Workers’ performance on the job is related to all of their demographic and economic attributes, including education, age, family structure, gender, race, labor force status (full- or part-time work), peer group (birth-year), and others.
The annual market-wide “effective labor input” depends upon the quantity (number of work hours contributed) and the efficiency (related to worker attributes) of individuals engaged in market production.
Labor efficiency is projected to decline in the future and offset growth in labor quantity to slow growth of aggregate “effective labor input.” Official government analysts typically do not project changes in labor efficiency, thereby imparting a more optimistic outlook to budget projections.
The United States experienced an unprecedented decline in mortality during the twentieth century, thanks to improvements in public health, medical advances, and behavioral changes.
But mortality and life expectancy improvements have been uneven across age and socioeconomic status.
Future changes in mortality will affect the federal budget outlook. However, projections of mortality and life expectancy are highly uncertain. This uncertainty creates additional risk for the nation’s transfer programs to the elderly, which already account for half of government outlays.
While some policymakers have blamed immigration for slowing U.S. wage growth since the 1970s, most academic research finds little long run effect on Americans’ wages.
The available evidence suggests that immigration leads to more innovation, a better educated workforce, greater occupational specialization, better matching of skills with jobs, and higher overall economic productivity.
Immigration also has a net positive effect on combined federal, state, and local budgets. But not all taxpayers benefit equally. In regions with large populations of less educated, low-income immigrants, native-born residents bear significant net costs due to immigrants’ use of public services, especially education.
The demographic transition toward an older population is ongoing in America and Europe. The transition began earlier in Europe where fertility rates have declined much more. Will America follow in Europe’s footsteps?
Procreation and family formation appears influenced by the social and economic conditions facing young adults. Younger American women appear to be postponing childbirth. Will this reduce future American TFR to still lower levels?
Government policies influence the economic environment and affect fertility choices indirectly. Social Security and various retiree health programs have likely reduced fertility, making their own financing more difficult.
The baby bust of the 1960s saw the U.S. total fertility rate (TFR) dip to just below the 2.1 live births per woman needed to prevent population decline.
U.S. TFR fell again after the Great Recession of 2008-09, which eroded women’s and couples’ economic ability to bear and raise children.
Large and persistent declines in European fertility to well below the 2.1 threshold is a worrisome precursor: America’s budget problem of funding elder-care would worsen if the U.S. TFR meets with the same fate as that of Europe.
In a previous blog post, I considered how wage changes are related to the decision to move and the decline in household movement observed in the last two decades (see Figure 1 below). However, wage changes aren’t the only reason households choose to move. Changing motivations for moving are illustrative in examining the broader context of internal migration.
Internal migration of working-age people in the United States has fallen by more than a third – from 18.9 percent in 1994 to 11.4 percent in 2018 (see Figure 1). This phenomenon has received significant scholarly attention – Cooke (2013) for example, attributes this decline to the rise of information and communication technologies. Alternatively, Molloy, Smith, and Wozniak (2011) point to broad macroeconomic shifts.
Reduced internal migration has important economic implications, particularly for labor markets. We find that wages grow faster for movers, especially for those with a college degree.
The rise of the ‘gig economy’ means that understanding patterns of self-employment is more important than ever for designing tax benefits and subsidies that affect business activities. In fact, self-employment represents as many as 1 in 5 jobs.
We find that gender differences in self-employment patterns are mostly driven by the differences across marital status. Married women are more likely to be self-employed than single women. On average, self-employed married women work fewer hours than men and single women, regardless of employment type, and married women who are employer-employed. These differences carry over to earnings.
In a previous blog post, I described two significant changes in the characteristics of newly arriving immigrants (legal and unauthorized) to the U.S. between 1997 and 2017. First, the share of recent immigrants aged 25 and older who had bachelor’s or advanced degrees rose from 30 percent to 48 percent. Second, the origins of new immigrants to the U.S. shifted dramatically, as immigration from Mexico and Europe declined in importance while immigration from Asia and Africa grew. In this post, I examine the relationship between these two changes.
From 1997 to 2007, a newly arrived adult immigrant to the United States was about as likely to have a college degree as to have not finished high school. During that period, each group accounted for about one third of new arrivals (including both legal and unauthorized immigrants). Over the decade since 2007, those odds changed dramatically. The share of recent immigrants with a college degree grew by nearly 50 percent, while the share without a high school degree fell by a similar proportion (see Figure 1). By 2017, a recently arrived immigrant was almost three times as likely to have a college degree as to have not finished high school.
Teenage employment has declined significantly since the late 1990s. Using data from the Current Population Survey, Figure 1 shows that 63 percent of teens aged 16 to 18 worked in 1993, but that percentage fell to 41 by 2015.
PWBM’s brief, “Education and Income Growth” was used to highlight that the incomes of highly educated people are growing in comparison to those with less education. The author finds that this trend motivates highly educated voters to support the continuation of current policy rather than policy reforms favorable to the working class.