Weekend reading: “jobs and skills” edition

This is a weekly post we publish on Fridays with links to articles that touch on economic inequality and growth. The first section is a round-up of what Equitable Growth published this week and the second is the work we’re highlighting from elsewhere. We won’t be the first to share these articles, but we hope by taking a look back at the whole week, we can put them in context.

Equitable Growth round-up

How do new technologies affect the kinds of skills employers are looking for? In a new Equitable Growth Working Paper, economists Enghin Atalay, Phai Phongthiengtham, Sebastian Sotelo, and Daniel Tannenbaum create a new data series looking at job ads from 1960 to 2000. Nisha Chikhale summarizes the paper, which finds that new technologies increased income inequality over the second half of the 20th century. The one exception to this finding: Microsoft Office.

Early this morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the health of the labor market in April. Equitable Growth staff pick out five key graphs using data from the report.

Equitable Growth hosted the third installment of its “Research on Tap” conversation series—a space for drinks, dialog, and debate. The event followed the release of Equitable Growth’s latest report about gender wage inequality, and it brought together leading academics, policymakers, and advocates for an informal discussion about the causes of gender pay inequality; the economic consequences for individuals, families, and the broader U.S. economy; and the range of potential policy solutions. Here are the highlights.

Links from around the web

Claire Cain Miller writes about a new policy tool with the potential to reduce gender pay inequality: bans on employers asking about salary history. The idea is new enough that not much research on it exists, but there’s reason to think it could help reduce the pay gap. [the upshot]

Should policymakers who want to boost the wages and benefits of workers care about small business? Stacy Mitchell argues that many of the purported benefits of working at a large employer are overhyped or have diminished. [ilsr]

About three years ago Finland announced it would launch a test pilot of a universal basic income program. With the program wrapping up, Eillie Anzilotti writes that it was not a true UBI program and won’t tell us much about how UBI would work. [fast company]

Should we be concerned about trade deficits? Equitable Growth Steering Committee member Jason Furman argues for a modest amount of concern, but notes that it’s the actions of the United States that raise issues. [wsj]

Macroeconomists aren’t likely to understand exactly what causes recessions anytime soon, but Noah Smith notes that they are more willing to integrate insights from other fields within economics. For example, behaviorial macroeconomic research papers have started to appear. [bloomberg]

Friday figure

Figure is from “Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: April 2018 Report Edition

May 4, 2018


Nick Bunker
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