Labor Market Policy Research Reports, November 2018

November 14, 2018

Hayley Brown

CEPR regularly publishes a curated collection of original research from academic institutions and nonprofits on the state of the US labor market. The compilation is part of our ongoing effort to promote informed debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives.

The Brookings Institution

Learning from Opportunity Zones: How To Improve Place-Based Policies

Congress’ 2017 tax bill sought to funnel investment to economically distressed neighborhoods by creating Opportunity Zones. However, broad criteria for inclusion gave state decision makers considerable latitude in their selection processes. Some of the designated areas appear to be truly disadvantaged, but many are not. While the program’s design already constrains its benefits for impoverished residents, lackluster geographic targeting further limits its potential.

Work Requirements and Safety Net Programs

This analysis adds to the growing body of evidence that suggests that the subset of SNAP and Medicaid participants targeted for work requirements is vanishing. Meanwhile, the proposed work requirements would disproportionately burden those who are already working or who are legitimately unable to work.

Center for American Progress (CAP)

The Realities of Economic Development Subsidies

Governments play only a partial role in determining where businesses locate and whom they hire, but many politicians are eager to provide incentives to draw companies to their localities. The financial and opportunity costs associated with these subsidies, such as reduced public services and broken promises by recipients, are too often minimized or ignored.

Redesigning High School: Local Perspectives From Schools and Districts

Schools and districts across the country are redesigning high school to engage students and prepare them for success after graduation. Many are taking unique approaches to increase readiness for college and career within their local communities.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

Chart Book: The Legacy of the Great Recession

This report uses charts to document recovery following the Great Recession that took place between December 2007 and June 2009. It evaluates the damage caused and the effectiveness of the financial stabilization and fiscal stimulus policies in ameliorating that damage.

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Voluntary Part-Time Employment and the Affordable Care Act: What Do Workers Do With Their Extra Time?

There was a substantial increase in voluntary part-time employment in the years immediately after the main provisions of the ACA took effect, particularly among young women. This study uses data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to assess how people voluntarily employed part-time use the time freed up from work.

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE)

California’s ECE Workforce: What We Know Now and the Data Deficit That Remains

In light of deficient state-level workforce data, the authors provide three recent, if not comprehensive, sources of information about the California early childhood workforce: 1) local workforce data from three counties; 2) annual federal data collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics; and, 3) California-specific data drawn from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education.

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Ability to Benefit: Developing a State-Defined Process

The third installment of the Maximizing the Power of Career Pathways series encourages the development of state-defined processes for Ability to Benefit (ATB) provisions that make financial aid available to people without a high school diploma or its equivalent. The author argues that state processes could provide additional funding streams for workforce training, and better tailor programs to align with workforce needs and other state initiatives.

Advancing Racial Equity through Career Pathways: Community-Centered Solutions

The final segment of the Maximizing the Power of Career Pathways series asserts that the purpose of federal investments in education and workforce development is to advance racial equity, and that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) should be utilized accordingly.

Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

The China Toll Deepens: Growth in the Bilateral Trade Deficit Between 2001 and 2017 Cost 3.4 Million U.S. Jobs, With Losses in Every State and Congressional District

This report attributes much of the comparative lack of recovery in US manufacturing employment to the growth of the US trade deficit with China since the beginning of the Great Recession. The authors note that the growing trade deficit with China since China entered the WTO has affected different regions of the US in different ways, with some devastated by layoffs, and others surviving but not flourishing as they otherwise might be.

The Unfinished Business of Health Reform: Reining in Market Power to Restrain Costs Without Sacrificing Quality or Access

Rapid growth in the cost of US health care has put sustained downward pressure on wages and incomes without corresponding improvements in the quality of care. The authors of this report identify high prices for pharmaceuticals, physician salaries, and medical procedures as potential cost-drivers of US health care compared to peer countries.

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Unemployment

This paper analyzes the relationship between business cycles and increases in credit access over the last three decades. The author finds that cyclical credit fluctuations became more important determinants of employment dynamics as they affected larger shares of the population.

Long Time Out: Unemployment and Joblessness in Canada and the United States

The authors compare patterns of unemployment and joblessness between Canada and the United States during the Great Recession. They document how the US labor market has evolved since March 2013, and present evidence showing that Canada, unlike the United States, did not experience a decline in the rate at which non-participants transitioned back into employment. They attribute this difference in part to the greater severity of the Recession in the United States than in Canada.

Minimum Wages and the Distribution of Family Incomes

Using Current Population Survey data, this study finds robust evidence that higher minimum wages increase family incomes at the bottom of the distribution. Income gains are partially offset by reductions in public assistance, which on average are reduced by about a third, but an expanded income definition including tax credits and non-cash transfers still finds a net gain.

The Value of Working Conditions in the United States and Implications for the Structure of Wages

The authors use evidence from a series of stated-preference experiments to document variation in working conditions among workers in the United States, present new estimates of how workers value these conditions, and assess the impact of working conditions on estimates of the wage structure and inequality.  They estimate workers’ willingness-to-pay for a broad set of job characteristics, which they then validate with actual job choices.

National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)

Overdue for Investment: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2018

High-quality child care strengthens the current and future workforce, allowing parents to work to support their families and providing a safe and nurturing environment for children to develop crucial skills. However, high costs strain families’ budgets and may prevent parents from working or force parents to use lower-cost care even when it is not as well-suited to their child. This report examines several key areas of states’ child care assistance policies, including eligibility criteria, waiting lists, co-payment requirements, and provider payment rates. It finds only limited progress within the last year, and suggests that the new funding approved by Congress in March 2018 will lessen but not close longstanding gaps.

UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center)

Job Quality in a Meal-Kit Fulfillment Center

Based on firsthand accounts from workers and focus groups in a refrigerated fulfillment center in California, researchers conclude that many of the jobs created by meal-kit startups in California lack quality. Workers struggle with low wages, unaffordable benefits, unpredictable hours, inconsistent wage increase policies, injury risk, and recurrent problems with payment timeliness.

Estimated Impact of a Proposed Minimum Wage Law for the North Bay

This paper analyzes the prospective impact of raising the citywide minimum wage to $15 by 2020 in the four North Bay counties — Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano. It also reviews the existing economic literature on minimum wage increases across the country.

Urban Institute

The Effect of the US Safety Net on Material Hardship

Using monthly data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the authors examine the combined effects of safety net programs and minimum wage policies on low-income families with children. They find evidence that programs such as TANF, SNAP, and public health insurance have nearly halved material hardship over the last quarter century.

How Have Workers Fared Under the ACA?

The authors assess the labor market consequences of the coverage provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Using data across occupations from 2010 to 2016, they find no association between coverage gains and unemployment, hours worked, or weekly earnings.

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