Author Archives: afscme

What are the costs of the government shutdown?

Source: Robert Polner, Futurity, January 16, 2019

The current government shutdown is now the longest on record, sidelining roughly 800,000 non-essential workers in nine agencies out of about two million full-time federal employees in all (excluding postal workers and soldiers). ….

…. The shutdown’s impact extends, Light estimates, to more than 4.1 million contract workers and grantees, as well as the hundreds of thousands of other workers. Like those non-critical workers sitting at home, contract workers, who are largely in service jobs, do not expect to be paid until Congress and the president come to an agreement to resume appropriations.

When they’ll achieve a compromise is anybody’s guess. The sticking point in this shutdown is the more than $5 billion in border-wall funding that President Trump has requested.

Meantime, fallout spreads: the appropriations freeze is bringing complications for traditional government services, from public-health inspections of food and environmental hazards to security screening.

Here, Light talks about the shutdown’s broad repercussions and if he can predict a possible end date: ….

The 2019 government shutdown is just the latest reason why poor people can’t bank on the safety net

Source: Jamila Michener, The Conversation, January 14, 2019

….People living in poverty are now bracing for that kind of chopping as a result of the partial government shutdown that began in December. By the three-week mark, most safety-net benefits were still being funded. But should the impasse drag on, that could change.

In my view, the added economic hardship brought on would highlight an enduring aspect of American public policy: Government benefits can be unreliable. They can be cut or eliminated arbitrarily….

How Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost

Source: Jason Grotto and Sandhya Kambhampati, ProPublica Illinois, and Dan Mihalopoulos, WBEZ January 16, 2019

This story is the first in an ongoing series, “The Bad Bet: How Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost,” that investigates video gambling in Illinois.

Legalizing video poker and slots was supposed to generate billions of dollars for the state. A decade later, that hasn’t happened. Now, legislators want to double down on gambling.

Understanding Trends in Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States

Source: Lawrence F. Katz, Alan B. Krueger, National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 25425, January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This paper describes and tries to reconcile trends in alternative work arrangements in the United States using data from the Contingent Worker Survey supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS) for 1995 to 2017, the 2015 RAND-Princeton Contingent Work Survey (CWS), and administrative tax data from the Internal Revenue Service for 2000 to 2016. We conclude that there likely has been a modest upward trend in the share of the U.S. workforce in alternative work arrangements during the 2000s based on the cyclically-adjusted comparisons of the CPS CWS’s, measures using self-respondents in the CPS CWS, and measures of self-employment and 1099 workers from administrative tax data. We also present evidence from Amazon Mechanical Turk that suggests that the basic monthly CPS question on multiple job holding misses many instances of multiple job holding.

Related:
The economists who predicted a surge in gig jobs say they were wrong
Source: Steve LeVine, Axios, January 7, 2019

Teacher Pensions vs. 401(k)s in Six States: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas

Source: Leon (Rocky) Joyner, Nari Rhee, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) and the National Institute on Retirement Security, January 2019

From the abstract:
A new report finds that teacher pension plans play a critical role in retaining educators while also providing greater retirement security than 401(k)-style retirement accounts. Eight out of ten educators serving in the six states studied can expect to collect pension benefits that are greater in value than what they could receive under an idealized 401(k)-type plan. The study also finds that the typical teacher in these states that offer pensions will serve 25 years in the same state, while two out of three educators will teach for at least 20 years.

These findings are featured in new research, Teacher Pensions vs. 401(k)s in Six States: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas, from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) and the National Institute on Retirement Security. The report is author by Dr. Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, and Leon (Rocky) Joyner, vice president and actuary with Segal Consulting.

Worker Voice in America: Is There a Gap between What Workers Expect and What They Experience?

