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Jel Classification:J7 

Working Paper
The Dynamics of the Racial Wealth Gap

We reconcile the large and persistent racial wealth gap with the smaller racial earnings gap, using a general equilibrium heterogeneous-agents model that matches racial differences in earnings, wealth, bequests, and returns to savings. Given initial racial wealth inequality in 1962, our model attributes the slow convergence of the racial wealth gap primarily to earnings, with much smaller roles for bequests or returns to savings. Cross-sectional regressions of wealth on earnings using simulated data produce the same racial gap documented in the literature. One-time wealth transfers have only ...
Working Papers , Paper 201918

Working Paper
On the Economics of Discrimination in Credit Markets

This paper develops a general equilibrium model of both taste-based and statistical discrimination in credit markets. We find that both types of discrimination have similar predictions for intergroup differences in loan terms. The commonly held view has been that if there exists taste-based discrimination, loans approved to minority borrowers would have higher expected profitability than to majorities with comparable credit background. We show that the validity of this profitability view depends crucially on how expected loan profitability is measured. We also show that there must exist ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2002-02

Working Paper
Assessing Differences in Labor Market Outcomes Across Race, Age, and Educational Attainment

Broad indicators are often used to evaluate the health of the labor market but may mask disparities in outcomes across age, education, gender, and race. Understanding these disparate outcomes is part of the process of monitoring the labor market. As such, this paper summarizes work the research staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has done to better understand differences in labor market outcomes. Some of these findings reinforce earlier work, while others offer novel perspectives. {{p}} First, differences in outcomes across race remain substantial. Despite a significant increase ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 17-3

Working Paper
Reversal of Gender Gaps in Child Development: Evidence from Young Children in India

This paper provides unique evidence of a reversal of gender gaps in cognitive development in early childhood. We find steep caste and gender gradients and few substantive changes once children enter school. The gender gap, however, reverses its sign for the upper caste, with girls performing better than boys at age 5 but thereafter following the general pattern in India of boys performing better.
Working Papers , Paper 2014-11

Working Paper
Racial Gaps in Labor Market Outcomes in the Last Four Decades and over the Business Cycle

We examine racial disparities in key labor market outcomes for men and women over the past four decades, with a special emphasis on their evolution over the business cycle. Blacks have substantially higher and more cyclical unemployment rates than whites, and observable characteristics can explain very little of this differential, which is importantly driven by a comparatively higher risk of job loss. In contrast, the Hispanic-white unemployment rate gap is comparatively small and is largely explained by lower educational attainment of (mostly foreign-born) Hispanics. Regarding labor force ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-071

Report
Can subjective expectations data be used in choice models? Evidence on cognitive biases

A pervasive concern with the use of subjective data in choice models is that the data are biased and endogenous. This paper examines the extent to which cognitive biases plague subjective data, specifically addressing 1) whether cognitive dissonance affects the reporting of beliefs, and 2) whether individuals exert sufficient mental effort when probed about their subjective beliefs. For this purpose, I collect a unique panel data set of Northwestern University undergraduates that contains their subjective expectations about outcomes specific to different majors in their choice set. I do not ...
Staff Reports , Paper 454

Report
Importing equality? The effects of increased competition on the gender wage gap

It is now well documented that the gender wage gap declined substantially in the 1980s, despite rising overall wage inequality. While Blau and Kahn (JoLE 1997) attribute much of this improvement to gains in women's relative labor market experience and other observable characteristics, a substantial part of the decline in the gender wage gap remains unexplained, and may be due to reduced discrimination against women in the labor market. This paper tests the hypothesis (based on Becker 1957) that increased globalization in the 1980s forced employers to reduce costly discrimination against women ...
Staff Reports , Paper 74

Report
How do college students form expectations?

This paper focuses on how college students form expectations about various major-specific outcomes. For this purpose, I collect a panel data set of Northwestern University undergraduates that contains their subjective expectations about major-specific outcomes. Although students tend to be overconfident about their future academic performance, they revised their expectations in expected ways. The updating process is found to be consistent with a Bayesian learning model. I show that learning plays a role in the decision to switch majors, and that major-switchers respond to information from ...
Staff Reports , Paper 378

Working Paper
The Economic Gains from Equity

How much is inequity costing us? Using a simple growth accounting framework we apply standard shift-share techniques to data from the Current Population Survey (1990-2019) to compute the aggregate economic costs of persistent educational and labor market disparities by gender and race. We find significant economic losses associated with these gaps. Building on this finding, we consider which disparities generate the largest costs, paying specific attention to differences in employment, hours worked, educational attainment, educational utilization, and occupational allocation. We also examine ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2021-11

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