Why Is Wage Growth So Low?
Real wage growth has been low in recent years despite continued improvement in the labor market. I examine the interaction between productivity growth and unemployment and show that low productivity growth largely accounts for the current low wage growth. If productivity growth were to pick up, the current low unemployment rate would likely strengthen the positive relationship between productivity growth and wage growth.
Labor Market Dynamics and Development
We build a dataset of harmonized rotating panel labor force surveys covering 42 countries across a wide range of development and document three new empirical findings on labor market dynamics. First, labor market flows (job-finding rates, employment-exit rates, and job-to-job transition rates) are two to three times higher in the poorest as compared with the richest countries. Second, employment hazards in poorer countries decline more sharply with tenure; much of their high turnover can be attributed to high separation rates among workers with low tenure. Third, wage-tenure profiles are much ...
The Global Distribution of College Graduate Quality
We measure college graduate quality — the average human capital of a college’s graduates—using the average earnings of the college’s graduates adjusted to a common labor market. Our implementation uses the database of the website Glassdoor, which has the necessary information on earnings and education for non-migrants and migrants who graduate from roughly 3,300 colleges in 66 countries. Graduates of colleges in the richest countries have 50 percent more human capital than graduates of colleges in the poorest countries. Migration reinforces these differences. Poorer countries do not ...
Asset Prices and Unemployment Fluctuations
Recent critiques have demonstrated that existing attempts to account for the unemployment volatility puzzle of search models are inconsistent with the procylicality of the opportunity cost of employment, the cyclicality of wages, and the volatility of risk-free rates. We propose a model that is immune to these critiques and solves this puzzle by allowing for preferences that generate time-varying risk over the cycle, and so account for observed asset pricing fluctuations, and for human capital accumulation on the job, consistent with existing estimates of returns to labor market experience. ...
Equilibrium Unemployment: The Role of Discrimination
U.S. labor markets are increasingly diverse and persistently unequal between genders, races and ethnicities, skill levels, and age groups. We use a structural model to decompose the observed differences in labor market outcomes across demographic groups in terms of underlying wedges in fundamentals. Of particular interest is the potential role of discrimination, either taste-based or statistical. Our model is a version of the Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model extended to include a life cycle, learning by doing, a nonparticipation state, and informational frictions. The model exhibits ...
The Economics of Internal Migration: Advances and Policy Questions
We review developments in research on within-country migration, focusing on internal migration in the U.S. We begin by describing approaches to modelling individuals' migration decisions and equilibrium outcomes across local areas. Next, we summarize evidence regarding the impact of migration on individuals' outcomes, implications of migration for local labor market adjustment, and interactions between migration and housing markets. Finally, we discuss evidence on the efficacy of policies aimed at encouraging migration and conclude by highlighting important unanswered questions that are ...
How the Pandemic Influenced Trends in Domestic Migration across U.S. Urban Areas
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, net domestic migration in the United States was generally increasing in smaller urban areas while declining in the largest urban areas; as people sought to mitigate exposure to COVID-19 and avoid stricter lockdown measures, the pandemic may have accelerated this trend. Changes in domestic migration trends may influence the longer-term growth prospects of places, but investigating recent trends in domestic migration can be challenging because data from official government sources are released with a long lag.Jason P. Brown and Colton Tousey overcome this lag by ...
Has the Willingness to Work Fallen During the Pandemic?
We examine the effect of the Covid pandemic on willingness to work along both the extensive and intensive margins of labor supply. Special survey questions in the Job Search Supplement of the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) allow us to elicit information about individuals’ desired work hours for the 2013-2021 period. Using these questions, along with workers’ actual labor market participation, we construct a labor market underutilization measure, the Aggregate Hours Gap (AHG), following Faberman et al. (2020). The AHG captures changes in labor market underutilization for the full ...
Were Teleworkable Jobs Pandemic-Proof?
While the majority of pandemic-related job losses have been in occupations where working from home was not possible, work-from-home or “teleworkable” jobs were not pandemic-proof. In addition, the number of teleworkable jobs lost and recovered differed by workers’ sex and education status. Both college-educated and non-college-educated women experienced larger employment losses and slower recoveries in teleworkable jobs than their male counterparts.
Assessing the Change in Labor Market Conditions
This paper describes a dynamic factor model of 19 U.S. labor market indicators, covering the broad categories of unemployment and underemployment, employment, workweeks, wages, vacancies, hiring, layoffs, quits, and surveys of consumers' and businesses' perceptions. The resulting labor market conditions index (LMCI) is a useful tool for gauging the change in labor market conditions. In addition, the model provides a way to organize discussions of the signal value of different labor market indicators in situations when they might be sending diverse signals. The model takes the greatest signal ...