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Jel Classification:J20 

Discussion Paper
Financing workforce development in a devolutionary era

Workforce development financing has changed significantly over the last 25 years. In 2008, federal funding for the traditional workforce development system was 83 percent lower in real terms than it had been in 1980. As the federal system plays a smaller role in workforce development financing, the job training landscape better represents a "marketplace" where students and job seekers use federal training vouchers and grant and student loan money from various sources, primarily the Higher Education Act's Pell Grant and Federal Student Loan programs. Additionally, increasing volatility in ...
FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper , Paper 2016-2

Report
Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Postwar Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America

After World War II, international capital flowed into slow-growing Latin America rather than fast-growing Asia. This is surprising as, everything else equal, fast growth should imply high capital returns. This paper develops a capital flow accounting framework to quantify the role of different factor market distortions in producing these patterns. Surprisingly, we find that distortions in labor markets ? rather than domestic or international capital markets ? account for the bulk of these flows. Labor market distortions that indirectly depress investment incentives by lowering equilibrium ...
Staff Report , Paper 563

Discussion Paper
Some Workers Have Been Hit Much Harder than Others by the Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, in just two months—between February and April 2020—the nation saw well over 20 million workers lose their jobs, an unprecedented 15 percent decline. Since then, substantial progress has been made, but employment still remains 5 percent below its pre-pandemic level. However, not all workers have been affected equally. This post is the first in a three-part series exploring disparities in labor market outcomes during the pandemic—and represents an extension of ongoing research into heterogeneities and inequalities in people’s ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210209a

Journal Article
Do the benefits of college still outweigh the costs?

In recent years, students have been paying more to attend college and earning less upon graduation?trends that have led many observers to question whether a college education remains a good investment. However, an analysis of the economic returns to college since the 1970s demonstrates that the benefits of both a bachelor?s degree and an associate?s degree still tend to outweigh the costs, with both degrees earning a return of about 15 percent over the past decade. The return has remained high in spite of rising tuition and falling earnings because the wages of those without a college degree ...
Current Issues in Economics and Finance , Volume 20

Working Paper
Better Bunching, Nicer Notching

We study the bunching identification strategy for an elasticity parameter that summarizes agents' response to changes in slope (kink) or intercept (notch) of a schedule of incentives. A notch identifies the elasticity but a kink does not, when the distribution of agents is fully flexible. We propose new non-parametric and semi-parametric identification assumptions on the distribution of agents that are weaker than assumptions currently made in the literature. We revisit the original empirical application of the bunching estimator and find that our weaker identification assumptions result in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-002

Working Paper
The Labor Market Effects of Offshoring by U.S. Multinational Firms: Evidence from Changes in Global Tax Policies

Estimating the causal effect of offshoring on domestic employment is difficult because of the inherent simultaneity of multinational firms? domestic and foreign affiliate employment decisions. In this paper, we resolve this identification problem using variation in Bilateral Tax Treaties (BTTs), which reduce the effective cost of offshore activity by mitigating double taxation. We derive a panel difference-in-differences research design from a standard model of multinational firms, demonstrating the simultaneity problem and showing how to resolve it using BTTs as an instrument for offshore ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 17-12

Working Paper
Bunching Estimation of Elasticities Using Stata

A continuous distribution of agents that face a piecewise-linear schedule of incentives results in a distribution of responses with mass points located where the slope (kink) or intercept (notch) of the schedule changes. Bunching methods use these mass points to estimate an elasticity parameter, which summarizes agents' responses to incentives. This article introduces the command bunching, which implements new non-parametric and semi-parametric identification methods for estimating elasticities developed by Bertanha et al. (2021). These methods rely on weaker assumptions than currently made ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-006

Working Paper
The Cross-Section of Labor Leverage and Equity Returns

Using a standard production model, we demonstrate theoretically that, even if labor is fully flexible, it generates a form of operating leverage if (a) wages are smoother than productivity and (b) the capital-labor elasticity of substitution is strictly less than one. Our model supports using labor share?the ratio of labor expenses to value added?as a proxy for labor leverage. We show evidence for conditions (a) and (b), and we demonstrate the economic significance of labor leverage: High labor-share firms have operating profits that are more sensitive to shocks, and they have higher expected ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2017-22

Working Paper
Bargaining Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations

We argue that social and political risk causes significant aggregate fluctuations by changing bargaining power. To that end, we document significant changes in the capital share after large political events, such as political realignments, modifications in collective bargaining rules, or the end of dictatorships, in a sample of developed and emerging economies. These policy changes are associated with significant fluctuations in output. Using a Bayesian proxy-VAR estimated with U.S. data, we show how distribution shocks cause movements in output and unemployment. To quantify the ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-11

Report
An Assignment Model of Knowledge Diffusion and Income Inequality

Randomness in individual discovery disperses productivities, whereas learning from others keeps productivities together. Long-run growth and persistent earnings inequality emerge when these two mechanisms for knowledge accumulation are combined. This paper considers an economy in which those with more useful knowledge can teach others, with competitive markets assigning students to teachers. In equilibrium, students with an ability to learn quickly are assigned to teachers with the most productive knowledge. This sorting on ability implies large differences in earnings distributions ...
Staff Report , Paper 509

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