This January’s meeting of the Allied Social Science Association and American Economic Association (ASSA /AEA) provided a fascinating overview of the current state of economic research programs. At the annual event that gathers thousands of economists from academia, government, business, and not-for-profit agencies, Census Bureau researchers coauthored and presented several papers and served as session moderators and discussants.
Altogether, there are about 60 economists who work throughout the Census Bureau. While they have very different jobs, they all use econometric analysis of Census Bureau microdata to help increase our understanding of the behaviors of individuals, households, and businesses.
- In the Center for Economic Studies, economists’ research and development activities provide new uses for existing data and, in some cases, the creation of entirely new public-use datasets.
- The economists in the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division analyze the analyze the economic data we collect from individuals, households, and families to help policymakers and other data users understand trends and the dynamics of economic change.
- Economists in the Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications are working to make data collection more efficient and of higher quality by making better use of existing data sources.
Not surprisingly, one common theme of the Census Bureau presentations was the impact of this past recession. Research included descriptions of job-to-job flows (Hyatt and McEntarfer) and an analysis of employment, earnings, and deferred compensation (Skog) during the “Great Recession.” Broadening their focus to include other recessions, Mykyta and Macartney examined the doubling up of households during downturns since the late 1980s.
Another common theme was business dynamics. Two papers looked at dynamics of establishments over their life cycles. One paper focused on demand dynamics (Foster, Haltiwanger and Syverson) while the other focused on wage dynamics (Dinlersoz, Hyatt, Nguyen). Taking a longer view, Haltiwanger, Jarmin, and Miranda examined the secular decline in business dynamism in the U.S. Expanding the scope to other countries, Brown and Earle examined business dynamics in transition economies.
Two papers showcased research on the relationship between housing and job market outcomes. Andersson, Haltiwanger, Kutzbach, Pollakowski, and Weinberg looked at the role of spatial mismatch between housing and jobs in job displacement. The same authors also examined the impact of subsidized rental housing on children’s employment and earnings outcomes. Finally, Monti examined whether government spending impacts charitable donations.
There were also many papers representing research that non-Census Bureau economists had undertaken using Census Bureau micro data through the Research Data Center network. For example, Acemoglu, Akcigit, Bloom, and Kerr examined innovation, reallocation, and growth using firm-level Census Bureau data.
For more information: http://www.aeaweb.org/aea/2012conference/program/preliminary.php