Do the Employed Get Better Job Offers?
In a previous post, we examined the job search behavior of workers, both on the job and while unemployed. We found that job seeking is pervasive among employed workers, and that searching while employed is more effective than searching while unemployed in producing employer contacts and job offers. But how do the offers received through ?on the job? searches compare to those received while unemployed? What do their wages look like, how do they compare in terms of nonwage benefits, and how much bargaining between employers and job applicants is involved? In this post, we shed some light on how ...
Grown-up business cycles
We document two striking facts about U.S. firm dynamics and interpret their significance for employment dynamics. The first is the dramatic decline in firm entry and the second is the gradual shift of employment toward older firms since 1980. We show that despite these trends, the lifecycle dynamics of firms and their business cycle properties have remained virtually unchanged. Consequently, aging is the delayed effect of accumulating startup deficits. Together, the decline in the employment contribution of startups and the shift of employment toward more mature firms contributed to the ...
The role of start-ups in structural transformation
The U.S. economy has been going through a striking structural transformation?the secular reallocation of employment across sectors?over the past several decades. We propose a decomposition framework to assess the contributions of various margins of firm dynamics to this shift. Using firm-level data, we find that at least 50 percent of the adjustment has been taking place along the entry margin, owing to sectors receiving shares of start-up employment that differ from their overall employment shares. The rest is mostly the result of life cycle differences across sectors. Declining overall ...
The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries
This paper documents the evolving impact of childbearing on the work activity of mothers. Based on a compiled dataset of 441 censuses and surveys between 1787 and 2015, representing 103 countries and 48.4 million mothers, we document three main findings: (1) the effect of fertility on labor supply is small and typically indistinguishable from zero at low levels of development and economically large and negative at higher levels of development; (2) this negative gradient is remarkably consistent across histories of currently developed countries and contemporary cross-sections of countries; and ...
Reconsidering the Consequences of Worker Displacements : Firm versus Worker Perspective
Prior literature has established that displaced workers suffer persistent earnings losses by following workers in administrative data after mass layoffs. This literature assumes that these are involuntary separations owing to economic distress. This paper examines this assumption by matching survey data on worker-supplied reasons for separations with administrative data. Workers exhibit substantially different earnings dynamics in mass layoffs depending on the reason for separation. Using a new methodology to account for the increased separation rates across all survey responses during a mass ...
Racial Gaps in Labor Market Outcomes in the Last Four Decades and over the Business Cycle
We examine racial disparities in key labor market outcomes for men and women over the past four decades, with a special emphasis on their evolution over the business cycle. Blacks have substantially higher and more cyclical unemployment rates than whites, and observable characteristics can explain very little of this differential, which is importantly driven by a comparatively higher risk of job loss. In contrast, the Hispanic-white unemployment rate gap is comparatively small and is largely explained by lower educational attainment of (mostly foreign-born) Hispanics. Regarding labor force ...
Exploring Online and Offline Informal Work : Findings from the Enterprising and Informal Work Activities (EIWA) Survey
The growing prevalence of alternative work arrangements has accelerated with the rapidly evolving digital platform transformations in local and global markets (Kenny and Zysman, 2015 and 2016). Although traditional (offline) informal paid work has always been a part of the labor sector (BLS-Contingent Worker Survey, 2005; GAO, 2015 and Katz and Krueger, 2016), the rise of online enabled paid work activities requires new approaches to measure this growing trend (Farrell and Greig, 2016; Gray et al, 2016; Sundararajan, 2016 and Schor, 2015). In the fourth quarter of 2015, the Federal Reserve ...
Job Polarization in the United States: A Widening Gap and Shrinking Middle
Over recent decades, the U.S. workforce has undergone a dramatic restructuring in response to changes in technology, trade, and consumption patterns. Some sectors, such as health care, have expanded, while others, such as manufacturing, have contracted. These changes have altered the composition of the workforce, leading to a phenomenon often referred to as “job polarization,” an important factor contributing to economic inequality in the nation. In this post, we show that the wage gap between high- and low-paid occupations has widened over the past three decades. Further, we show that ...
Labor Force Exits Are Complicating Unemployment Rate Forecasts
What will the unemployment rate be in 2013? Even if you were certain how much the U.S. economy (gross domestic product, or GDP) would grow over the next year or two, it would still be difficult to forecast the unemployment rate over that period. The link between GDP growth and unemployment is complex in part because it depends on how many people decide to work or look for work?that is, the labor force participation rate. In this post, we discuss the recent steep decline in the labor force participation rate and explain how uncertainty regarding the future path of that variable contributes to ...
Are Economic Values Transmitted from Parents to Children?
Economic research shows that differences in cultural traits and values?for example, trust, or the propensity to cooperate and not free-ride on others?are important determinants of economic outcomes, such as growth, economic and financial development, and international trade. It?s much less clear, however, where these differences in economic-relevant values come from. While economists generally assume that they?re transmitted from parents to children, the empirical evidence to this effect is almost nonexistent.