The Effects of Graduating from High School in a Recession: College Investments, Skill Formation, and Labor-Market Outcomes
CESifo Working Paper,
We investigate the short- and long-term effects of economic conditions at high-school graduation as a source of exogenous variation in the labor-market opportunities of potential college entrants. Exploiting business cycle fluctuations across birth cohorts for 28 developed countries, we find that bad economic conditions at high-school graduation increase college enrollment and graduation. They also affect outcomes in later life, increasing cognitive skills and improving labor-market success. Outcomes are affected only by the economic conditions at high-school graduation, but not by those during earlier or later years. Recessions at high-school graduation narrow the gender gaps in numeracy skills and labor-market success.
Wirtschaftspolitische Herausforderungen für Sachsen-Anhalt: Toleranz, Talente und Technologie
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Das Wirtschaftswachstum in Sachsen-Anhalt war in den vergangenen Jahren schwach. Der wichtigste Erklärungsfaktor ist die demographische Entwicklung; die Alterung und die Schrumpfung der Bevölkerung dämpfen die Anzahl der Erwerbstätigen. Es gibt eine Reihe von ökonomischen Ansatzpunkten für die Verbesserung der wirtschaftlichen Perspektiven. Dazu ist es erforderlich, die Ursachen der schwachen Entwicklung zu analysieren und ursachengerechte Maßnahmen zur Stärkung der wirtschaftlichen Leistungsfähigkeit zu ergreifen. Die größten Chancen bieten Investitionen in die Bildung, mehr Internationalität sowie die Förderung von Forschung und Innovation.
A Weighty Issue Revisited: The Dynamic Effect of Body Weight on Earnings and Satisfaction in Germany
We estimate the relationship between changes in the body mass index (bmi) and wages or satisfaction, respectively, in a panel of German employees. In contrast to previous findings, our dynamic models indicate an inverse u-shaped association between bmi and wages. As the implied maximum occurs in the ‘overweight’ category, the positive trend in weight may not yet constitute a major limitation to productivity. Further investigation points out a stronger association among young workers and workers with jobs that are less protected. Work satisfaction of young workers is associated with bmi beyond the effect of earnings.
Returns to Skills around the World: Evidence from PIAAC
European Economic Review,
Existing estimates of the labor-market returns to human capital give a distorted picture of the role of skills across different economies. International comparisons of earnings analyses rely almost exclusively on school attainment measures of human capital, and evidence incorporating direct measures of cognitive skills is mostly restricted to early-career workers in the United States. Analysis of the new PIAAC survey of adult skills over the full lifecycle in 23 countries shows that the focus on early-career earnings leads to underestimating the lifetime returns to skills by about one quarter. On average, a one-standard-deviation increase in numeracy skills is associated with an 18 percent wage increase among prime-age workers. But this masks considerable heterogeneity across countries. Eight countries, including all Nordic countries, have returns between 12 and 15 percent, while six are above 21 percent with the largest return being 28 percent in the United States. Estimates are remarkably robust to different earnings and skill measures, additional controls, and various subgroups. Instrumental-variable models that use skill variation stemming from school attainment, parental education, or compulsory-schooling laws provide even higher estimates. Intriguingly, returns to skills are systematically lower in countries with higher union density, stricter employment protection, and larger public-sector shares.
The Tradeoff Between Redistribution and Effort: Evidence from the Field and from the Lab
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods Working Paper,
We use survey and experimental data to explore how effort choices and preferences for redistribution are linked. Under standard preferences, redistribution would reduce effort. This is different with social preferences. Using data from the World Value Survey, we find that respondents with stronger preferences for redistribution tend to have weaker incentives to engage in effort, but that the reverse does not hold true. Using a lab experiment, we show that redistribution choices even increase in imposed effort. Those with higher ability are willing to help the needy if earning income becomes more difficult for everybody.
Business Volatility, Job Destruction, and Unemployment
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics,
Unemployment inflows fell from 4 percent of employment per month in the early 1980s to 2 percent by the mid 1990s. Using low frequency movements in industry-level data, we estimate that a 1 percentage point drop in the quarterly job destruction rate lowers the monthly unemployment inflow rate by 0.28 points. By our estimates, declines in job destruction intensity account for 28 (55) percent of the fall in unemployment inflows from 1982 (1990) to 2005. Slower job destruction accounts for similar fractions of long-term declines in the rate of unemployment.