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Jel Classification:J1 

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Double majors: one for me, one for the parents?

At least a quarter of college students in the United States graduate with more than one undergraduate major. This paper investigates how students decide on the composition of their paired majors? In other words, whether the majors chosen are substitutes or complements. Since students use both their preferences and their expectations about major-specific outcomes when choosing their majors, I collect innovative data on subjective expectations, drawn from a sample of Northwestern University sophomores. Despite showing substantial heterogeneity in beliefs, the students seem aware of differences ...
Staff Reports , Paper 478

Working Paper
Work from Home Before and After the COVID-19 Outbreak

Based on novel survey data, we document the evolution of commuting behavior in the U.S. over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Work from home (WFH) increased sharply and persistently after the outbreak, and much more so among some workers than others. Using theory and evidence, we argue that the observed heterogeneity in WFH transitions is consistent with potentially more permanent changes to work arrangements in some occupations, and not just temporary substitution in response to greater health risks. Consistent with increased WFH adoption, many more – especially higher-educated – ...
Working Papers , Paper 2017

Working Paper
The Age-Time-Cohort Problem and the Identification of Structural Parameters in Life-Cycle Models

A standard approach to estimating structural parameters in life-cycle models imposes sufficient assumptions on the data to identify the ?age profile" of outcomes, then chooses model parameters so that the model's age profile matches this empirical age profile. I show that this approach is both incorrect and unnecessary: incorrect, because it generally produces inconsistent estimators of the structural parameters, and unnecessary, because consistent estimators can be obtained under weaker assumptions. I derive an estimation method that avoids the problems of the standard approach. I ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2017-18

Journal Article
Aging and Wealth Inequality in a Neoclassical Growth Model

In this article, the author uses a version of the neoclassical growth model with overlapping generations of individuals to investigate the effect of aging on wealth inequality. When an economy?s population becomes older?that is, when the proportion of individuals 65 years of age and older increases?two effects are at work: a direct effect from the changing age composition of the population and an indirect, equilibrium effect from the change in asset holdings by owner?s age. The main result is that wealth inequality in an aging population may decrease or increase depending on the cause of the ...
Review , Volume 98 , Issue 1 , Pages 61-80

Discussion Paper
Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in Covid-19: Health Insurance, Comorbidities, and Medical Facilities

Our previous work documents that low-income and majority-minority areas were considerably more affected by COVID-19, as captured by markedly higher case and death rates. In a four-part series starting with this post, we seek to understand the reasons behind these income and racial disparities. Do disparities in health status translate into disparities in COVID-19 intensity? Does the health system play a role through health insurance and hospital capacity? Can disparities in COVID-19 intensity be explained by high-density, crowded environments? Does social distancing, pollution, or the age ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210112a

Working Paper
Family Economics Writ Large

Powerful currents have reshaped the structure of families over the last century. There has been (i) a dramatic drop in fertility and greater parental investment in children; (ii) a rise in married female labor-force participation; (iii) a significant decline in marriage and a rise in divorce; (iv) a higher degree of positive assortative mating; (v) more children living with a single mother; (vi) shifts in social norms governing premarital sex and married women's roles in the workplace. Macroeconomic models explaining these aggregate trends are surveyed. The relent-less flow of technological ...
Working Papers , Paper 2016-26

Report
Can subjective expectations data be used in choice models? Evidence on cognitive biases

A pervasive concern with the use of subjective data in choice models is that the data are biased and endogenous. This paper examines the extent to which cognitive biases plague subjective data, specifically addressing 1) whether cognitive dissonance affects the reporting of beliefs, and 2) whether individuals exert sufficient mental effort when probed about their subjective beliefs. For this purpose, I collect a unique panel data set of Northwestern University undergraduates that contains their subjective expectations about outcomes specific to different majors in their choice set. I do not ...
Staff Reports , Paper 454

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

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

Working Paper
Work from Home After the COVID-19 Outbreak

Based on rich novel survey data, we document that 35.2 percent of the US workforce worked entirely from home in May 2020, up from 8.2 percent in February. Highly educated, high-income and white workers were more likely to shift to working from home and maintain employment following the pandemic. Individuals working from home daily before the pandemic lost employment at similar rates as daily commuters. This suggests that, apart from the potential for home-based work, demand conditions also mattered for job losses. We find that 71.7 percent of workers that could work from home effectively did ...
Working Papers , Paper 2017

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