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.
Continue reading “Workers with Unique Competence at Their Workplace Say “I’m Taking a Sick Day” Less Often”
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.
Continue reading “Are Executives Earning It? How Product Market Competition Shapes Executives’ Pay”
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?
Continue reading “Understanding Working Hours—Can We Rely on Worker-Recalled Data?”
Though many studies have shown that teachers have large effects on student achievement, we know little about the degree to which teachers affect a broader set of student outcomes. Using data from six large school districts, Matthew A. Kraft (Brown University) estimated how teachers affect a range of student skills and competencies beyond those measured by multiple-choice tests.
Continue reading “Teacher Effects beyond the Test”
In India, policy-makers have looked to population control as a means of increasing resources per capita and reducing widespread poverty. Since 1992, eleven Indian states have experimented with restricting elected village council positions to candidates with two or fewer children. The hope is that leaders with small families would inspire their constituents to follow suit. In a new study, researchers S. Anukriti (Boston College) and Abhishek Chakravarty (University of Manchester) found the policy was effective in reducing family sizes, but it worsened the sex ratio as families favored boys.
Continue reading “A Two-Child Limit Imposed on Political Candidates in India—Does It Work?”
Gender bias in families is evident in many regions, but the evidence to date does not allow us to fully understand its effects. Stacy H. Chen (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, GRIPS), Yen-Chien Chen (Chi-Nan University, Taiwan), and Jin-Tan Liu (National Taiwan University and NBER) studied the educational outcomes of children in more than 965,000 families in Taiwan to better understand the experiences of daughters and sons.
Continue reading “When Families Want Sons, Do Daughters Get an Education?”
Financial aid can affect who goes to college. But how does financial aid affect students already in college who would attend even without the aid? In a new study, Jeffrey T. Denning (Brigham Young University) examines the effect of additional financial aid on these students. He finds that additional aid speeds up graduation for university seniors and increases persistence to the next year for sophomores and juniors.
Continue reading “Financial Aid Accelerates College Graduation”
Studies from low-, middle-, and high-income countries show that children brought up in a more favorable early environment benefit in the long run. They are healthier, taller, have higher cognitive ability and educational attainment, and earn significantly higher wages. As a result, preschool construction programs are often assumed to hold considerable promise to increase school readiness while reducing socioeconomic gaps in human capital development. Researchers Adrien Bouguen (University of Mannheim), Deon Filmer (World Bank), Karen Macours (Paris School of Economics and INRA), and Sophie Naudeau (World Bank) examined a school construction project in Cambodia to see if this kind of effort had the desired results. They found that a poor understanding of parent response may be at the heart of the program’s disappointing results.
Continue reading “Preschool and Parents’ Reactions in a Developing Country: Evidence from a School Construction Experiment in Cambodia”
Government-sponsored job training programs are believed to be essential to improve the job prospects of economically disadvantaged citizens and reduce dependence on safety net programs, but do they work? Job Corps is the main federal training program in the United States targeted at disadvantaged youth ages 16 to 24. Xuan Chen (Renmin University of China), Carlos A. Flores (California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo), and Alfonso Flores-Lagunes (Syracuse University) measure the effectiveness of Job Corps training and find a positive effect on three important outcomes—earnings, employment, and amount of public benefits received.
Continue reading “Job Corps Improves Earnings, Employment, and Use of Public Benefits…Even for Eligible Nonparticipants”
Because experiences in early childhood are known to influence child development, preschool programs are often viewed as policy interventions with the most potential to improve the prospects of children from low-income families. In a new study, Owen Thompson (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) examined the impact of Head Start on a variety of socioeconomic outcomes for participants through age 48.
Continue reading “Head Start’s Long-Run Impact”