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Archive for the ‘Institute for the Study of Labor’ Category

Rise of the Machines: The Effects of Labor-Saving Innovations on Jobs and Wages

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Rise of the Machines: The Effects of Labor-Saving Innovations on Jobs and Wages (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

How do firms respond to technological advances that facilitate the automation of tasks? Which tasks will they automate, and what types of worker will be replaced as a result? We present a model that distinguishes between a task’s engineering complexity and its training requirements. When two tasks are equally complex, firms will automate the task that requires more training and in which labor is hence more expensive. Under quite general conditions this leads to job polarization, a decline in middle wage jobs relative to both high and low wage jobs. Our theory explains recent and historical instances of job polarization as caused by labor-replacing technologies, such as computers, the electric motor, and the steam engine, respectively. The model makes novel predictions regarding occupational training requirements, which we find to be consistent with US data.

The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police

February 11, 2015 Comments off

The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Over a million people in the United States are employed in private security and law enforcement, yet very little is known about the effects of private police on crime. The current study examines the relationship between a privately-funded university police force and crime in a large U.S. city. Following an expansion of the jurisdictional boundary of the private police force, we see no short-term change in crime. However, using a geographic regression discontinuity approach, we find large impacts of private police on public safety, with violent crime in particular decreasing. These contradictory results appear to be a consequence of delayed effect of private police on crime.

Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?

December 22, 2014 Comments off

Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Substitutes for marital sexual gratification may impact the decision to marry. Proliferation of the Internet has made pornography an increasingly low-cost substitute. We investigate the effect of Internet usage, and of pornography consumption specifically, on the marital status of young men. We show that increased Internet usage is negatively associated with marriage formation. Pornography consumption specifically has an even stronger effect. Instrumental variables and a number of robustness checks suggest that the effect is causal.

Too Busy for School? The Effect of Athletic Participation on Absenteeism

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Too Busy for School? The Effect of Athletic Participation on Absenteeism (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

While existing research supports that participation in high-school athletics is associated with better education and labour-market outcomes, the mechanisms through which these benefits accrue are not well established. We use data from a large public-school district to retrieve an estimate of the causal effect of high-school athletic participation on absenteeism. We show that active competition decreases absences, with most of the effect driven by reductions in unexcused absences – truancy among active male athletes declines significantly, with the effects larger in earlier grades and for black and Hispanic boys. Strong game-day effects are also evident, in both boys and girls, as truancy declines on game days are offset with higher rates of absenteeism the following day. Addressing the effects on academic performance, we find significant heterogeneity in the response to active athletic participation by race, gender and family structure, with boys not in dual-parent households exhibiting small academic improvements in semesters in which they experienced greater athletic participation.

Convergences in Men’s and Women’s Life Patterns: Lifetime Work, Lifetime Earnings, and Human Capital Investment

October 7, 2014 Comments off

Convergences in Men’s and Women’s Life Patterns: Lifetime Work, Lifetime Earnings, and Human Capital Investment (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

The changes in women and men’s work lives have been considerable in recent decades. Yet much of the recent research on gender differences in employment and earnings has been of a more snapshot nature rather than taking a longer comparative look at evolving patterns. In this paper, we use 50 years (1964-2013) of US Census Annual Demographic Files (March Current Population Survey) to track the changing returns to human capital (measured as both educational attainment and potential work experience), estimating comparable earnings equations by gender at each point in time. We consider the effects of sample selection over time for both women and men and show the rising effect of selection for women in recent years. Returns to education diverge for women and men over this period in the selection-adjusted results but converge in the OLS results, while returns to potential experience converge in both sets of results. We also create annual calculations of synthetic lifetime labor force participation, hours, and earnings that indicate convergence by gender in worklife patterns, but less convergence in recent years in lifetime earnings. Thus, while some convergence has indeed occurred, the underlying mechanisms causing convergence differ for women and men, reflecting continued fundamental differences in women’s and men’s life experiences.

The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Youth Labour Markets

September 26, 2014 Comments off

The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Youth Labour Markets (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

This paper investigates the impact of the GFC on youth unemployment and long term unemployment. In particular, we study whether the GFC had a bigger impact on youths than adults, and whether youth unemployment rates increased due to an increase in youth wages relative to adult wages. To anticipate our results, we find that the youth unemployment rates increased significantly more than that of adults even though youth wages had been falling relative to adult wages.

Who Cares – and Does It Matter? Measuring Wage Penalties for Caring Work

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Who Cares – and Does It Matter? Measuring Wage Penalties for Caring Work (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Economists and sociologists have proposed arguments for why there can exist wage penalties for work involving helping and caring for others, penalties borne disproportionately by women. Evidence on wage penalties is neither abundant nor compelling. We examine wage differentials associated with caring jobs using multiple years of Current Population Survey (CPS) earnings files matched to O*NET job descriptors that provide continuous measures of ‘assisting and caring’ and ‘concern’ for others across all occupations. This approach differs from prior studies that assume occupations either do or do not require a high level of caring. Cross-section and longitudinal analyses are used to examine wage differences associated with the level of caring, conditioned on worker, location, and job attributes. Wage level estimates suggest substantive caring penalties, particularly among men. Longitudinal estimates based on wage changes among job switchers indicate smaller wage penalties, our preferred estimate being a 2 percent wage penalty resulting from a one standard deviation increase in our caring index. We find little difference in caring wage gaps across the earnings distribution. Measuring mean levels of caring across the U.S. labor market over nearly thirty years, we find a steady upward trend, but overall changes are small and there is no evidence of convergence between women and men.

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