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Census Bureau Economists to Present at the American Economic Association and Allied Social Science Association Annual Meetings

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*NOTE: Updated presentation on 1/4/2022.


U.S. Census Bureau economists are set to present at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association (AEA) and Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) scheduled to be held virtually Jan. 7–9. More than 13,000 economists and other social scientists from around the world are typically expected to attend the conference that showcases the latest research in economics.

This year’s AEA/ASSA meeting includes presentations of the following 13 papers by Census Bureau researchers.

  • Telework Did Not Save Us: Motherhood, Work, and a Once in a Century Pandemic (Heggeness). This paper uses data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and finds that during the COVID-19 pandemic custodial mothers were more likely to leave the labor force, and that this phenomenon was concentrated among mothers working in telework-able jobs. Additionally, mothers who stayed in the labor market were more likely to take leave, and mothers in telework-able jobs were twice as likely to take leave — possibly because of challenges associated with balancing increased childcare needs with an at-home workplace.
  • Same-Sex Couples and Parental Earnings Dynamics (Downs, Foster, Nesbit and Sandler). This paper utilizes linked survey and administrative data to identify same-sex and different-sex couples, their fertility timing and their earnings dynamics around the birth of their first child and finds divergent patterns for same-sex versus different-sex couples that are not explained by differences in the prechild characteristics of the couples.
  • Are Tariffs Biased? The Effects of the 2018 U.S. Tariffs on the Gender Wage Gap (Ayromloo and Bennett). This paper examines how the 2018 U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum changed the industry-specific gender wage gap in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic using data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation.
  • The Changing Nature of Permanent Earnings Risk (Braxton, Herkenhoff, Rothbaum and Schmidt). This paper uses 23.5 million Social Security Administration records linked to the Current Population Survey (CPS) and finds that earnings risk among the employed remained stable from 1982 to 2016, masking an upward trend in permanent earnings risk and a downward trend in temporary earnings risk. At the same time, permanent earnings losses among the unemployed accelerated but the ability to insure against these shocks using government transfers remained stable.
  • The Sources of Local Labor Market Hysteresis after Recessions (Goetz, Hershbein and Stuart). This paper explores why local labor markets with greater employment declines during recessions experience reductions in employment, employment-population ratios and earnings per capita that are highly persistent. This paper analyzes whether this is due to changes in the composition of workers residing in an area as opposed to lasting effects on individuals, increased job destruction or decreased job creation; or changes in assortative matching between high-wage workers and high-wage employers.
  • Productivity Dispersion, Entry, and Growth in U.S. Manufacturing Industries (Pabilonia, Cunningham, Foster, Grim, Haltiwanger, Stewart and Wolf). This paper uses data from Dispersion Statistics on Productivity, Business Dynamics Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on productivity growth and finds support for the hypothesis that periods of innovation are initially associated with a surge in business startup rates, followed by an increase in experimentation that leads to rising productivity dispersion with potentially declining aggregate productivity growth, and then a shakeout process resulting in higher productivity growth and declining dispersion.
  • Worker Mobility and the Decline in Innovation Rates and Diffusion (Marschke, Barth, Davis and Wang). This paper utilizes employer-employee linked data on workers’ employment histories and employer characteristics, combined with data on firms’ research and development (R&D), to investigate the link between declining innovation and changes in worker flows (e.g., of scientists and engineers) from R&D-performing, highly productive and larger establishments, to less productive and smaller establishments.
  • Financing Conditions and Young-Firm Dynamics (Brown, Davis, Foster, Haltiwanger, Sabelhaus and Zhao). This paper employs multiple Census Bureau survey data on owner and business characteristics, financing sources, and owner perceptions of financing constraints, integrated with the Longitudinal Business Database, to study the effects of personal wealth and external financing conditions on the employment dynamics of start-ups and young firms in the U.S economy over the past 30 years.
  • Black Entrepreneurs, Job Creation, and Financial Constraints (Kim, Lee, Brown and Earle). This paper finds black-owned businesses tend to operate with less finance, compared to white-owned businesses; are less likely to receive and more likely to refrain from applying for bank loans; and employ fewer workers, though they would be larger if they were not financially constrained.
  • Driving the Gig Economy (Abraham, Haltiwanger, Sandusky and Spletzer). This paper combines administrative data on self-employment earnings with administrative data on the same individuals’ wage and salary earnings to examine self-employment in taxi and limousine services, the high-growth sector in which drivers find work through a ridesharing platform. The paper finds evidence consistent with lowered barriers to entry having made ridesharing a more attractive option for workers who experience adverse economic shocks, but the introduction of ride-sharing platforms has led to lower earnings and industry exit among incumbent taxi drivers.
  • Addressing Nonresponse Bias in Household Surveys Using Linked Administrative Data (Rothbaum and Bee). This paper uses income, demographic and socioeconomic information on respondent and nonrespondent households from administrative data, the decennial census and other surveys along with entropy balancing to adjust survey weights to match a high-dimensional vector of moment constraints, to address nonresponse bias in the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC).
  • *Fixing Errors in a SNAP: Addressing SNAP Under-reporting to Evaluate Poverty (Rothbaum, Fox and Shantz) The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a major piece of the social safety net. At peak participation in 2013, SNAP annual benefits exceeded $76 billion, with 47.6 million monthly participants. However, SNAP is vastly under-reported in surveys. Because SNAP is administered at the state level, nationwide administrative data is not available. We address this issue by using administrative SNAP data from eight states to impute “true” SNAP participation for the rest of the country. We validate our approach by implementing a leave-one-out imputation and evaluate how SNAP affects resources and poverty and the relationship between SNAP receipt and earnings.
  • Using WIC Administrative Data to Evaluate the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) (Fox and Hokayem). This paper links state administrative data on the Supplementary Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to the CPS ASEC to examine the impact of misreporting of benefits on the overall SPM and SPM poverty for various demographic groups.

In addition to these papers by Census Bureau authors, there will be presentations of research papers based on Census Bureau microdata written by researchers using the Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) network.

Census Bureau chief scientist John Abowd will also be participating in three panels, discussing the top challenge and top opportunity for increasing access to administrative data for policy research, analysis of administrative data, and data privacy and the 2020 Census.

Census Bureau economists and our FSRDC collaborators play a key role in creating and improving statistical products essential to policymakers, businesses, researchers and the public. These products come from a variety of sources, such as survey microdata on businesses and households, linked employer-employee data and confidential microdata from federal and state administrative and statistical agencies. Our economists use these data to study a variety of topics to help the Census Bureau better measure the economy.

More information on all the papers to be presented at the AEA/ASSA meeting, including a preliminary program with abstracts, is available at <www.aeaweb.org/conference/2022/preliminary>.

More information on working papers by Census Bureau and FSRDC researchers is available at <www.census.gov/topics/research/library/working-papers.html>.


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