Monthly Archive for October, 2014

Federal Register Notice: Some ACS questions on the chopping block

You can comment on the Census Bureau’s plans to remove some questions from the American Community Survey (marriage history and field of study in college) via the Federal Register:

link to Federal Register Notice

A working paper by Kennedy and Ruggles provides some talking points on the marriage history question: “Breaking up is Hard to Count . . . ” And, quite a number of researchers of the STEM population, including the migration of STEM folks, ought to be interested in the field of study question.

It is interesting to note that questions that were thought to be vulnerable (flush toilet, leaving time for work, income, and mental/emotional disability) were unscathed. For historical purposes (e.g., April 2014) it is interesting to review a summary of these touchy questions.

Here is a summary of how the Census Bureau came up with the questions to be eliminated. It comes down to a grid of mandated/required questions x user burden/cost:

American Community Survey (ACS) Content Review
Gary Chappell |Census Bureau
October 9, 2014

Other helpful links are on the ACS Content Review website.

2 or More Children Raises Productivity, At Least For Academic Economists

By Ylan Q. Mui
Source: Wonkblog

A word of encouragement for my working moms: You are actually more productive than your childless peers.

That’s the conclusion of a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which found that over the course of a 30-year career, mothers outperformed women without children at almost every stage of the game. In fact, mothers with at least two kids were the most productive of all.

Full story on Wonkblog
Parenthood and Productivity of Highly Skilled Labor, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Working Paper

Political Science: A self-inflicted wound?

Stanford University and Dartmouth have sent an open apology letter to the state of Montana for a voting experiment conducted by political scientists at their respective institutions. The study had IRB approval, at least from Dartmouth. It uses a database of ideological scores based on donors to identify the political affiliation of judges. See this Upshot article on the start-up company, Crowdpac, that developed this database. Montana is quite irritated with the use of the state of Montana seal on the mailer. Did that get through the IRB?

The letters:

Senator John Tester’s letter to Stanford & Dartmouth | The apology letter

Messing with Montana: Get-out-the -Vote Experiment Raises Ethics Questions
Melissa R. Michelson | The New West (blog of the Western Political Science Association)
October 25, 2014

Today, the Internet exploded with news about and reactions to a get-out-the-vote field experiment fielded by three political science professors that may have broken Montana state law and, at a minimum, called into question the ethics of conducting experiments that might impact election results.

Professors’ Research Project Stirs Political Outrage in Montana
Derek Willis | NY Times
October 28, 2014

Universities say they regret sending Montana voters election mailers criticized for being misleading
Hunter Schwarz | The Washington Post
October 29, 2014

The Economics of Parenting

By: Roberto A. Ferdman
Source: Wonkblog (Washington Post)

Strict parents — the sort who practice an authoritarian form of parenting that restricts children’s choices — are more common in countries with high inequality, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study used the World Value Survey to measure whether parents in different countries care more about qualities desired by stricter parents, like “hard work” and “obedience,” or qualities desired more by passive parents, like “imagination” and “independence.

It found that the more unequal a society, the more likely people were to favor strict parenting.

Wonkblog post
NBER Working Paper (PDF)

U.S. High School On-Time Graduate Rate is Growing

By: Ben Casselman
Source: FiveThirtyEight

In 2013, 85 percent of Elkhart’s students graduated on time, putting the district close to the state average. Perhaps even more remarkably, the graduation rate among Hispanics is now equal to — or even slightly above — that of the district’s overall population.

Elkhart’s improvement is a particularly dramatic example of a nation-wide trend: Graduation rates are improving, especially for Latinos. Nationally, the on-time graduation rate topped 80 percent for the first time in 2012, up from 74 percent five years earlier. For Latinos, the graduation rate is up more than 10 percentage points over the past five years, to 76 percent.

Read the full story

Working Papers from the NBER

Sorting Between and Within Industries: A Testable Model of Assortative Matching
by John M. Abowd, Francis Kramarz, Sebastien Perez-Duarte, Ian M. Schmutte #20472
Abstract; PDF

Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire: Employment Dynamics with Asymmetric Responses to News
by Cosmin Ilut, Matthias Kehrig, Martin Schneider #20473
Abstract; PDF

The Biocultural Origins of Human Capital Formation
by Oded Galor, Marc Klemp #20474
Abstract; PDF

Constitutional Rights and Education: An International Comparative Study
by Sebastian Edwards, Alvaro Garcia Marin #20475
Abstract; PDF

Labor Market Fluidity and Economic Performance
by Steven J. Davis, John Haltiwanger #20479
Abstract; PDF

Self-regulation and Health
by Henry Saffer #20483
Abstract; PDF

Polanyi’s Paradox and the Shape of Employment Growth
by David Autor #20485
Abstract; PDF

Fertility and Financial Development: Evidence from U.S. Counties in the 19th Century
by Alberto Basso, Howard Bodenhorn, David Cuberes #20491
Abstract; PDF

Household Debt: Facts, Puzzles, Theories, and Policies
by Jonathan Zinman #20496
Abstract; PDF

Cities and the Environment
by Matthew E. Kahn, Randall Walsh #20503
Abstract; PDF

Finishing Degrees and Finding Jobs: U.S. Higher Education and the Flow of Foreign IT Workers
by John Bound, Murat Demirci, Gaurav Khanna, Sarah Turner #20505
Abstract; PDF

