Leaders: Gregory Acs, David Card, Michael Hout, Jesse Rothstein
The labor market was of course hit very heavily by the Great Recession, as evidenced by (a) the slow recovery of the unemployment rate, (b) and the even slower recovery of the long-term unemployment rate and the prime-age employment ratio (defined as the ratio of employed 25-54 year-olds to the population of that same age). This “jobs problem,” which is especially prominent among low-skill workers, has led to a sharp rise in the number of poor households without any working adults. It also underlies, in part, the sharp increase in the number of disability insurance claims and awards, which in turn has further reduced the supply of labor among low-skilled individuals.
If the first type of “jobs problem” is that there still are not enough of them, the second is that the jobs that are available do not always provide the requisite hours, wages, or security that are needed for a sure pathway out of poverty. As a result, low-skill individuals are not just working less but, even when they are working, there is no guarantee that their jobs will lift them and their families out of poverty. The Labor Markets RG is tasked with conducting research on these and related problems and exploiting administrative and other data to assess possible policy responses to them. We list below a few examples of the work being carried out in this group.
Long-run effects of work incentives: As nonworking poverty increases, the U.S. might well want to turn to new types of work incentive programs. Have these programs worked elsewhere?
Minimum wages and poverty: Throughout the west coast, there are a host of minimum wage “experiments” underway, experiments that have the potential to reset the low-wage labor market in quite fundamental ways. How are these experiments playing out?
Labor Markets - CPI Research
|The Persistence of Extreme Gender Segregation in the Twenty-First Century||Asaf Levanon, David B. Grusky||
The Persistence of Extreme Gender Segregation in the Twenty-First CenturyAuthor: Asaf Levanon, David B. Grusky
Publisher: American Journal of Sociology
Why is there so much occupational sex segregation in the 21st century? The authors cast light on this question by using the O*NET archive of occupation traits to operationalize the concepts of essentialism and vertical inequality more exhaustively than in past research. When the new model is applied to recent U.S. Census data, the results show that much vertical segregation remains even after the physical, analytic, and interactional forms of essentialism are controlled; that essentialism nonetheless accounts for much more of total segregation than does vertical inequality; that the physical and interactional forms of segregation are especially strong; that the physical form of essentialism is one of the few examples of female-advantaging segregation; and that essentialism takes on a fractal structure that generates much finely detailed segregation at detailed occupational levels. The authors conclude by discussing how essentialist processes partly account for the intransigence of occupational sex segregation.
|Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States||Marianne Bitler, Hilary Hoynes, Elira Kuka||
Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United StatesAuthor: Marianne Bitler, Hilary Hoynes, Elira Kuka
In this paper, we comprehensively examine the effects of the Great Recession on child poverty, with particular attention to the role of the social safety net in mitigating the adverse effects of shocks to earnings and income. Using a state panel data model and data for 2000 to 2014, we estimate the relationship between the business cycle and child poverty, and we examine how and to what extent the safety net is providing protection to at-risk children. We find compelling evidence that the safety net provides protection; that is, the cyclicality of after-tax-and-transfer child poverty is significantly attenuated relative to the cyclicality of private income poverty. We also find that the protective effect of the safety net is not similar across demographic groups, and that children from more disadvantaged backgrounds, such as those living with non-Hispanic black or Hispanic, single, or particularly immigrant household heads-or immigrant spouses, experience larger poverty cyclicality than non-Hispanic white, married, or native household heads with native spouses. Our findings hold across a host of choices for how to define poverty. These include measures based on absolute thresholds or more relative thresholds. They also hold for measures of resources that include not only cash and near cash transfers net of taxes but also several measures of medical benefits.
|The Great Recession and the Labor Market||Beth Red Bird, David B. Grusky||
The Great Recession and the Labor MarketAuthor: Beth Red Bird, David B. Grusky
Publisher: Annual Review of Sociology
We review the main labor market trends during the Great Recession, the ways in which those trends have been organized into narratives about the Great Recession, the effects of the Great Recession on individual-level behaviors and decisions, the causes of the key labor market dysfunctions of the Great Recession, and the most important economic and noneconomic forces that are likely to generate recessions and other labor market problems in the future.
|The Effects of Job Insecurity on Health Care Utilization: Findings from a Panel of U.S. Workers||Rita Hamad , Sepideh Modrek, Mark R. Cullen||
The Effects of Job Insecurity on Health Care Utilization: Findings from a Panel of U.S. WorkersAuthor: Rita Hamad , Sepideh Modrek, Mark R. Cullen
Publisher: Health Services Research
To examine the impacts of job insecurity during the recession of 2007–2009 on health care utilization among a panel of U.S. employees.
Data Sources/Study Setting
Linked administrative and claims datasets on a panel of continuously employed, continuously insured individuals at a large multisite manufacturing firm that experienced widespread layoffs (N = 9,486).
We employed segmented regressions to examine temporal discontinuities in utilization during 2006–2012. To assess the effects of job insecurity, we compared individuals at high- and low-layoff plants. Because the dataset includes multiple observations for each individual, we included individual-level fixed effects.
