Does the Welfare State screw the poor?

Milton Friedman’s complaints about rent control and the minimum wage are cliche. These programs hurt the people they’re intended to help. Unintended negative consequences are the first things I look for when I think about a policy intended to help the poor. I just took their existence as an empirical fact. But I never really […]

Labor mobility

If labor was perfectly mobile and suddenly there were massive dislocations requiring workers to relocate, you’d expect an uptick in the number of workers moving, right? A corollary is that if you do not see an up-tick in the number of workers moving, then either there was no massive dislocations or there is not perfectly […]

A link everyone will find useful

I was at a practice job talk at a nearby university on Friday. As preface to my work ((I’ll post on it as soon as I get my job applications sent)), I pointed out that workers change careers many times, 3 or 4 times, over their lifetimes where career change is defined as an occupation […]

Increase inflation AND combat structural issues

Inflation is below target. Increasing output and decreasing or stagnant inflation is an indication that inflation expectations are becoming unanchored. That’s bad. Inflation should not spend too long, too far from its implicit target of 2%. Structural unemployment is high right now. Instead of just dumbly extending UI benefits and scratching our heads on why […]

Did you know?

After Kockerlakota dared suggest there are substantial structural problems in the labor market (right wing scum!), the very next paragraph was: Given the structural problems in the labor market, I do not expect unemployment to decline rapidly. My own prediction is that unemployment will remain above 8 percent into 2012. Persistently high unemployment of this […]


All the heat on the issue of AD policy overshadowed and even delegitimized discussion of policy to deal with structural issues in the labor market. Suppose the latter policies were cheaper economically and politically. In this case, while the benefits are smaller (only 1/3rd of unemployment would be addressed according to RA) the cost/benefit analysis […]

What is structural unemployment?

There seems to be a disconnect between how economists (and Fed economists in particular) use this term and how bloggers (and left bloggers in particular) use it. Some definitions: “The unemployment resulting from wage rigidity and job rationing is sometimes called structural unemployment.” — Mankiw’s intermediate text “Frictional unemployment [w.a. where the only other kind […]

The heartbeat of America

Here’s all the Jolts data (minus job openings): These are not seasonally adjusted so that’s why you get the inverted-U shape every year for the hiring and quits series and the inclined saw shape for firings. Still, you can see something happened the last two or three years. Firings (the pink line) spiked in early […]

Who are the long term unemployed?

A few weeks ago, Mike was asking me about the long term unemployed. I’m running some regressions using CPS data so I have the data he asked about just hanging out on my desktop. Public service: The unemployed during this recession ((I looked at 2008 and 2009 data for folks that worked one week or […]

More on immigration

Ok. I can’t wait anymore. Someday this paper (co-written with my advisor) will show up here. The paper reviews trends in immigration in California and summarizes the findings of one of Peri’s working papers. In that more technical paper, Peri found a clever way to control for all three confounding effects I’ve discussed before that […]