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Author:Pitts, M. Melinda 

Working Paper
State Merit Aid Programs and Youth Labor Market Attachment

This paper examines the impact of state merit-aid programs on the labor market attachment of high school-aged youths. The labor force participation rate of teenagers has fallen substantially in recent decades, coinciding with the introduction of merit-aid programs. These programs reduce the price of attending an in-state public college or university for high-achieving students and have the potential to influence students' allocation of time and effort between labor market activities, human capital development, and other forms of leisure. We examine the influence of these programs based on ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2018-4

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
Cigarette smoking and food insecurity among low-income families in the United States, 2001

The goal of this research is to quantify the association between food insecurity and smoking among low-income families. This analysis is a retrospective study using data from the 2001 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a longitudinal study of a representative sample of U.S. men, women, and children and the family units in which they reside. Family income is linked with U.S. poverty thresholds to identify 2,099 families living near or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Food insecurity (that is, having insufficient funds to purchase enough food to maintain an active and healthy ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2007-19

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
Impact of first-birth career interruption on earnings: evidence from administrative data

This paper uses unique administrative data to expand the understanding of the role women's intermittency decisions play in the determination of their wages. We demonstrate that treating intermittency as exogenous significantly overstates its impact. The intermittency penalty also increases in the education level of the woman. The penalty for a woman with a high school degree with an average amount of intermittency during six years after giving birth to her first child is roughly half the penalty for a college graduate. We also demonstrate the value of using an index to capture multiple ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2014-23

Working Paper
A decomposition of the black-white differential in birth outcomes

Substantial racial disparities continue to persist in the prevalence of preterm births and low-birth-weight births. Health policy aimed at reducing these disparities could be better targeted if the differences in birth outcomes are better understood. This study decomposes these racial disparities in birth outcomes to determine the extent to which the disparities are driven by differences in measurable characteristics of black mothers and white mothers as well as the extent to which the gap results from differences in the impact of these characteristics. The analysis is focused on three ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2011-01

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
Incorporating insurance rate estimates and differential mortality into net marginal Social Security tax rate calculations

This paper extends the literature on net marginal tax rates created by the Social Security program by including variations in both the probability of being eligible to receive benefits and income-related life expectancy. The previous literature has found that women incur a lower net marginal tax rate because they have longer life expectancies. The results presented in this paper indicate that including variations in eligibility for benefits partially reverses this result by increasing net marginal Social Security tax rates for older women. In addition, the existing literature has shown that ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2002-29

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

Working Paper
Does disability explain state-level differences in the quality of Medicare beneficiary hospital inpatient care?

Almost 20 percent of the total U.S. population and 42 percent of the population over the age of sixty-six are disabled. Research has shown that the presence of a disability can crowd out treatment for medical conditions not necessarily related to the disability and that states that are disproportionately African-American have a lower quality of hospital care. This paper uses quality of care data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine whether disability also explains state-level differences in quality of hospital care. The quality of Medicare beneficiary ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2007-18

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