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Jel Classification:J23 

Working Paper
The Unintended Consequences of Employer Credit Check Bans for Labor Markets

Over the last decade, 11 states have restricted employers? access to the credit reports of job applicants. We document a significant decline in county-level vacancies after these laws were enacted: Job postings fall by 5.5 percent in affected occupations relative to exempt occupations in the same county and the same occupation nationwide. Cross-sectional heterogeneity in the estimated effects suggests that employers use credit reports as signals: Vacancies fall more in counties with a large share of subprime residents, while they fall less in occupations with other commonly available signals.
Working Papers , Paper 201905

Journal Article
How Do Local Labor Markets Affect Retirement?

Compared with prime-age workers, older workers face an easier path out of the labor force if they lose their jobs during a recession. However, premature job exits or earnings losses in the years leading up to retirement may be particularly devastating to retirement savings. The authors analyze the impact of recent business cycles on retirement using multifaceted job transitions of older workers. They focus on local labor markets because older workers are particularly unlikely to move for work. Surprisingly, the biggest effect of a higher local unemployment rate on older workers is to raise ...
Review , Volume 99 , Issue 3 , Pages 259-78

Working Paper
No Longer Qualified? Changes in the Supply and Demand for Skills within Occupations

Using a novel database of 159 million online job postings, we examine changes in employer skill requirements for education and specific skillsets between 2007 and 2017. We find that upskilling—in terms of increasing demands for bachelor’s degrees as well as software skills—was a persistent trend among high-skill occupations, but either a temporary or non-existent phenomenon among middle-skill and low-skill occupations. We also find evidence that persistentupskilling in the high-skill sector contributed to greater occupational mismatch that remained elevated during the recovery from the ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-3

Working Paper
Downskilling: changes in employer skill requirements over the business cycle

Using a novel database of 82.5 million online job postings, we show that employer skill requirements fell as the labor market improved from 2010 to 2014. We find that a 1 percentage point reduction in the local unemployment rate is associated with a roughly 0.27 percentage point reduction in the fraction of jobs requiring at least a bachelor?s degree and a roughly 0.23 percentage point reduction in the fraction requiring five or more years of experience. This pattern is established using multiple measures of labor availability, is bolstered by similar trends along heretofore unmeasured ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-9

Journal Article
Why Are Some Places So Much More Unequal Than Others?

This study examines the magnitude and sources of regional wage inequality in the United States. The authors find that, as in the nation as a whole, wage inequality has increased in nearly every metropolitan area since the early 1980s, though there is significant variation among places in both the degree of wage inequality and the pace at which it has risen. The most unequal places tend to be large urban areas that have benefited from strong demand for skill and agglomeration economies, with these factors leading to particularly rapid wage growth for high-skilled workers. The least unequal ...
Economic Policy Review , Volume 25 , Issue Dec

Working Paper
Health versus Wealth: On the Distributional Effects of Controlling a Pandemic

To slow the spread of COVID-19, many countries are shutting down nonessential sectors of the economy. Older individuals have the most to gain from slowing virus diffusion. Younger workers in sectors that are shuttered have the most to lose. In this paper, we build a model in which economic activity and disease progression are jointly determined. Individuals differ by age (young and retired), by sector (basic and luxury), and by health status. Disease transmission occurs in the workplace, in consumption activities, at home, and in hospitals. We study the optimal economic mitigation policy of a ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 20-03

Working Paper
Complex-Task Biased Technological Change and the Labor Market

In this paper we study the relationship between task complexity and the occupational wage- and employment structure. Complex tasks are defined as those requiring higher-order skills, such as the ability to abstract, solve problems, make decisions, or communicate effectively. We measure the task complexity of an occupation by performing Principal Component Analysis on a broad set of occupational descriptors in the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) data.We establish four main empirical facts for the U.S. over the 1980-2005 time period that are robust to the inclusion of a detailed set of ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1192

Working Paper
Cyclical and market determinants of involuntary part-time employment

We examine the determinants of involuntary part-time employment, focusing on variation associated with the business cycle and variation attributable to more persistent structural features of the labor market. Our theoretical framework distinguishes between workers? decision to seek part-time work and employer demand for part-time work hours, emphasizing demand and supply determinants of involuntary part-time work such as workplace technology, labor costs, and workforce demographics. We conduct regression analyses using state-level panel and individual data for the years 2003-2014. The results ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2015-19

Working Paper
Oligopsonies over the Business Cycle

With a duopsony model, we show how the degree of labor market slack relates to earnings inequality and firm size distribution across local labor markets and the business cycle. In booms, due to the high aggregate productivity, there is fierce competition with resulting high wages and full employment. During recessions, there is labor market slack and firms enjoy local market power. In periods in which the economy is moving in or out of a recession, there is an “accommodation” phase, with firms shrinking their labor forces and paying lower wages instead of competing for poached workers. We ...
Working Papers , Paper 202006

Working Paper
Firm Dynamics and the Minimum Wage: A Putty-Clay Approach

We document two new facts about the market-level response to minimum wage hikes: firm exit and entry both rise. These results pose a puzzle: canonical models of firm dynamics predict that exit rises but that entry falls. We develop a model of firm dynamics based on putty-clay technology and show that it is consistent with the increase in both exit and entry. The putty-clay model is also consistent with the small short-run employment effects of minimum wage hikes commonly found in empirical work. However, unlike monopsony-based explanations for small short-run employment effects, the model ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2013-26

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