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 ...
Did abnormal weather affect U.S. employment growth in early 2015?
A current policy concern centers on how the severe winter weather experienced in some parts of the country may have affected the economy earlier this year. As of 2015:Q1, monthly payroll growth has slowed by more than 100,000 jobs compared to 2014:Q4, while GDP declined at an annual rate of 0.7 percent. To measure the potential effect of weather on recent employment growth, the author estimates a regression model using state-level employment and weather data from 1981 onward. The coefficients from this model are combined with data on recent weather to generate an estimate of how weather is ...
Whenever unemployment stays high for an extended period, it is common to see analyses, statements, and rebuttals about the extent to which the high unemployment is structural, not cyclical. This brief views the Beveridge curve pattern of unemployment and vacancy rates and the related matching function as proxies for the functioning of the labor market, and explores issues in that proxy relationship that complicates such analyses.
Underemployment in the early careers of college graduates following the Great Recession
Though labor market conditions steadily improved following the Great Recession, underemployment among recent college graduates continued to climb, reaching highs not seen since the early 1990s. In this paper, we take a closer look at the jobs held by underemployed college graduates in the early stages of their careers during the first few years after the Great Recession. Contrary to popular perception, we show that relatively few recent graduates were working in low-skilled service jobs, and that many of the underemployed worked in fairly well paid non-college jobs requiring some degree of ...
Slow recoveries and unemployment traps: monetary policy in a time of hysteresis
We analyze monetary policy in a model where temporary shocks can permanently scar the economy's productive capacity. Unemployed workers? skill losses generate multiple steady-state unemployment rates. When monetary policy is constrained by the zero bound, large shocks reduce hiring to a point where the economy recovers slowly at best?at worst, it falls into a permanent unemployment trap. Since monetary policy is powerless to escape such traps ex post, it must avoid them ex ante. The model quantitatively accounts for the slow U.S. recovery following the Great Recession, and suggests that lack ...
The role of start-ups in structural transformation
The U.S. economy has been going through a striking structural transformation?the secular reallocation of employment across sectors?over the past several decades. We propose a decomposition framework to assess the contributions of various margins of firm dynamics to this shift. Using firm-level data, we find that at least 50 percent of the adjustment has been taking place along the entry margin, owing to sectors receiving shares of start-up employment that differ from their overall employment shares. The rest is mostly the result of life cycle differences across sectors. Declining overall ...
We develop a framework where mismatch between vacancies and job seekers across sectors translates into higher unemployment by lowering the aggregate job-finding rate. We use this framework to measure the contribution of mismatch to the recent rise in U.S. unemployment by exploiting two sources of cross-sectional data on vacancies: JOLTS and HWOL (a new database covering the universe of online U.S. job advertisements). Mismatch across industries and occupations explains at most one-third of the total observed increase in the unemployment rate. Geographical mismatch plays no apparent role. ...
Occupation Mobility, Human Capital and the Aggregate Consequences of Task-Biased Innovations
We construct a dynamic general equilibrium model with occupation mobility, human capital accumulation and endogenous assignment of workers to tasks to quantitatively assess the aggregate impact of automation and other task-biased technological innovations. We extend recent quantitative general equilibrium Roy models to a setting with dynamic occupational choices and human capital accumulation. We provide a set of conditions for the problem of workers to be written in recursive form and provide a sharp characterization for the optimal mobility of individual workers and for the aggregate supply ...
Persistence of Shocks and the Reallocation of Labor
This paper proposes a theoretical and quantitative analysis of the reallocation of labor across firms in response to idiosyncratic shocks of different persistence. Creating and destroying jobs is costly and workers are paid a share of the value of the marginal worker. The model predicts that employment and labor costs react differently to transitory shocks and permanent shocks. Quantitative evaluation of the model on a panel of French firms shows the model?s performance. Modest adjustment costs are needed to reproduce observed job reallocation and inaction rates. Removing adjustment costs ...
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 ...