Enduring Employment Losses from the Great Recession? Longitudinal Worker-Level Evidence

Source: Danny Yagan, UC Berkeley and NBER, June 2016

The severity of the Great Recession varied across U.S. local areas. Comparing two million workers within firms across space, I find that starting the recession in a below-median 2007-2009-employment-shock area caused workers to be 1.0 percentage points less likely to be employed in 2014, relative to starting elsewhere. These enduring employment losses hold even when controlling for current local unemployment rates, which have converged across space. The results demonstrate limits to U.S. local labor market integration and suggest hysteresis effects culminating in labor force exit.
They’re some of the unluckiest places in America — and may confirm what’s wrong with the economy
Source: Ana Swanson, Washington Post, Wonkblog, June 23, 2016

Regulating for decent work experience: Meeting the challenge of the rise of the intern

Source: Rosemary Owens and Andrew Stewart, International Labour Review, Accepted manuscript online: June 21, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
An important (if under-researched) feature of modern labour markets has been the growth of unpaid ‘internships’ and other forms of ‘work experience’. These arrangements may reflect an understandable desire by job-seekers to gain a foothold in highly competitive job markets. But they can open up the possibility of exploitation, as businesses and non-profit organisations replace what might previously have been paid entry-level jobs, and may reduce social mobility. We review some of the legal and policy responses around the developed world, including the imposition of legislative controls (as in France); enforcement of existing labour laws by public authorities (Australia) or groups of workers themselves (United States); and the development of guidelines for ‘ethical’ forms of work experience (United Kingdom). In doing so we hope to lay the foundation for a more effective response to what has become a clear challenge to the objective of securing decent work.

A Flexible Health Care Workforce Requires a Flexible Regulatory Environment: Promoting Health Care Competition Through Regulatory Reform

Source: Andrew I. Gavil, Tara Isa Koslov, Washington Law Review, Vol. 91, No. 1, 2016

From the abstract:
Effective competition policy is critical to the success of U.S. health care reform, including efforts to reduce health care costs, increase quality of care, and expand access to health care services. While promoting competition is necessary at every level of the rapidly evolving health care system, it is particularly important with respect to licensed professionals who provide health care services. This Article argues that the current system of health care professional regulation, born of the last century, is in numerous respects an impediment to the kinds of changes needed to fully unleash the benefits of competition among different types of health care service providers. To the contrary, the current system of licensure and related regulations tends to artificially separate professionals in ways that not only insulate them from competition now, but also generate incentives to use regulation to perpetuate and fortify such insulation in the future. Drawing on analytic principles derived from antitrust law enforcement and other regulated industries, the Article argues that, although some regulation is necessary to protect public health and safety, the legacy regulatory system likely impedes the development of innovative, alternate service models that might facilitate enhanced competition by allowing all professionals to practice to the full extent of their education, licensure, and skill. The Article concludes by proposing a range of reforms that would re-conceptualize the core characteristics and methodology of traditional health care professional regulation.

The Political Economy of Underfunded Municipal Pension Plans

Source: Jeffrey Brinkman, Daniele Coen-Pirani, Holger Sieg, NBER Working Paper No. w22321, June 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This paper analyzes the determinants of underfunding of local government’s pension funds using a politico-economic overlapping generations model. We show that a binding downpayment constraint in the housing market dampens capitalization of future taxes into current land prices. Thus, a local government’s pension funding policy matters for land prices and the utility of young households. Underfunding arises in equilibrium if the pension funding policy is set by the old generation. Young households instead favor a policy of full funding. Empirical results based on cross-city comparisons in the magnitude of unfunded liabilities are consistent with the predictions of the model.

The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2016

From the summary:
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book finds today’s youth — Generation Z — are healthier and completing high school on time despite mounting economic inequality and increasingly unaffordable college tuition. Aided by smart policies and investments in prevention, a record number of teens are making positive choices. This year, the annual report focuses on key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years and offers recommendations for how policymakers can ensure all children are prepared for the future, based on the country’s shared values of opportunity, responsibility and security.

Employee assistance programs, drug testing, and workplace injury

Source: Geetha M. Waehrer, Ted R. Miller, Delia Hendrie, Deborah M. Galvin, Journal of Safety Research, Volume 57, June 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Introduction: Little is known about the effects of employee assistance programs (EAPs) on occupational injuries.
Materials and methods: Multivariate regressions probed a unique data set that linked establishment information about workplace anti-drug programs in 1988 with occupational injury rates for 1405 establishments.
Results: EAPs were associated with a significant reduction in both no-lost-work and lost-work injuries, especially in the manufacturing and transportation, communication and public utilities industries (TCPU). Lost-work injuries were more responsive to specific EAP characteristics, with lower rates associated with EAPs staffed by company employees (most likely onsite). Telephone hotline services were associated with reduced rates of lost-work injuries in manufacturing and TCPU. Drug testing was associated with reductions in the rate of minor injuries with no lost work, but had no significant relationship with lost-work injuries.
Practical applications: This associational study suggests that EAPs, especially ones that are company-staffed and ones that include telephone hotlines, may prevent workplace injuries.

• In 1989, employers with EAPs had significantly less no-lost-work and lost-work injuries.
• Lost-work injury rates were lower in companies with EAPs staffed by company employees.
• EAP hotlines were associated with lower lost-work injury rates in manufacturing and transportation/communications/public utilities.
• Evidence of an association between drug testing and the occupational injury rate was weak.