Source: Thomas A. Kochan, Duanyi Yang, William T. Kimball, Erin L. Kelly, ILR Review, Volume 72 Issue 1, January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article is the fifth in a series to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the ILR Review. The series features articles that analyze the state of research and future directions for important themes this journal has featured over many years of publication. The decline in unionization experienced in the United States over the past 40 years raises a question of fundamental importance to workers, society, and the field of industrial relations: Have workers lost interest in having a voice at work, or is there a gap between workers’ expectations for a voice and what they actually experience? And if a “voice gap” exists, what options are available to workers to close that gap? The authors draw on a nationally representative survey of workers that both updates previous surveys conducted in 1977 and 1995 and goes beyond the scope of these previous efforts to consider a wider array of workplace issues and voice options. Results indicate that workers believe they should have a voice on a broad set of workplace issues, but substantial gaps exist between their expected and their actual level of voice at work. Nearly 50% of non-union workers say they would vote for a union, compared to approximately one-third in the two prior national surveys, which points to continued interest in unions as a voice mechanism. Additionally, the authors find significant variation in the rates of use of different voice options and workers’ satisfaction with those options. The results suggest that a sizable voice gap exists in American workplaces today, but at the same time, no one voice option fits all workers or all issues.

Workplace discrimination claims fare poorly in arbitration, study says

Source: Phil Ciciora – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, phys.org, December 19, 2018

The use of arbitration to adjudicate worker complaints – and avoid costly litigation through the slow, unwieldy public court system – has been a controversial practice since its usage began to increase in the 1990s. And according to a new paper co-written by a University of Illinois expert in workplace dispute resolution, certain types of cases fare worse than other types that are resolved through arbitration.

Employee discrimination claims largely received worse outcomes in arbitration than other work-related disputes such as wrongful termination or breach of contract, says new research from J. Ryan Lamare, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

Following the passage of anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employees commonly adjudicated workplace claims through litigation. But over the past three decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has sought to expand the use of private arbitration as an alternate dispute-resolution mechanism, Lamare said…..

Related:
Resolving Discrimination Complaints in Employment Arbitration: An Analysis of the Experience in the Securities Industry
Source: J. Ryan Lamare, David B. Lipsky, ILR Review, Volume 72 Issue 1, January 2019
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article empirically examines whether employment discrimination claims differ from other types of disputes resolved through arbitration. Whether arbitration is appropriate for resolving violations of anti-discrimination statutes at work is a focus of ongoing policy debates. Yet empirical scholarship has rarely considered whether different types of complaints might have distinct characteristics and receive varied outcomes in arbitration. The authors analyze all of the employment arbitration awards for cases filed between 1991 and 2006 in the financial services industry to determine whether differences in the type of allegation affect award outcomes. They also examine the effects of the financial industry’s decision in 1999 to introduce voluntary arbitration for discrimination claims. Results indicate that discrimination claims largely fared worse in arbitration than did other statutory or non-statutory claims but that arbitration systems are capable of meaningful self-reform.

The Minimum Wage, EITC, and Criminal Recidivism

Source: Amanda Y. Agan – Rutgers University, Department of Economics, Michael D. Makowsky – Clemson University, John E. Walker Department of Economics, Date Written: September 25, 2018

From the abstract:
For recently released prisoners, the minimum wage and the availability of state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) can influence both their ability to find employment and their potential legal wages relative to illegal sources of income, in turn affecting the probability they return to prison. Using administrative prison release records from nearly six million offenders released between 2000 and 2014, we use a difference-in- differences strategy to identify the effect of over two hundred state and federal minimum wage increases, as well as 21 state EITC programs, on recidivism. We find that the average minimum wage increase of $0.50 reduces the probability that men and women return to prison within 1 year by 2.8%. This implies that on average the effect of higher wages, drawing at least some released prisoners into the legal labor market, dominates any reduced employment in this population due to the minimum wage. These reductions in returns to incarcerations are observed for the potentially revenue generating crime categories of property and drug crimes; prison reentry for violent crimes are unchanged, supporting our framing that minimum wages affect crime that serves as a source of income. The availability of state EITCs also reduces recidivism, but only for women.