Should I Stay or Should I Go? Drivers of Work, Wages, and Inactivity
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Brian Sloboda, University of Phoenix
What Are We Searching For? Estimating the Returns to Job Search
AbstractJob search models often assume that higher levels of search intensity increase reemployment probabilities and wages among unemployed individuals. However, there is little empirical evidence to confirm this, since no nationally representative datasets for the United States have historically provided clear indicators of both search intensity and reemployment wages. To address this limitation, we merge the American Time Use Survey, which is the leading source of how Americans spend their time, with administrative data on earnings to examine how search intensity affects reemployment outcomes. Our findings suggest that there are large returns to job search for lower-skilled individuals and no return for higher-skilled individuals. The findings are important as they suggest that job search intensity should not be viewed as a positive indicator of reemployment outcomes for most individuals. We also find no evidence that search intensity is correlated with returning to a previous employer or becoming self-employed. However, we find some evidence that graduate degree holders who search more intensively during unemployment are more likely to enter low growth firms and less likely to enter high growth firms, pointing to a lower rung on the job ladder upon reentry.
Stay-at-Work Strategies and Evidence
AbstractThe Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are exploring early interventions to help Americans continue to work after experiencing an injury or illness, and not to apply for long-term disability benefits. Policy initiatives that would encourage workers with disabilities to remain attached to the labor force could benefit workers, employers, and society. Workers benefit when they keep working, maintain productivity, and sustain their standard of living. Employers benefit from an experienced workforce and from avoiding the costs of hiring and training new workers. Society benefits if workers remain at work rather than applying for federal disability benefits. SSA seeks to stem the flow of workers out of the labor force and into disability benefit receipt in part because the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund is slated to be exhausted in 2028. SSDI is the nation’s primary earnings-replacement program for workers who become unable to work substantially due to long-term or terminal physical or mental conditions, and have enough work history to be insured. The costs of the programs are rising relative to revenues, and in 2017, the SSDI program paid $143 billion in cash benefits to approximately 9 million disabled workers and 2 million of their spouses and disabled children. Workers with disabilities have been exiting the labor force and entering SSDI at high rates since the early 1990s, and while recent declines have postponed the exhaustion of the SSDI Trust Fund, inaction is not an option. A second program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has the same medical criteria, but replaces a recent work history requirement with an income and assets test (SSDI serves recently active workers, while SSI serves poor workers). We review the evidence on a variety of program models for early interventions to promote work and deter SSDI/SSI application, and describe innovations in this field. The best available evidence favors a behavioral economics lens, with government intervention focused on correcting information barriers and failures of time-consistent decision making.
Xboxes and Ex-workers? Gaming and Labor Supply of Young Adult Men
AbstractOne popular hypothesis holds that the increasing appeal of video games over the last decade has led men to reduce working hours. I examine American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data in detail, documenting the extent of the increase in gaming. I note that increasing gaming time is offset by decreasing time spent watching television, movies, and streaming video. Moreover, I find that the observed trend is consistent with an alternative explanation, that a shift in social norms rendered playing video games more acceptable at later ages, particularly for non-employed men. The increase in gaming is concentrated among men living with parents, and is not uniform for all ages of young adults. The data further suggest that men exiting the work force do not exhibit significant preferences for gaming leisure. Overall, the evidence suggests that while young men have dramatically increased the amount of time they spend gaming over the past decade and a half, their decreasing levels of employment and labor force participation are more likely to result from changes in labor demand.
- J0 - General
- H0 - General