Labor Market Changes and Wealth Inequality
Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Mark Price, Keystone Research Center
Building Wealth While Balancing Paid and Unpaid Work
AbstractWealth is unequally distributed by gender, with women having fewer saving than men throughout their working years and in retirement. While economists often look to economic risk in the financial market to understand this gender wealth gap, exposure to economic risk through the labor market and unpaid caregiving also impacts people's ability to build wealth. As labor market participation among women has increased, they have continued to have more responsibility for unpaid caregiving responsibilities than men. Along with being exposed to risks in an increasingly volatile labor market, women are disproportionately likely to have unexpected expenses associated with caregiving. Women's savings may suffer, since risk exposure associated with caregiving can be difficult to manage and - while potentially rewarding in other ways - is associated more with downside risk than upside economic gain.
This paper uses Survey of Consumer Finance (SCF) data from 1989 to 2016 to examine the link between caregiving responsibilities, labor market outcomes, and gendered wealth inequality.
Improving the Saver’s Credit for Low and Moderate Income Workers
AbstractEven though many people think that the gig economy exclusively employs millennials, the next time you hail an Uber, request a Lyft, rent an AirBnB or purchase on Etsy, you are just as likely be served by a baby boomer than by a millennial. Why? Baby boomers suffered a one-two punch during the Great Recession, as they were laid off at unprecedented rates and were unable to regain long-term full-time employment, while their 401(k) plans and IRA accounts tumbled. Unwilling forced into 'early retirement,' these boomers have turned to the gig economy to make ends meet during their golden years. In particular, the fastest growing cohort of gig economy participants are women baby boomers, who rely on the gig economy to make ends meet or allows them to pay their mortgage.
This paper will summarize the growth of boomers in the gig economy using data from gig economy platforms and explore the reasons for their participation in the gig economy. Specifically, this paper will examine the assets of baby boomers (including retirement savings), the liabilities held by boomers (including mortgage debt, credit card debt, student loans, and other debt), and the income sources of baby boomers using the 2014 panel of the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation.
Labor Unions and Wealth Inequality
AbstractMiddle-class wealth is increasingly inadequate for long-term economic security and wealth inequality is growing. At the same time, union membership has declined, which can be a key source of economic security for many middle-class workers. This paper analyzes data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, or SCF, showing that unions can play a role in increasing wealth for middle-class Americans. The authors examine the link between union membership and household wealth from 1989 to 2013, finding that union status and wealth correlate with each other. The authors also use multivariate regression to understand whether these findings hold when controlling for other important demographic characteristics, such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, and family status. Union members generally have higher wages and better benefits than nonunion members, but these things alone do not explain why union members have more savings relative to their incomes than nonunion members. It is possible that stable union jobs that offer access to training and career opportunities, make it easier for middle-class families to plan for their future, and thus increase their savings. In that sense, union membership can create a virtuous cycle for middle-class stability.
- J0 - General