Grant Category

The Labor Market

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

The labor market is one of the most important institutions determining economic growth and its distribution, as labor income is more than two-thirds of national income. Skill levels and the efficient matching of skills to jobs are key for economic growth. Yet the labor market is not a perfectly competitive market, but rather one that is regulated by a wide array of institutions that affect labor income and its distribution.

We need a better understanding of the two-way link between equitable growth and the labor market. How does the labor market affect equitable growth? How does inequality, in turn, affect the labor market?

  • The effect of the labor market on equitable growth
  • The effects of inequality on the labor market
  • The effects of productivity on the labor market

Explore the Grants We've Awarded

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Scheduling strategies for warehouse work

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $80,000

Grant Type: academic

This project will partner directly with a warehousing firm in order to: document the risks of certain schedules for subjective well-being and self-reported health for workers and specific demographic groups; document the relationships between work schedules and turnover for workers and for specific demographic groups; quantify the costs of current scheduling practices for the organization by building a more systemic view of the interdependencies of scheduling, absenteeism, productivity, and turnover; and develop and evaluate a workplace intervention targeting workers’ control over their schedules using a cluster-randomized trial.

Understanding the incidence of minimum wage increases

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $60,000

Grant Type: academic

This project aims to understand how firms accommodate increases in the minimum wage by using granular compensation data that the research team will construct by merging the individual tax returns of all employees and contractors of a firm to the business tax return of the firm. These data allow for an exploration of how changes in the minimum wage affect the full distribution of employee and contractor compensation within affected firms, including changes in employment and income. They will look at which kinds of workers, if any, lose or gain employment following increases in the minimum wage and how the incomes of covered and uncovered workers, as well as firm owners, are affected. Notably, the 17-year data panel will enable them to study dozens of minimum wage increases legislated at the federal, state, and substate level.

Between exclusion and cumulative advantage: Effects of within-organization mobility on inequality

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $30,510, co-funded with the Russell Sage Foundation

Grant Type: academic

This research seeks to empirically disentangle and quantify job moves that occur within versus between employers. It utilizes two main sources of data: the Current Population Survey and restricted versions of the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The project investigates the extent to which aggregate trends in wage inequality are the result of increased within-organization job mobility and whether this shift has disproportionately benefited high-income/high-skill workers. It will also account for heterogeneity of outcomes among low-skilled/low-educated workers by exploring under what conditions less-educated workers benefit from internal labor markets and whether these conditions vary systematically by industry, occupation, or region.

New evidence on local minimum wage laws and earnings inequality

Grant Year: 2019

Grant Amount: $50,000

Grant Type: academic

The research team will develop the Washington Merged Longitudinal Administrative Data, which will link demographic information to employment records, and public program administrative data. It will construct households from these state-level data, including the creation of detailed documentation and testing that will allow other scholars to replicate these methodological innovations for analysis of a host of policy interventions on household income and program participation.

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.

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.

Experts

Grantee

Stephen Woodbury

Michigan State University

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Jess Benhabib

New York University

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Ammar Farooq

Ernst & Young LLC

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Samir Sonti

University of California, Santa Barbara

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Stefanie Stantcheva

Harvard University

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