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The Industry-Occupation Mix of U.S. Job Openings and Hires

July 27, 2012 Comments off

The Industry-Occupation Mix of U.S. Job Openings and Hires (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

I introduce a method that combines data from the U.S. Current Population Survey, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and state-level Job Vacancy Surveys to construct annual estimates of the number of job openings in the U.S. in the Spring by industry and occupation. I present these estimates for 2005-2011. The results reveal that: (i) During the Great Recession job openings for all occupations declined. (ii) Job openings rates and vacancy yields vary a lot across occupations. (iii) Changes in the occupation mix of job openings and hires account for the bulk of the decline in measured aggregate match efficiency since 2007. (iv) The majority of job openings in all industries and occupations are filled with persons who previously did not work in the same industry or occupation.

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Roads to Prosperity or Bridges to Nowhere? Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Public Infrastructure Investment

June 7, 2012 Comments off

Roads to Prosperity or Bridges to Nowhere? Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Public Infrastructure Investment (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco/NBER

We examine the dynamic macroeconomic effects of public infrastructure investment both theoretically and empirically, using a novel data set we compiled on various highway spending measures. Relying on the institutional design of federal grant distributions among states, we construct a measure of government highway spending shocks that captures revisions in expectations about future government investment. We find that shocks to federal highway funding has a positive effect on local GDP both on impact and after 6 to 8 years, with the impact effect coming from shocks during (local) recessions. However, we find no permanent effect (as of 10 years after the shock). Similar impulse responses are found in a number of other macroeconomic variables. The transmission channel for these responses appears to be through initial funding leading to building, over several years, of public highway capital which then temporarily boosts private sector productivity and local demand. To help interpret these findings, we develop an open economy New Keynesian model with productive public capital in which regions are part of a monetary and fiscal union. We show that the presence of productive public capital in this model can yield impulse responses with the same qualitative pattern that we find empirically.

Do People Understand Monetary Policy?

February 26, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
We combine questions from the Michigan Survey about the future path of prices, interest rates, and unemployment to investigate whether U.S. households are aware of the so-called Taylor (1993) rule. For comparison, we perform the same analysis using questions from the Survey of Professional Forecasters. Our findings support the view that some households form their expectations about the future path of interest rates, inflation, and unemployment in a way that is consistent with Taylor-type rules. The extent to which this happens, however, does not appear to be uniform across income and education levels. In particular, we find evidence that the relationship between unemployment and interest rates is not properly understood by households in the lowest income quartile, and by those with no high school diploma. We also find evidence that the perceived effect of unemployment on interest rates is asymmetric, being relevant only for interest-rate decreases. Finally, we argue that the relationships we uncover can be given a causal interpretation.

Gender Ratios at Top PhD Programs in Economics

August 24, 2011 Comments off

Gender Ratios at Top PhD Programs in Economics
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Analyzing university faculty and graduate student data for the top-ten U.S. economics departments between 1987 and 2007, we find that there are persistent differences in gender composition for both faculty and graduate students across institutions and that the share of female faculty and the share of women in the entering PhD class are positively correlated. We find, using instrumental variables analysis, robust evidence that this correlation is driven by the causal effect of the female faculty share on the gender composition of the entering PhD class. This result provides an explanation for persistent underrepresentation of women in economics, as well as for persistent segregation of women across academic fields.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

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