The 1980 Mariel Boatlift—Did the arrival of low-skilled Cuban immigrants harm the labor market for locals in Miami?

Mariel Boatlift

In a unique historical episode, between April and September of 1980, 120,000 low-skilled Cubans arrived in Miami. The sudden nature and random timing and location of the flow make this an ideal “quasi-experiment” for testing whether labor markets experienced depressed wages and employment opportunities due to the refugee wave. A simplistic concept of labor supply and demand might suggest that “yes” local workers were hurt by the wave, but what is the truth in the data? Economists have been fascinated with this question, and Giovanni Peri and Vasil Yasenov wanted their own look at it.
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For-Profit Colleges—Students Pay More, Get Less

Public institution certificate holders earn more.

As the U.S. Department of Education proposes rolling back the Gainful Employment rules regulating for-profit and vocational education programs, accurate estimates of the earnings outcomes and debt incurred by students in these programs are essential for judging the merits of various policy options. Researchers Stephanie Riegg Cellini and Nicholas Turner generated comprehensive new estimates of the labor market outcomes and debt incurred by students in vocational certificate programs in the for-profit sector.
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How Can We Extend the Working Lifetime? Compressing Time Spent in School Might Not Be the Answer

commuters

In response to demographic change—an aging population means fewer workers—policy makers in many industrialized countries are looking for ways to extend individuals’ working life. Shortening the time spent in school is one idea, but simple reductions result in students learning less. Germany tried a different reform: it kept the number of hours that children spend in school the same, but compressed it into one less year. Thus, students have the same amount of schooling, just over a shorter period of time. Jan Marcus (University of Hamburg and DIW Berlin) and Vaishali Zambre (DIW Berlin) evaluated this reform and examined how higher education enrollment was affected.
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Wealth Perceptions and Remittances within Family Networks—Recipients Hold More Power Than You Think

Are people who receive transfers of money from family members passively waiting for a handout from their altruistic kin? If not, how can they influence what they receive? In a recent study, Joachim De Weerdt, Garance Genicot, and Alice Mesnard used robust empirical methods to disentangle these family exchanges. They interviewed all members within 718 kinship networks in Tanzania, which allowed them to compare what people think about each other’s living conditions with reality.
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Drug Violence in Mexico Increased Migration Flows to the United States

Mexican passport

In 2006 the Mexican government launched an aggressive military campaign against drug trafficking organizations that sparked competition, fragmentation, and alliances among criminal organizations. The move led to instability and a staggering amount of violence. In a new study, Sandra Orozco-Aleman and Heriberto Gonzalez-Lozano analyze the effect of this increase in violence on the inflows of migrants from Mexico into the United States.
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The Dynamics of Families’ Long-Term Care Arrangements—Who Takes Care of Our Elderly in the Long Run?

hands

As the population ages, many families face decisions about how to care for elderly relatives. In a recent publication, Bridget Hiedemann (Seattle University), Michelle Sovinsky (University of Mannheim and CEPR), and Steven Stern (Stony Brook University) consider the dynamics of this decision-making process. Who will provide care for the aging family member—a spouse, an adult child, a formal home health worker, or a nursing home? Will this arrangement change over time?
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Which Kids Party Hard?

teen partying

In “Uncommon Knowledge: Freaks and geeks, and beyond,” the Boston Globe’s Kevin Lewis highlights a JHR paper on how relative intelligence among teens determines risky behavior.
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Workers with Unique Competence at Their Workplace Say “I’m Taking a Sick Day” Less Often

Workers with unique competence have 10 percent lower sickness absence.

In many production processes, there is a high degree of complementarity between employees in different jobs—in other words, workers with unique functions are each essential and depend on each other to get the work done. In such cases, work absence can be costly for firms, especially if there are few employees with similar skills who can substitute for the absent worker. In a new study, Lena Hensvik and Olof Rosenqvist (both at Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Uppsala, Sweden) explore how employers are addressing this problem.
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Are Executives Earning It? How Product Market Competition Shapes Executives’ Pay

CEO pay

The pay of CEOs and other top executives has been the focus of academic and policy debates given its sharp increase in recent decades. A key question for many is whether executive pay is linked to the performance of the firms they manage. In a new paper, Ana P. Fernandes (University of Exeter), Priscila Ferreira (University of Minho), and L. Alan Winters (University of Sussex) explore how performance-related pay is affected by the level of competition in the markets that firms sell in.
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Understanding Working Hours—Can We Rely on Worker-Recalled Data?

Estimation of labor supply elasticities

Economists need to understand workers’ reported working hours to develop sound policies related to the labor market, such as income-tax systems, childcare programs, and universal basic-income schemes. In a new study, Garry Barrett (University of Sydney) and Daniel Hamermesh (Barnard College) asked: How well do workers report their hours? Do we really have an accurate understanding of the labor supply?
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