Understanding men’s nonemployment using longitudinal data: Wage opportunities, employment dynamics, and long-term effects
For more than a quarter of a century, one of the central questions in empirical academic and policy research on the U.S. labor market concerns the long-term decline in male employment rates. Existing research has documented patterns and trends in employment rates but almost entirely using cross-sectional data. A critical open question is what the decline in employment measured on an annual basis reflects in terms of an individual’s employment trajectory. This project tackles this question by incorporating longitudinal analysis (through the Panel Study of Income Dynamics) and pseudo-panel techniques (via cohort analysis using the Current Population Survey). By looking at the wages of the sometimes-nonemployed, this project will yield a better answer to the question of how much of the reduction in prime-age employment over recent decades can be explained by declining wages. This is critical to understanding the extent to which changes in labor demand (which have reduced wages for sets of workers) versus changes in labor supply elasticities (which have potentially lowered labor supply for a given wage) explain reductions in prime-age employment.