Archive for the 'Economic Behavior' Category

Opoid Use and Labor Force Participation

US Map Opoids and LFP

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Alan Krueger has a paper in Brookings Papers on Economic Activity on opoid use and labor force participation and it got quite a bit of press coverage as well. And, luckily for us, the data are also available:

Where have all the workers gone? An inquiry into the decline of the U.S. labor force participation rate
Alan Kruger | Brooking Papers on Economic Activity
Fall 2017
This paper is part of the Fall 2017 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, the leading conference series and journal in economics for timely, cutting-edge research about real-world policy issues.

Paper | Data | Slides [Krueger] | Slides [Katz, discussant] | Slides [Notowidigdo, discussant]

Additional Coverage
How the opioid epidemic has affected the U.S. labor force, county-by-county
Fred Dews | Brookings Now
September 7, 2017

The Opioid Crisis Is Taking a Toll on the American Labor Force
Eric Levitz | New York Magazine
Sep 7, 2017

The stunning prevalence of painkiller use among unemployed men
Danielle Paquette | WonkBlog: Washington Post
Sep 7, 2017

Drugs Are Why 1 in 5 Men Drop Out of the Labor Market
Sy Mukherjee | Fortune
Sep 7, 2017

One in Five Men Leave Workforce due to Opioid Epidemic, so Drugs – not Immigrants – are Stealing Jobs
John Haltiwanger | Newsweek
Sep 7, 2017

Great Tweetstorm: Most important year in Economics?

This is from the blogger @undercoverhistorian. We had a previous post on the site she maintains. Below is an interesting set of almost 50 tweets – some illustrated – where she defends 1952 as the most important year.

twitter feed
Click here for tweetstorm

The Undercover Historian

blog header
[Link to Undercover Historian blog]

The Undercover Historian
Beatrice Cherrier | blog
since 2011

This is a blog by Beatrice Cherrier, an historian of economics. It has been in existence since 2011 and has a wealth of information about the history of the field of economics. And, no I don’t know what her quote about “pig-headed” is referencing.

Affordable Housing and Public Assistance

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight examines the crisis in affordable housing in Why So Many Poor Americans Don’t Get Help Paying for Housing. The problem is two-fold: affordability and the inability of government programs to keep up with need.

Asking Questions About Evictions

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight writes about the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS):

The survey that Williams was part of, the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS), may be the first rigorous, detailed look at eviction in a major city. Interviewers like Williams spoke to about 1,100 Milwaukee-area tenants between 2009 and 2011, asking them a battery of questions on their housing history. The survey has already fundamentally changed researchers’ understanding of eviction, revealing the problem to be far larger than previously understood.

New Census Reports on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

The U.S. Census Bureau released two new reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014. The reports find no real change in either income or poverty level, but the percentage of people without health insurance has declined.

From the press release:

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent, which means there were 46.7 million people in poverty. Neither the poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty were statistically different from 2013 estimates. This marks the fourth consecutive year in which the number of people in poverty was not statistically different from the previous year’s estimate.

Median household income in the United States in 2014 was $53,657, not statistically different in real terms from the 2013 median income. This is the third consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive annual declines.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2014 calendar year was 10.4 percent, down from 13.3 percent in 2013. The number of people without health insurance declined to 33.0 million from 41.8 million over the period.

What Happens in Neighborhoods with Sharply Rising Home Values

Emily Badger of Wonkblog looks what happens when a neighborhood — Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, specifically — experiences a sharp increase in home values, but income remains the same.

How Mass Incarceration of Black People Skews Our Sense of Reality

Jeff Guo of Wonkblog examines how the absence of 1.6 million people from economic statistics affects the decisions politicians and policymakers make:

Though there are nearly 1.6 million Americans in state or federal prison, their absence is not accounted for in the figures that politicians and policymakers use to make decisions. As a result, we operate under a distorted picture of the nation’s economic health.

There’s no simple way to estimate the impact of mass incarceration on the jobs market. But here’s a simple thought experiment. Imagine how the white and black unemployment rates would change if all the people in prison were added to the unemployment rolls.

Poverty and Financial Literacy

Max Ehrenfreund, writing for Wonkblog, examines research presented at the 2016 American Economic Association’s annual meeting by Anuj Shah and collaborators showing that the the poor do better on tests of financial common sense:

If you spend all your time thinking about money, chances are, you’re going to get pretty good at thinking about money. Indeed, new research suggests that the poor — for whom concerns about cash are inescapable — are not as prone to certain financial mistakes often made by the affluent.

“The poor spend a lot more time on mundane, everyday expenses. They’re focused on money,” said Anuj Shah, a psychologist at the University of Chicago and one of the authors of the research, which was published last year and presented earlier this month at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting.

Reasons People Give for Not Being in the Labor Force, 2004 & 2014

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a chart comparing the reasons given for not being in the labor force in 2004 and 2014.

The proportion of the working-age population reporting school attendance as the main reason for being out of the labor force rose from 5.0 percent in 2004 to 6.4 percent in 2014. The percentage who cited illness or disability as the main reason increased from 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent over that same period. The proportion citing home responsibilities declined from 6.0 percent in 2004 to 5.4 percent in 2014.

For more information, see the Beyond the Numbers article “People who are not in the labor force: why aren’t they working?,” by Steven F. Hipple.

H/T Data Detectives