Spain Cut Unemployment Benefits during the Great Recession, and Labor Rallied

office worker

In the turmoil of the Great Recession, the Spanish government reduced the level of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in relation to expected earnings—the replacement rate—from 60% to 50% after 180 days of unemployment for all people who became unemployed beginning on or after July 15, 2012. Yolanda Rebollo-Sanz and Núria Rodríguez-Planas publish a recent study examining how workers responded.
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Redshirting Kids—Delaying Starting School Affects the Entire Family

Graph showing parents' marriage increases and mom working increases and then decreases when kids start school later

Parents often think about their child’s future success when they consider waiting for them to start school, but a child’s age and grade level also affect how much time parents spend on child-related activities, work, and leisure. In a recent study Rasmus Landersø (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit), Helena Skyt Nielsen (Aarhus University), and Marianne Simonsen (Aarhus University) find that postponing children’s school start frees resources and allows parents to use more time on activities unrelated to the child, with effects on the family that extend beyond the early childhood years.
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Prescription Opioids and Labor Market Pains

pills in hand

In the United States, the opioid epidemic has had dramatic adverse effects—in 2017 alone there were over 45,000 overdose deaths related to opioids. While much of the focus on the opioid epidemic has centered around how opioid use affects users’ health, their families, and communities, little is known about how the rise in opioid prescriptions has impacted regional labor market outcomes.

In response to this research gap, Matthew Harris, Lawrence Kessler, Matthew Murray, and Beth Glenn collected county-level prescriptions data from ten U.S. states and were the first to examine the effects of prescription opioids on county labor market outcomes. Their findings point to large, negative consequences for regional labor markets.
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What Happens when Students Must Meet Academic Standards to Receive Need-Based Aid?

stressed out student looking at computer

College students who receive need-based financial aid typically must meet minimum academic standards to stay eligible, and it’s not well understood how this impacts their outcomes. Do these standards encourage low-income college students to improve their academic performance, or encourage them to drop out? Judith Scott-Clayton and Lauren Schudde examined the consequences of failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for federal aid recipients—specifically, a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement—among community college entrants in one state.
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Battling the Brain Drain—In-State College Enrollment Affects Future Residence

person moving with boxes and graphic of a brain in background

States subsidize public higher education with the goal of building an educated workforce. But college-educated workers can and often do migrate across states after completing their education. The resulting “brain drain” may harm states who invest in higher education only to have the benefits reaped elsewhere. So is the investment worth it? Does encouraging young people to attend college in-state affect where they live later in life? Or does educating more young people in a state just result in more out-migration? John Winters studies these questions and offers policy implications for the United States.
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When Abortion Clinics Close, Distance and Access Issues Reduce Abortions

Graph: increased distance to clinic reduces abortions.

The recent wave of new state restrictions on abortion accompanied by the closures of providers across the country are changing the landscape of abortion access in the United States. In a new study, researchers Jason Lindo, Caitlin Myers, Andrea Schlosser, and Scott Cunningham asked, “To what degree do reductions in access prevent women from obtaining abortions from U.S. medical professionals?”
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Partial Schooling Subsidy Puts Kids into the Classroom—And to Work

Evidence suggests that government subsidies typically increase school attendance and at the same time decrease paid work by children. The intuition is simple enough—children who were not able to afford schooling can now go to school, and because there are only so many hours in the day, they also do less paid work. While such subsidies typically offset all schooling costs, Jacobus de Hoop, Jed Friedman, Eeshani Kandpal, and Furio Rosati asked whether a partial subsidy could increase schooling. They study the Pantawid program, which aims to improve children’s health and education in poor households (those with daily income less than US$2.15 per capita) in the Philippines.
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School Smoking Bans Effectively Reduce Smoking Behavior

lit cigarette

Half of all smokers in Germany report that they started using tobacco at the age of 15 or younger, which makes teenagers one of the most important target groups for anti-smoking campaigns and policies. During the last decade, all 16 German federal states have introduced smoking bans at schools. But do they work? According to researchers Gregor Pfeifer, Mirjam Reutter, and Kristina Strohmaier, we know little about the real effectiveness of anti-smoking interventions specifically aimed at school children, so they studied a large data set to compare populations who had experienced smoking bans with those who had not.
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What Happens to Jobs When Minimum Wage Increases Are Tied to Inflation?

store clerk

Economists have been studying how minimum wage increases affect employment for a long time, but indexing the minimum wage to inflation is a relatively new, less understood policy. Peter Brummund and Michael Strain wanted to learn whether indexing the minimum wage to inflation leads to different employment effects. Specifically, they asked whether the employment response to a minimum wage increase is different in states that index their minimum wages to inflation compared to those that don’t.
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Political Mismanagement of Indian Primary Schools Yields Worse Test Scores

graph of 4th grade reading scores in public vs. private schools 2 years before through two years after an election, showing elections are followed by drop in scores

Teachers and their working patterns are known to be important determinants of learning outcomes of pupils, as well as key to understanding the large gaps in skills across different school systems. Sonja Fagernäs and Panu Pelkonen examined how the management of teachers in Indian primary schools, when intermingled with political processes, can disrupt teachers’ work and eventually harm learning.
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