Funded Research

Our funding interests are organized around the following four drivers of economic growth: macroeconomic policy, market structure, the labor market, and human capital. We consider proposals that investigate the consequences of economic inequality, as well as group dimensions of inequality; the causes of inequality to the extent that understanding these causal pathways will help us identify and understand key channels through which inequality may affect growth and stability; and the ways in which public policies affect the relationship between inequality and growth.

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The causal effect of antitrust enforcement

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $77,000

Grant Type: academic

This project will construct a comprehensive database of antitrust enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission against firms and individuals between 1890 and 2017. The authors will link this database to industry-level economic outcomes and to restricted firm-level tax records from the IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau, including the Economic Census, the Longitudinal Business Database, and the Standard Statistical Establishment List in order to measure the effect of antitrust enforcement on economic output. Two identification strategies will be used to measure the effect of antitrust enforcement. The first strategy involves investigating the appointment of Thurman Arnold to lead the DOJ Antitrust Division in a difference-in-difference framework, relying on detailed information about each case Arnold brought against firms. The second will use the modern-day random assignment of federal appellate judges to antitrust lawsuits and a Lasso-based econometric framework to measure the effect of procompetitive and anticompetitive judges on firms and industries.

Business dynamics on American Indian Reservations: Understanding the role of the gaming industry and secondary employment growth

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $70,000

Grant Type: academic

This project will investigate whether large-anchor economic development projects in relatively isolated rural areas provide spillover economic effects into other industries. Specifically, the authors will provide community-level analysis of business expansion and contraction by community type and characteristics for American Indian Reservations and adjacent communities. Using data going back to the 2000s, the project will examine the impact of the gaming industry on noncasino business establishments and their expansion (prior to the Great Recession of 2007–2009) in order to assess whether the development of the gaming industry has had a spillover impact on employment in these regions. The data allows the researchers to follow whether ancillary businesses (in the transportation, food services, retail operations, and lodging services industries) start up or expand in order to service the gaming industry. It will build upon previous data work allowing for the identification of whether an establishment is located on or off of an American Indian Reservation.

Does inflation inequality matter for monetary policy?

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $15,000

Grant Type: doctoral

This project will investigate how individual specific inflation rates affect the transmission of monetary policy. This research seeks to extend previous work to understand if inflation inequality matters for aggregate monetary policy response by using a quantitative model similar to Kaplan, Moll, and Violante to investigate how the joint-distribution between inflation rates and wealth (liquid and illiquid) matter for aggregate monetary policy response. Also, while inflation inequality between income groups and individuals differs over time, this work also seeks to uncover whether dispersion has increased, following income inequality trends. Nielsen Homescan consumer panel data will be used to measure household’s nondurable consumption.

The labor market consequences of ex-offender licensing laws

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $80,000

Grant Type: academic

This project will create a publicly available database of statutory and administrative laws governing the ability of ex-offenders to be granted an occupational license for all universally licensed occupations in the United States. The newly created time-series will be linked with Census microdata, including data from the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, and Survey of Income and Program Participation. The research team will then use the changes in these ex-offender occupational licensing laws over time and across states to estimate the impact of these laws on the labor market outcomes of workers, with particular attention to the labor market outcomes of minorities. There are very few high-quality studies of the impacts of such licensing laws on employment and earnings among individuals with felonies. This research creates a new, detailed, and valuable dataset of state occupational licensing laws, which will allow both this research team and future researchers to study the impact of these laws on wage and employment outcomes.

The missing intercept: A sufficient statistics approach to general equilibrium effects

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $15,000

Grant Type: doctoral

How can estimates of microlevel causal effects be mapped into general equilibrium counterfactuals? Using a derivation of the central general equilibrium invariance result, this work studies general equilibrium counterfactuals for income tax rebate stimulus. The project develops a theoretically valid approximation of general equilibrium effects of spending and investment shocks in business-cycle models. It then uses estimates of responses to certain types of shocks to develop estimates of the impact of certain types of policies, which include general equilibrium effects. This research will add to our understanding of the effect of stimulus tools on the macroeconomy.

Do social norms around pay influence the wage-setting behavior of firms?

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $70,000

Grant Type: academic

This project investigates the impact of wage increases at large employers in the United States. It will study the wages of other similarly skilled workers in the labor market exposed to one of these large employers in order to better understand how actions by firms, the government, and worker advocacy organizations influence wages in their local labor markets more broadly. This topic helps to contribute to our understanding of how to improve economic outcomes at the bottom of the earnings distribution. The research uses a difference-in-difference design and will compare outcomes for similarly skilled workers that are exposed versus not-exposed to one of the major employers when that employer changes its wage policy. They will use Burning Glass data to isolate spillovers from mechanical effects since they will be able to look at posted wages for employers that are not the ones changing their wage policy.

Funded research

Human Capital

How does economic inequality affect the development of human capital, and to what extent do aggregate trends in human capital explain inequality dynamics?

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Funded research

Macroeconomic Policy

What are the implications of inequality on the long-term stability of our economy and its growth potential?

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Funded research

Market Structure

Are markets becoming less competitive and, if so, why, and what are the larger implications?

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Funded research

The Labor Market

How does the labor market affect equitable growth? How does inequality in turn affect the labor market?

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