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Jel Classification:J01 

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Occupational Licensing and Labor Market Fluidity

We show that occupational licensing has significant negative effects on labor market fluidity defined as cross-occupation mobility. Using a balanced panel of workers constructed from the CPS and SIPP data, we analyze the link between occupational licensing and labor market outcomes. We find that workers with a government-issued occupational license experience churn rates significantly lower than those of non-licensed workers. Specifically, licensed workers are 24% less likely to switch occupations and 3% less likely to become unemployed in the following year. Moreover, occupational licensing ...
Staff Report , Paper 606

Report
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 ...
Staff Reports , Paper 846

Journal Article
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 ...
Review , Volume 101 , Issue 2 , Pages 135-153

Discussion Paper
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.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200304d

Discussion Paper
How Do Firms Respond to Hiring Difficulties? Evidence from the Federal Reserve Banks' Small Business Credit Survey

Using data from the Federal Reserve Banks' 2017 Small Business Credit Survey (SBCS), this paper investigates the various ways in which different types of firms with less than 500 employees experience and address hiring difficulties, including when they decide to increase compensation. {{p}} The authors find significant variation in hiring difficulties by type of firm, and a firm's response appears to depend on the nature of the problem. The most common response is to increase compensation, with firms that experience competition from other employers being the most likely to do so. Other common ...
FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper , Paper 2018-1

Discussion Paper
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 ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200529b

Discussion Paper
Racial Disparities in Student Loan Outcomes

Total household debt balances increased by $92 billion in the third quarter of 2019, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. The balance increase reflected nearly across the board gains in various types of debt, with the largest gains of $31 billion in mortgage balances (0.3 percent) and $20 billion in student loan balances (1.4 percent). The Quarterly Report, and the following analysis, are both based on the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, which is itself based on anonymized Equifax credit report ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20191113a

Report
Is Occupational Licensing a Barrier to Interstate Migration?

Occupational licensure, one of the most significant labor market regulations in the United States, may restrict the interstate movement of workers. We analyze the interstate migration of 22 licensed occupations. Using an empirical strategy that controls for unobservable characteristics that drive long-distance moves, we find that the between-state migration rate for individuals in occupations with state-specific licensing exam requirements is 36 percent lower relative to members of other occupations. Members of licensed occupations with national licensing exams show no evidence of limited ...
Staff Report , Paper 561

Discussion Paper
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 ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200304c

Working Paper
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. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-036

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