Demographics and Entrepreneurship
by James Liang, Hui Wang, Edward P. Lazear #20506
Abstract; PDF

Misclassification in Binary Choice Models
by Bruce Meyer, Nikolas Mittag #20509
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of No Child Left Behind’s Accountability Sanctions on School Performance: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from North Carolina
by Thomas Ahn, Jacob Vigdor #20511
Abstract; PDF

Immigration, International Collaboration, and Innovation: Science and Technology Policy in the Global Economy
by Richard B. Freeman #20521
Abstract; PDF

Remittance Responses to Temporary Discounts: A Field Experiment among Central American Migrants
by Kate Ambler, Diego Aycinena, Dean Yang #20522
Abstract; PDF

Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the US than in Europe?
by Alice Chen, Emily Oster, Heidi Williams #20525
Abstract; PDF

Causal Inference in Urban and Regional Economics
by Nathaniel Baum-Snow, Fernando Ferreira #20535
Abstract; PDF

Regulation and Housing Supply
by Joseph Gyourko, Raven Molloy #20536
Abstract; PDF

The Effect of Substance Use Disorder Treatment Use on Crime: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions and Health Insurance Parity Mandates
by Hefei Wen, Jason M. Hockenberry, Janet R. Cummings #20537
Abstract; PDF

Early Life Environment and Racial Inequality in Education and Earnings in the United States
by Kenneth Y. Chay, Jonathan Guryan, Bhashkar Mazumder #20539
Abstract; PDF

Distributional Effects of Means Testing Social Security: An Exploratory Analysis
by Alan Gustman, Thomas Steinmeier, Nahid Tabatabai #20546
Abstract; PDF

Annuitized Wealth and Post-Retirement Saving
by John Laitner, Daniel Silverman, Dmitriy Stolyarov #20547
Abstract; PDF

Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition
by Naci Mocan, Luiza Pogorelova #20557
Abstract; PDF

The Glass Ceiling and The Paper Floor: Gender Differences among Top Earners, 1981-2012
by Fatih Guvenen, Greg Kaplan, Jae Song #20560
Abstract; PDF

Why Do People Give? Testing Pure and Impure Altruism
by Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, Lise Vesterlund, Huan Xie #20497
Abstract; PDF

How Much Are Public School Teachers Willing to Pay for Their Retirement Benefits?
by Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick #20582
Abstract; PDF

The Great Recession, Decline and Rebound in Household Wealth for the Near Retirement Population
by Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier, Nahid Tabatabai #20584
Abstract; PDF

Climate and Conflict
by Marshall Burke, Solomon M. Hsiang, Edward Miguel #20598
Abstract; PDF

The Comparative Advantage of Cities
by Donald R. Davis, Jonathan I. Dingel #20602
Abstract; PDF

Why You Can’t Find a Taxi in the Rain and Other Labor Supply Lessons from Cab Drivers
by Henry S. Farber #20604
Abstract; PDF

Knowledge-based Hierarchies: Using Organizations to Understand the Economy
by Luis Garicano, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg #20607
Abstract; PDF

Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities
by Adam M. Lavecchia, Heidi Liu, Philip Oreopoulos #20609
Abstract; PDF

The 2015 Steven H. Sandell Grant Program

The Center for Retirement Research sponsors the annual Steven H. Sandell Grant Program for scholars in the field of retirement research and policy. The program is funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration to provide opportunities for junior scholars from all academic disciplines to pursue cutting-edge projects on retirement income issues. Priority areas include:

  • Social Security
  • Macroeconomic analyses of Social Security
  • Wealth and retirement income
  • Program interactions
  • International research
  • Demographic research

Grant Awards

Up to three grants of $45,000 are awarded based upon the quality of the applicant’s proposal and his or her proposed budget. Applicants are required to complete the research outlined in the proposal within one year of the award. Grant recipients may be required to present their work to the Social Security Administration in Washington, DC or Baltimore.


The 2015 Sandell Grant Program deadline will be January 31, 2015. View the proposal guidelines and budget matrix.

Previous Awardees include Lauren Hersch Nicholas.

See the website for more information or to submit an application.

Rental America

By Chico Harlan
Source: Washington Post

From the article:

Five years into a national economic recovery that has further strained the poor working class, an entire industry has grown around handing them a lifeline to the material rewards of middle-class life. Retailers in the post-Great Recession years have become even more likely to work with customers who don’t have the money upfront, instead offering a widening spectrum of payment plans that ultimately cost far more and add to the burdens of life on the economy’s fringes.

Related: How America’s poor are slipping further behind — in 3 charts and Fed Chair Yellen is “greatly” concerned about growing inequality

Never-Married Adults Is at a Record High

Via: Pew Research
By: Wendy Wang and Kim Parker

After decades of declining marriage rates and changes in family structure, the share of American adults who have never been married is at an historic high. In 2012, one-in-five adults ages 25 and older (about 42 million people) had never been married, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. In 1960, only about one-in-ten adults (9%) in that age range had never been married. Men are more likely than women to have never been married (23% vs. 17% in 2012). And this gender gap has widened since 1960, when 10% of men ages 25 and older and 8% of women of the same age had never married.

Report summary
Complete Report (PDF)

Also read NPR’s Code Switch coverage of the report.