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Jel Classification:J30 

Working Paper
Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in the United States During and After the Great Recession

Rigidity in wages has long been thought to impede the functioning of labor markets. In this paper, we investigate the extent of downward nominal wage rigidity in US labor markets using job-level data from a nationally representative establishment-based compensation survey collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We use several distinct methods to test for downward nominal wage rigidity and to assess whether such rigidity is less or more severe in the presence of negative economic shocks than in more normal economic times. We find a significant amount of downward nominal wage rigidity in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-001r1

Journal Article
On the Aggregate Implications of Removing Barriers to Formality

This article examines the aggregate implications of several policies aimed at removing barriers to formality. To this end, we build a dynamic equilibrium model in which heterogeneous agents choose to work for a wage or operate a technology in the formal or informal sector, based on the costs and benefits associated with these occupational choices.
Review , Volume 102 , Issue 2 , Pages 203-220

Working Paper
Understanding Declining Fluidity in the U.S. Labor Market

We document a clear downward trend in labor market fluidity that is common across a variety of measures of worker and job turnover. This trend dates to at least the early 1980s if not somewhat earlier. Next we pull together evidence on a variety of hypotheses that might explain this downward trend. It is only partly related to population demographics and is not due to the secular shift in industrial composition. Moreover, the decline in labor market fluidity seems unlikely to have been caused by an improvement in worker-firm matching, the formalization of hiring practices, or an increase in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-15

Report
Do informal referrals lead to better matches? Evidence from a firm's employee referral system

The limited nature of data on employment referrals in large business and household surveys has so far limited our understanding of the relationships among employment referrals, match quality, wage trajectories, and turnover. Using a new, firm-level data set that includes explicit information on whether a worker was referred by a current employee of the company, we are able to provide rich detail on these empirical relationships for a single U.S. corporation, and to test various predictions of theoretical models of labor market referrals. Predictions with which our results align include: 1) ...
Staff Reports , Paper 568

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
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

Working Paper
Evaluating the Success of President Johnson's War on Poverty: Revisiting the Historical Record Using a Full-Income Poverty Measure

We evaluate progress in President's Johnson's War on Poverty. We do so relative to the scientifically arbitrary but policy relevant 20 percent baseline poverty rate he established for 1963. No existing poverty measure fully captures poverty reductions based on the standard that President Johnson set. To fill this gap, we develop a Full-income Poverty Measure with thresholds set to match the 1963 Official Poverty Rate. We include cash income, taxes, and major in-kind transfers and update poverty thresholds for inflation annually. While the Official Poverty Rate fell from 19.5 percent in 1963 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-011

Working Paper
Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture

The preference of microfinance institutions for women borrowers is generally attributed to two reasons: women borrowers are more trustworthy and have greater social impact. However, the role of social trust with regard to this gender preference has not been adequately investigated. Controlling for the social outreach goals of MFIs, we document that MFIs favor women more in low trust countries, suggesting that women are targeted to offset low social trust. We also examine how the nature of trust formation affects this relationship between gender targeting and trust. Our results should be of ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1317

Working Paper
Occupation-level income shocks and asset returns: their covariance and implications for portfolio choice

This paper develops and applies a simple graphical approach to portfolio selection that accounts for covariance between asset returns and an investor's labor income. Our graphical approach easily handles income shocks that are partly hedgeable, multiple risky assets, multiple risky assets, many periods, and life cycle considerations.
Working Papers , Paper 13-9

Report
Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing

Recent assessments of occupational licensing have shown varying effects of the institution on labor market outcomes. This study revisits the relationship between occupational licensing and labor market outcomes by analyzing a new topical module to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Relative to previously available data, the topical module offers more detailed information on occupational licensing from government, with a larger sample size and access to a richer set of person-level characteristics. We exploit this larger and more detailed data set to examine the labor ...
Staff Report , Paper 504

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