who leave a firm that is merely contracting. In addition, the earnings loss from changing industries where firm-specific human capital is likely to be important has the potential of creating ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2004-19

Working Paper
The ups and downs of jobs in Georgia: what can we learn about employment dynamics from state administrative data?

This paper demonstrates how state administrative data (from Georgia) can be used to decompose net employment growth in order to track establishment births, deaths, contractions, and expansions over time. Even though net employment growth can look quite similar across industries, the composition of that employment change can look quite different. The panel nature of the data allow the authors to see that overall lack of expansion and continued contraction among large establishments were the driving forces behind the weak employment growth immediately following the 2001 recession.
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2003-38

Working Paper
The role of labor market intermittency in explaining gender wage differentials

Using the Health and Retirement Survey and standard wage decomposition techniques, this paper finds that the difference in intermittent labor force participation between men and women accounts for 47 percent of the contribution to the wage gap of differences in observed characteristics. Not controlling for intermittent behavior results in too much importance being placed on gender differences in job characteristics.
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2007-01

Working Paper
Earnings on the information technology roller coaster: insight from matched employer-employee data

This paper uses matched employer-employee data for the state of Georgia to examine workers? earnings experience through the information technology (IT) sector?s employment boom of the mid-1990s and its bust in the early 2000s. The results show that even after controlling for individual characteristics before the sector?s boom, transitioning out of the IT sector to a non-IT industry generally resulted in a large wage penalty. However, IT service workers who transitioned to a non-IT industry still fared better than those who took a non-IT employment path. For IT manufacturing workers, there is ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2005-11

Working Paper
Why choose women's work if it pays less? A structural model of occupational choice

This paper controls for the selection bias associated with occupational choice and the labor force participation decision in estimating the wage penalty for working in female-dominated occupations. Using data from the May 1979 and the April 1993 supplements to the Current Population Survey, the author finds that women working in female-dominated occupations have similar or higher expected wages in their chosen occupation compared to nonfemale-dominated occupations. This result indicates that there is efficient matching between occupations and skills for women in the labor force and refutes ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2002-30

Working Paper
Evidence of demand factors in the determination of the labor market intermittency penalty

The purpose of this paper is to determine whether any empirical evidence exists for the contribution of employer, or demand-side, determinants of the labor market intermittency penalty. The documented negative relationship between the size of the penalty and labor market strength is interpreted as evidence that labor market intermittency is viewed as an undesirable characteristic that employers penalize more severely when the labor market is weak.
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2007-16

Working Paper
Losing Public Health Insurance: TennCare Disenrollment and Personal Financial Distress

A main goal of health insurance is to smooth out the financial risk that comes with health shocks and health care. Nevertheless, there has been relatively sparse evidence on how health insurance affects financial outcomes. The few studies that exist focus on the effect of gaining health insurance. This paper explores the effect of losing public health insurance on measures of individual financial well-being. In 2005, the state of Tennessee dropped about 170,000 individuals from Medicaid, resulting in a plausibly exogenous shock to health insurance status. Both across- and within-county ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2017-6

Working Paper
Assessing the impact of education and marriage on labor market exit decisions of women

During the late 1990s, the convergence of women's labor force participation rates to men's rates came to a halt. This paper explores the degree to which the role of education and marriage in women's labor supply decisions also changed over this time period. Specifically, this paper investigates women's decisions to exit the labor market upon the birth of a child. The results indicate that changing exit behavior among married, educated women at this period in their lives was not likely the driving force behind the aggregate changes seen in labor force participation. Rather, changes in exit ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2010-02

Working Paper
Freshman learning communities, college performance, and retention

This paper applies a standard treatment effects model to determine that participation in Freshman Learning Communities (FLCs) improves academic performance and retention. Not controlling for individual self-selection into FLC participation leads one to incorrectly conclude that the impact is the same across race and gender groups. Accurately assessing the impact of any educational program is essential in determining what resources institutions should devote to it.
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2005-22

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