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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.

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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.

The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture

September 17, 2014 Comments off

The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

This paper explores the role of cultural attitudes towards women in determining math educational gender gaps using the epidemiological approach. To identify whether culture matters, we estimate whether the math gender gap for each immigrant group living in a particular host country (and exposed to the same host country’s laws and institutions) is explained by measures of gender equality in the parents’ country of ancestry. We find that the higher the degree of gender equality in the country of ancestry, the higher the performance of second-generation immigrant girls relative to boys. This result is robust to alternative specifications, measures of gender equality and the inclusion of other human development indicators in the country of ancestry. The transmission of culture is higher among those in schools with a higher proportion of immigrants or in co-educational schools. Our results suggest that policies aimed at changing beliefs can prove effective in reducing the gender gap in mathematics.

Introduction to A Theory of the Allocation of Time by Gary Becker

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Introduction to A Theory of the Allocation of Time by Gary Becker (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Gary Becker’s classic study, A Theory of the Allocation of Time, laid the analytical foundations for the study of household production and the allocation of time within the household. The analytical framework of household production theory developed in this paper remained a pillar of his later work on the economics of the family and the economics of nonmarket activities more generally. Becker provided a formal model of households producing outputs like food, children, and housing that bundled goods and time. Becker’s great contribution was to apply the model to interpret a broad array of empirical phenomena. Becker’s framework allowed for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of consumer choice, and interpretation of income and substitution effects. Its continuing relevance in empirical economics is a testimony to its power.

Long Workweeks and Strange Hours

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Long Workweeks and Strange Hours (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

American workweeks are long compared to other rich countries’. Much less well-known is that Americans are more likely to work at night and on weekends. We examine the relationship between these two phenomena using the American Time Use Survey and time-diary data from 5 other countries. Adjusting for demographic differences, Americans’ incidence of night and weekend work would drop by about 10 percent if European workweeks prevailed. Even if no Americans worked long hours, the incidence of unusual work times in the U.S. would far exceed those in continental Europe.

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