Working Papers

 
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Identifying Vulnerable Displaced Workers: The Effect of State-Level Occupation Conditions [Job Market Paper]

Displaced workers experience a range of earnings losses after displacement. Using comprehensive occupational employment data, I estimate the effect of the state-level occupation growth rate in the worker's pre-displacement occupation on subsequent labor market outcomes and find that adverse labor market conditions in a worker's occupation at the time of displacement have negative consequences. Displacement from a shrinking occupation is associated with decreased earnings and longer durations of joblessness. Furthermore, holding the occupation growth rate constant, there is only a small effect of the worker's industry growth rate on their labor market outcomes. These results suggests that vulnerable displaced workers' difficulties in the labor market are a function of their skills and less related to the goods and services they were previously producing.

 
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The Impact of Paid Family Leave Benefits: Regression Kink Evidence from California Administrative Data

with Kelly Bedard and Maya Rossin-Slater (under review)

We use ten years of California administrative data with a regression kink design to estimate the causal impacts of benefits in the first state-level paid family leave program for women with earnings near the maximum benefit threshold. We find no evidence that a higher weekly benefit amount (WBA) increases leave duration or leads to adverse future labor market outcomes for this group. In contrast, we document that a rise in the WBA leads to a small increase in employment one to two years after leave and a sizeable increase in the likelihood of making a future paid family leave claim.

Unequal Use of Social Insurance: The Role of Employers

with Kelly Bedard, Maya Rossin-Slater and Jenna Stearns (under review)

California's Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) programs have become important sources of social insurance, with benefit payments now exceeding those of the state's Unemployment Insurance program. However, there is considerable inequality in program take-up. While existing research shows that firm-specific factors explain a significant part of the growing earnings inequality in the U.S., little is known about the role of firms in determining the use of public leave-taking benefits. Using administrative data from California, we find strong evidence that DI and PFL program take-up is substantially higher in firms with high earnings premiums. A one standard deviation increase in the firm premium is associated with a 57 percent higher claim rate incidence. Our results suggest that changes in firm behavior have the potential to impact social insurance use and thus reduce an important dimension of inequality in America.