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Jel Classification:J24 

Report
Student Debt and Default: The Role of For-Profit Colleges

For-profit providers have become an important fixture of U.S. higher education markets. Students who attend for-profit institutions take on more educational debt and are more likely to default on their student loans than those attending similarly selective public schools. Because for-profits tend to serve students from more disadvantaged backgrounds, it is important to isolate the causal effect of for-profit enrollment on student debt and repayment outcomes as well as the educational and labor market mechanisms that drive any such effects. We approach this problem using a novel instrument ...
Staff Reports , Paper 811

Briefing
Do foreclosures affect Boston public school student academic performance?

Foreclosures have well-documented adverse consequences for families living in or owning properties undergoing foreclosure and on surrounding neighborhoods, but they may also have other costs. This policy brief summarizes our research on the impact of mortgage foreclosures on academic performance among Boston public school students. The data show that students who live at an address that experiences a foreclosure tend to score substantially lower on standardized tests (math and English) and also have substantially worse attendance. However, if we account for the influence of student ...
Public Policy Brief

Report
Anatomy of Lifetime Earnings Inequality: Heterogeneity in Job Ladder Risk vs. Human Capital

We study the determinants of lifetime earnings (LE) inequality in the United States, for which differences in lifetime earnings growth are key. Using administrative data and focusing on the roles of job ladder dynamics and on-the-job learning, we document that 1) lower LE workers change jobs more often, mainly driven by higher nonemployment; 2) earnings growth for job stayers is similar at around 2 percent in the bottom two-thirds of the LE distribution, whereas for job switchers it rises with LE; and 3) top LE workers enjoy high earnings growth regardless of job switching. We estimate a job ...
Staff Reports , Paper 908

Working Paper
Evidence on the Within-Industry Agglomeration of R&D, Production, and Administrative Occupations

To date, most empirical studies of industrial agglomeration rely on data where observations are assigned an industry code based on classification systems such as NAICS in North America and NACE in Europe. This study combines industry data with occupation data to show that there are important differences in the spatial patterns of occupation groups within the widely used industry definitions. We focus on workers in manufacturing industries, whose occupations almost always fit into three groups: production, administrative, or R&D. We then employ two approaches to document the spatial ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-20

Working Paper
The Baby Boomers and the Productivity Slowdown

The entry of baby boomers into the labor market in the 1970s slowed growth for physical and human capital per worker because young workers have little of both. Thus, the baby boom could have contributed to the 1970s productivity slowdown. I build and calibrate a model a la Huggett et al. (2011) with exogenous population and TFP to evaluate this theory. The baby boom accounts for 75% of the slowdown in the period 1964-69, 25% in 1970-74 and 2% in 1975-79. The retiring of baby boomers may cause a 2.8pp decline in productivity growth between 2020 and 2040, ceteris paribus.
Working Papers , Paper 2018-37

Working Paper
The Evolution of Technological Substitution in Low-Wage Labor Markets

This paper uses minimum wage hikes to evaluate the susceptibility of low-wage employment to technological substitution. We find that automation is accelerating and supplanting a broader set of low-wage routine jobs in the decade since the Financial Crisis. Simultaneously, low-wage interpersonal jobs are increasing and offsetting routine job loss. However, interpersonal job growth does not appear to be enough – as it was previous to the Financial Crisis – to fully offset the negative effects of automation on low-wage routine jobs. Employment losses are most evident among minority workers ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-16

Working Paper
Saving and Wealth Accumulation among Student Loan Borrowers: Implications for Retirement Preparedness

Borrowing for education has increased rapidly in the past several decades, such that the majority of non-housing debt on US households' balance sheets is now student loan debt. This chapter analyzes the implications of student loan borrowing for later-life economic well-being, with a focus on retirement preparation. We demonstrate that families holding student loan debt later in life have less savings than their similarly educated peers without such debt. However, these comparisons are misleading if the goal is to characterize the experience of the typical student borrower, as they fail to ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-019

Working Paper
The Great Migration and Educational Opportunity

This paper studies the impact of the First Great Migration on children. We use the complete count 1940 Census to estimate selection-corrected place effects on education for children of Black migrants. On average, Black children gained 0.8 years of schooling (12 percent) by moving from the South to the North. Many counties that had the strongest positive impacts on children during the 1940s offer relatively poor opportunities for Black youth today. Opportunities for Black children were greater in places with more schooling investment, stronger labor market opportunities for Black adults, more ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-04

Working Paper
Labor market polarization over the business cycle

One of the most important long-run trends in the U.S. labor market is polarization, defined as the relative growth of employment in high-skill jobs (such as management and technical positions) and low-skill jobs (such as food-service and janitorial work) amid the concurrent decline in middle-skill jobs (such as clerical, construction, manufacturing, and retail occupations). Middle-skill job losses typically result from outsourcing labor to lower-wage countries or from substituting automated technologies for routine tasks. Economists are now beginning to study how long-run polarization might ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-16

Working Paper
Wage Shocks and the Technological Substitution of Low-Wage Job

We extend the task-based empirical framework used in the job polarization literature to analyze the susceptibility of low-wage employment to technological substitution. We find that increases in the cost of low-wage labor, via minimum wage hikes, lead to relative employment declines at cognitively routine occupations but not manually-routine or non-routine low-wage occupations. This suggests that low-wage routine cognitive tasks are susceptible to technological substitution. While the short-run employment consequence of this reshuffling on individual workers is economically small, due to ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2017-3

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