Introduction to Heterogeneity Series II: Labor Market Outcomes
While average outcomes serve as important yardsticks for how the economy is doing, understanding heterogeneity—how outcomes vary across a population—is key to understanding both the whole picture and the implications of any given policy. Following our six-part look at heterogeneity in October 2019, we now turn our focus to heterogeneity in the labor market—the subject of four posts set for release tomorrow morning. Average labor market statistics mask a lot of underlying variability—disparities that factor into labor market dynamics. While we have written about labor market ...
Women Have Been Hit Hard by the Loss of Routine Jobs, Too
Technological change and globalization have caused a massive transformation in the U.S. economy. While creating new opportunities for many workers, these forces have eliminated millions of good-paying jobs, particularly routine jobs in the manufacturing sector. Indeed, a great deal of attention has focused on the consequences of the loss of blue-collar production jobs for prime‑age men. What is often overlooked, however, is that women have also been hit hard by the loss of routine jobs, particularly administrative support jobs—a type of routine work that has historically been largely ...
Searching for Higher Job Satisfaction
Job-to-job transitions—those job moves that occur without an intervening spell of unemployment—have been discussed in the literature as a driver of wage growth. Economists typically describe the labor market as a “job ladder” that workers climb by moving to jobs with higher pay, stronger wage growth, and better benefits. It is important, however, that these transitions not be interspersed with periods of unemployment, both because such downtime could lead to a loss in accumulated human capital and because “on-the-job search” is more effective than searching while unemployed. Yet ...
How Does Credit Access Affect Job-Search Outcomes and Sorting?
How does access to consumer credit affect the job finding behavior of displaced workers? Are these workers looking for jobs at larger and more productive firms? What is the impact of consumer credit on the amount of time it takes to find a job? In recent work with Ethan Cohen-Cole we explore these questions by building a new data set of individual credit reports (from TransUnion) merged with administrative earnings data. We describe our approach and our results in this post.
How Widespread Is the Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Consumer Expectations?
In a recent blog post, we showed that consumer expectations worsened sharply through March, as the COVID-19 epidemic spread and affected a growing part of the U.S. population. In this post, we document how much of this deterioration can be directly attributed to the coronavirus outbreak. We then explore how the effect of the outbreak has varied over time and across demographic groups.
Which Workers Bear the Burden of Social Distancing Policies?
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, nearly all U.S. states imposed social distancing policies to combat the spread of illness. To the extent that work can be done from home, some workers moved their offices to their abodes. Others, however, are unable to continue working as their usual tasks require a specific location or environment, or involve close proximity to others. Which types of jobs cannot be done from home and which types of jobs require close personal proximity to others? What share of overall U.S. employment falls in these categories? And, given that these jobs will be the ...
Can low-wage workers find better jobs?
There is growing concern over rising economic inequality, the decline of the middle class, and a polarization of the U.S. workforce. This study examines the extent to which low-wage workers in the United States transition to better jobs, and explores the factors associated with such a move up the job ladder. Using data covering the expansion following the Great Recession (2011-17) and focusing on short-term labor market transitions, we find that around 70 percent of low-wage workers stayed in the same job, 11 percent exited the labor force, 7 percent became unemployed, and 6 percent switched ...
Racial Gaps, Occupational Matching, and Skill Uncertainty
White workers in the United States earn almost 30 percent more per hour on average than Black workers, and this wage gap is associated with large racial differences in occupational assignments. In this article, we theoretically and empirically examine the Black-White disparity in occupations. First, we present a model based on Antonovics and Golan (2012) that relates occupational assignments to the incentives workers face while learning about their own unknown ability. Second, we document differences between Black and White workers in both the complexity of skills required in their initial ...
Women Are Driving the Recent Recovery in Prime-Age Labor Force Participation
The labor force participation rate of prime-age individuals (age 25 to 54) in the United States declined dramatically during and after the Great Recession. While the rate remains below its pre-recession level, it has been increasing steadily since 2015. We examine how different demographic groups have contributed to this rebound and find that college-educated women have made the largest contribution to the recent recovery in the prime-age labor force participation rate.
Should Children Do More Enrichment Activities? Leveraging Bunching to Correct for Endogeneity
We study the effects of enrichment activities such as reading, homework, and extracurricular lessons on children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills. We take into consideration that children forgo alternative activities, such as play and socializing, in order to spend time on enrichment. Our study controls for selection on unobservables using a novel approach which leverages the fact that many children spend zero hours per week on enrichment activities. At zero enrichment, confounders vary but enrichment does not, which gives us direct information about the effect of confounders on skills. ...