We found discontinuous increases in outpatient (3.5 visits/month/10,000 individuals, p = .002) and emergency (0.4 visits/month/10,000 individuals, p = .05) utilization in the panel of all employees. Compared with individuals at low-layoff plants, individuals at high-layoff plants decreased outpatient utilization (−4.0 visits/month/10,000 individuals, p = .008), suggesting foregone preventive care, with a marginally significant increase in emergency utilization (0.4 visits/month/10,000 individuals, p = .08).
These results suggest changes in health care utilization and potentially adverse impacts on employee health in response to job insecurity during the latest recession. This study contributes to our understanding of the impacts of economic crises on the health of the U.S. working population.
|Long-Run Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net||Hilary Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach , Douglas Almond||
Long-Run Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety NetAuthor: Hilary Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach , Douglas Almond
Publisher: American Economic Review
We examine the impact of a positive and policy-driven change in economic resources available in utero and during childhood. We focus on the introduction of the Food Stamp Program, which was rolled out across counties between 1961 and 1975. We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to assemble unique data linking family background and county of residence in early childhood to adult health and economic outcomes. Our findings indicate access to food stamps in childhood leads to a significant reduction in the incidence of metabolic syndrome and, for women, an increase in economic self-sufficiency.
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Labor Markets - CPI Affiliates
|David Card||Labor Markets Research Group Leader; Class of 1950 Professor of Economics||University of California, Berkeley|
|Gregory Acs||Labor Markets Research Group Leader; Director of Income and Benefits Policy Center||The Urban Institute|
|Jesse Rothstein||Labor Markets Research Group Leader; Professor of Public Policy and Economics; Director of Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)||University of California, Berkeley|
|Michael Hout||Labor Markets Research Group Leader; Professor of Sociology||New York University|
|Cecilia Elena Rouse||Dean, Woodrow Wilson School; Lawrence and Shirley Katzman and Lewis and Anna Ernst Professor in the Economics of Education||Princeton University|
Labor Markets - Other Research
|Intimate Partner Violence in the Great Recession||Antonina Pavlenko||
Intimate Partner Violence in the Great RecessionAuthor: Antonina Pavlenko
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
The study revealed that rapid increases in unemployment rates during the Great Recession were associated with increases in men's abusive behavior. This association persisted even after individual and household-level experiences with unemployment and material hardship were controlled for. The authors argue that these results indicate that economic uncertainty plays an important role in relationship dynamics, above and beyond its direct effects on job loss and material hardship.
This brief was published as part of our Recession Trends initiative.
|Cash on the Table: Why Traditional Theories of Market Failure Fail||Robert H. Frank||
Cash on the Table: Why Traditional Theories of Market Failure FailAuthor: Robert H. Frank
Publisher: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Many modern progressives attribute the market's failings to conspiracies by powerful corporate actors to exploit workers and consumers. In this paper I defend the claim that many of the same failures are instead often rooted in competition among individuals for relative advantage. In the familiar stadium metaphor, all stand to get a better view, only to discover that no one sees any better than if all had remained comfortably seated. Analogous discrepancies between individual and collective incentives help explain the presence of overtime laws, workplace safety regulations, and many other institutional features of the modern welfare state. These features would be useful even if all consumers were perfectly informed and rational and markets took the perfectly competitive ideal form described in textbooks.
|International Migration and National Development: From Orthodox Equilibrium to Transnationalism||Alejandro Portes||
International Migration and National Development: From Orthodox Equilibrium to TransnationalismAuthor: Alejandro Portes
Publisher: Sociology of Development
This article reviews theoretical perspectives on migration and development, starting with nineteenth-century political economy theories focused on “colonizing” migrations from England and other European powers and concluding with the emerging literature on immigrant transnationalism and its consequences for sending nations. The general concept of equilibrium has until currently dominated orthodox economic theories of both colonizing and labor migrations from peripheral regions to advanced nations. The counteroffensive, led by Gunnar Myrdal and theorists of the dependency school, centered on the notion of cumulative causation leading to increasing poverty and the depopulation of peripheral sending areas. Both perspectives registered numerous empirical anomalies, stemming from a common view of migration flows as occurring between separate politico-economic entities. An alternative conceptualization of such flows as internal to an overarching global system has improved our understanding of causes and consequences of labor migration and has framed the back-and-forth complexities of these movements captured in the novel notion of transnationalism.
|Social Mobility Among Second-Generation Latinos||Van C. Tran||
Social Mobility Among Second-Generation LatinosAuthor: Van C. Tran
New data shows that Latinos weathered the recession well and are poised to seize opportunities for further social mobility.
|A Most Egalitarian Profession: Pharmacy and the Evolution of a Family-Friendly Occupation||Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz||
A Most Egalitarian Profession: Pharmacy and the Evolution of a Family-Friendly OccupationAuthor: Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz
Publisher: Journal of Labor Economics
Pharmacy today is a highly remunerated female-majority profession with a small gender earnings gap and low earnings dispersion. Using extensive surveys of pharmacists, as well as the US Census, American Community Surveys, and Current Population Surveys, we explore the gender earnings gap, penalty to part-time work, demographics of pharmacists relative to other college graduates, and evolution of the profession during the last half-century. Technological changes increasing substitutability among pharmacists, growth of pharmacy employment in retail chains and hospitals, and related decline of independent pharmacies reduced the penalty to part-time work and contribute to the narrow gender earnings gap in pharmacy.
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