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Jel Classification:R23 

Journal Article
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 ...
Economic Policy Review , Volume 25 , Issue Dec

Report
SNAP: should we be worried about a sudden, sharp rise from low, long-term rates?

Despite the expectations of FOMC and market participants at the beginning of 2014 to the contrary, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury debt declined by about 50 basis points from 2.72 percent at the beginning of 2014 to 2.17 percent as of December 22, 2014. This raises the worrisome possibility that we might observe a sudden change in longer-term yields once the Federal Reserve announces an increase in short-term rates. In other words, longer-term rates could snap, very much as they did in the summer of 2013 after the tapering announcement, once the Fed announces its first short-term rate hike ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 14-11

Report
Informal work in the United States: evidence from survey responses

"Informal" work refers to temporary or occasional side jobs from which earnings are presumably not reported in full to the Internal Revenue Service and which typically do not constitute a dominant or complete source of income. Perhaps the most important reason for undertaking informal work is to offset negative income and employment shocks, such as reduced hours in a formal job, stagnant wages, or involuntary unemployment. Such negative shocks affected many Americans during the Great Recession, so it is important to determine the extent to which people engaged in informal work during this ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 14-13

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Changing patterns in informal work participation in the United States 2013–2015

In light of the weak labor market conditions in the United States from 2008 until recently, one might have expected that participation in alternative income-generating activities, such as informal side-jobs, would have increased during that period. By the same logic, participation in informal work should have declined more recently, as conditions in the formal labor market improved. However, recent technological innovations have created a number of new opportunities for engaging in informal work. Such innovations may have promoted structural increases in informal work participation; if so we ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 15-10

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Rhode Island in the Great Recession: factors contributing to its sharp downturn and slow recovery

This paper seeks to discover why Rhode Island experienced a more severe downturn during the Great Recession than any other New England state and why it continues to lag other states in the region and the nation as a whole in some measures of labor market health.
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 14-9

Report
Disaster (over-)insurance: the long-term financial and socioeconomic consequences of Hurricane Katrina

Federal disaster insurance?in the form of national flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other programs?is designed to nationally-distribute large geography-specific shocks like earthquakes and hurricanes. This study examines the local longrun net impact of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent policy response on impacted residents. Using a unique fifteen-year panel of five percent of adult Americans? credit reports, we find higher rates of insolvency and lower homeownership among inundated residents of New Orleans ten years after the storm, relative to their ...
Staff Reports , Paper 807

Report
Agglomeration and job matching among college graduates

We examine job matching as a potential source of urban agglomeration economies. Focusing on college graduates, we construct two direct measures of job matching based on how well an individual?s job corresponds to his or her college education. Consistent with matching-based theories of urban agglomeration, we find evidence that larger and thicker local labor markets increase both the likelihood and quality of a job match for college graduates. We then assess the extent to which better job matching of college-educated workers increases individual-level wages and thereby contributes to the urban ...
Staff Reports , Paper 587

Report
Population aging, migration spillovers, and the decline in interstate migration

We investigate the role of the aging of the U.S. population in the decline in interstate migration since the mid-1980s. Using an instrumental variables strategy on cross-state data, we show that an aging workforce causes the migration rates of all age groups in a state to drop. This demonstrates that the effect of aging on migration includes indirect effects that go beyond the direct effect of raising the workforce share of groups with lower migration rates. We then develop an island model in which firms can hire workers either locally or from other locations, and show that an aging ...
Staff Reports , Paper 699

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Shared knowledge and the coagglomeration of occupations

This paper provides an empirical analysis of the extent to which people in different occupations locate near one another, or coagglomerate. We construct pairwise Ellison-Glaeser coagglomeration indices for U.S. occupations and use these measures to investigate the factors influencing the geographic concentration of occupations. The analysis is conducted separately at the metropolitan area and state levels of geography. Empirical results reveal that occupations with similar knowledge requirements tend to coagglomerate and that the importance of this shared knowledge is larger in metropolitan ...
Staff Reports , Paper 612

Report
Geographical reallocation and unemployment during the Great Recession: the role of the housing bust

This paper quantitatively evaluates the hypothesis that the housing bust in 2007 decreased geographical reallocation and increased the dispersion and level of unemployment during the Great Recession. We construct an equilibrium model of multiple locations with frictional housing and labor markets. When house prices fall, the amount of home equity declines, making it harder for homeowners to afford the down payment on a new house after moving. Consequently, the decline in house prices reduces migration and causes unemployment to rise differently in different locations. The model accounts for ...
Staff Reports , Paper 605

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