By Randy Becker, Center for Economic Studies
U.S. Census Bureau economists will present results from their research at the annual meeting of the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) and American Economic Association (AEA) in Chicago Jan. 6-8, 2017. This meeting brings together more than 11,000 economists and scholars in related fields from around the world and showcases ongoing research in economics. Census Bureau economists will also serve as discussants of related papers in their fields of expertise, act as panelists and recruit doctoral candidates interested in careers at the Census Bureau.
This year, the ASSA/AEA meeting includes 18 papers with Census Bureau co-authors showcasing recent findings on the following diverse range of topics:
Labor market outcomes: Wages, benefits and employment continue to be a major area of research at the Census Bureau. We will present papers examining the poor labor market outcomes experienced by the long-term unemployed (Abraham, Haltiwanger, Sandusky and Spletzer); the recent earnings growth of job stayers, job switchers, and those transitioning to/from nonemployment (Hahn, Hyatt and Janicki); and the important role firm characteristics play in earnings inequality (Spletzer and Haltiwanger). Another paper looks at the quality of income data from household surveys for the population age 65 and over, and its impact on poverty measurement (Bee and Mitchell).
Other papers examine the labor market effects of institutional changes, such as:
- The impact of occupational licensing on wages, benefits, and employment (Gittleman, Klee and Kleiner);
- The effect of a temporary increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates on nurse practitioner labor supply (Udalova);
- Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans and the impact of changes to auto-enrollment rules on participation rates (Gideon and Mitchell).
These papers use a number of different data, including linked employee-employer data from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program, the Current Population Survey (CPS), Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), American Community Survey (ACS) and various administrative records sources.
Business cycle and dynamics: Other papers to be presented focus on the business cycle and changing business dynamism.
- One paper examines whether job-to-job moves of workers contribute to the cyclicality of employment growth at firms of different sizes and wages, with particular attention on the Great Recession (Haltiwanger, Hyatt and McEntarfer).
- Another paper demonstrates that cyclical fluctuations in part-time work come from changes in the transition rates between full- and part-time employment (within-job changes in hours) rather than between part-time work and unemployment (Warren).
- Whether the changing pace of business dynamism is due to changes in the volatility of productivity shocks, or in the response of business to those shocks, is the focus of another paper (Decker, Haltiwanger, Jarmin and Miranda).
- The diffusion of the Universal Product Code and its links to productivity growth and the reorganization of retail supply chains will be the subject of another presentation (Basker and Simcoe).
Research and development (R&D) and economic growth: A session on “using data science to examine the link between university R&D and innovation” will feature a few papers by Census Bureau authors.
- One paper investigates the relationship between federal funding of university-based R&D and entrepreneurship activity and success (Jarmin, Zolas, Goldschlag and Lane).
- Another paper examines the effect of federal funding of research on the outcomes of underrepresented students, including their propensity to start a business and placement in R&D-performing, high-tech firms (Buffington, Harris, Feng and Weinberg).
- The employment of recent science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) doctorates and post-doctorates in firms of various types (e.g., research intensive, startups vs. established, high- vs. low-productivity, local vs. out-of-state), and their wage outcomes, is the focus of another paper (Barth, Davis, Marschke, Wang and Zhou).
- A related paper examines R&D spillovers from geographic proximity to other R&D-performing firms and the mobility of scientists and engineers (Barth, Davis, Freeman, Marschke and Wang).
Spatial issues: Other papers also look at spatial issues.
- One paper examines the role of parent sorting in the spatial variation in intergenerational mobility (Rothbaum).
- Another paper uses data from the SIPP and ACS to create wealth estimates for smaller geographies and smaller populations than were previously available (Chenevert, Gottschalck, Klee and Zhang).
- Using matched employer-employee data from the LEHD program, another paper examines the suitability of Commuting Zone definitions and proposes a data-driven method of defining local labor markets (Foote, Kutzbach and Vilhuber).
More: In addition to these and other papers by Census Bureau co-authors, there will be presentations of research papers based on Census Bureau microdata, written by researchers using the Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) network.
Economists at the Census Bureau, and our collaborators in the FSRDCs, play a key role in creating and improving statistical products that are essential to policymakers, researchers and the public. These products come from a variety of sources, such as survey microdata on businesses and households, linked employer-employee data, and confidential microdata from federal and state administrative and statistical agencies. Our economists apply these data to the study of income and labor dynamics, industrial organization, household structure, health and disability, international trade and other topics.
For further details on the papers to be presented at the ASSA/AEA meeting, including a preliminary program with abstracts, see <www.aeaweb.org/conference/2017/preliminary>. Also see <www.census.gov/research/conferences/assa/2017.html> for additional information about the authors and presentations.
For more information on working papers by Census Bureau researchers and FSRDC researchers, see <www.census.gov/research/working_papers/>.
For presentations by Census Bureau researchers at previous ASSA meetings, and at other major professional meetings, see <www.census.gov/research/conferences/>.