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LERA Best Papers VI: Worker Preferences, Sorting, and Mismatch

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM (CST)

Hilton Riverside, Bridge
Hosted By: Labor and Employment Relations Association
  • Chair: Brad Hershbein, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Occupational Sorting, Multidimensional Skill Mismatch, and the Child Penalty among Working Mothers

Gabrielle Pepin
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Bryce VanderBerg
U.S. Census Bureau


We study the extent to which occupational sorting explains child penalties (gender gaps in labor market outcomes due to children) among working parents. Using an event-study approach and data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY) 1979 and 1997, we estimate that children generate long-run earnings gaps of over $200 per week among working parents. In the NLSY79, we find that children lead mothers to sort into lower-paying occupations in which employees tend to work fewer hours. We estimate that children increase multidimensional occupation-skill mismatch among working mothers by 0.3 standard deviations, relative both to their own levels of mismatch from before birth and to those of fathers. In the NLSY97, results suggest that improvements in labor market outcomes among fathers in response to children, rather than a worsening of labor market outcomes among mothers, seem to drive child penalties.

Who Continues to Work from Home?

Ting Zhang
University of Baltimore


The COVID-19 pandemic has made working from home a new norm of our society. While more and more people are vaccinated and people are recovering from the pandemic, many of us cannot wait to return to our traditional work norm. Yet, many continue working from home. Who continues to work from home is a question that employers and hiring managers would like to figure out. It is not only important to human resource management, but also critical to business resource allocation, budgeting, and planning. This paper first builds a straightforward theory based on firms' profit maximization theory and individual workers' utility maximization theory and then adopt multilevel causal-inferential modeling to test the relevant factors leading to continued working from home. The study relies on a well-representative up-to-date real-time microdata sample from the US Census Bureau. Multiple individual attributes and contextual socioeconomic factors are identified with nuances for policy implications.

JEL: J22, J28, L16

A Comparison of Living Standards Across the United States of America

Elena Falcettoni
Federal Reserve Board
Vegard Nygaard
University of Houston


We use an expected utility model to examine how living standards, or welfare, vary across the United States and how each state's welfare has evolved over time, accounting for cross-state variations in mortality, consumption, education, leisure, and inequality. We find considerable cross-state heterogeneity in welfare levels. This is robust to allowing for endogenous interstate migration and to computing welfare conditional on education, gender, and race. Although states experienced heterogeneous welfare growth rates between 1999 and 2015 (1.68-3.73% per year), there is no evidence of convergence in welfare levels, including during the subperiods preceding and following the Great Recession.

Amalia Miller
University of Virginia
Lonnie Golden
Pennsylvania State University
Julie Hotchkiss
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
JEL Classifications
  • J0 - General
  • J3 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs