I am a labor economics Ph.D. student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, interested in understanding the returns to skills and the role skills play in earnings inequality. I am also interested in the impact of evolving technologies on the composition of worker tasks in the U.S. labor market.
My current research looks at occupational change amongst displaced workers, workers who lost their job as a result of a firm or plant closing. I find state-level occupation-specific demand is a substantial determinant of an occupation change leaving old skills unused – a 1 percentage point decrease in the pre-displacement occupation growth rate is associated with a .83 percentage point increase in the probability of an unfavorable occupation change, and an extended unemployment duration of approximately .5 weeks. This suggests displaced workers' decreased earnings are a function of obsolete skills.