The Wage Gap: No One’s Responsibility, But Everyone’s Problem

Source: Lori Allen Ford, Bryan J. Deptula, Compensation & Benefits Review, OnlineFirst, Published August 7, 2019
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From the abstract:
Wage inequality in America is ballooning. The issue is receiving significant attention in the public discourse but to what avail? It is an issue that affects the entire economy although the suffering thus far has focused primarily on the lower 90% of wage earners. The long-term impacts, however, may be even more encompassing. Regardless of the potential costs, under the currently understood societal roles of corporate leaders and politicians, the issue of wage inequality is currently no one’s specific responsibility to address, but everyone’s problem. We examine the current wage status of the economic classes, the compensation practices that contribute and potential societal and economic costs if no action is taken. Finally, we consider the roles that potential players currently perform and should consider in the future to strategically address this issue.

Tackling the Global Profitarchy: Gender and the Choice of Business Sector

Source: Markus Goldstein, Paula Gonzalez Martinez, Sreelakshmi Papineni, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8865, May 24, 2019

From the abstract:
Sectoral segregation is often used to explain a large part of a well-documented gender earnings gap in business profits. Women tend to sort into different sectors than men, and the sectors dominated by women tend to be less profitable. This paper investigates the horizontal dimension of sectoral segregation by studying global data on female and male enterprises operating in sectors that are typically dominated by the same and opposite sex. The analysis uses the novel Future of Business dataset, which spans 97 countries and was administered to enterprise owners, managers, and employees who use Facebook. The analysis finds that some of the earnings gap can indeed be explained by sector choice: female-owned businesses in male-dominated sectors make significantly higher profits than those in traditionally female sectors. The evidence points to a hierarchy of earnings, with male-owned businesses in male-dominated sectors earning the most, women in male-dominated sectors and men in female-concentrated sectors in the middle tier, and women in female-concentrated sectors at the bottom. Correlational analysis suggests that women who own businesses in male-dominated sectors are younger, married, and more likely to have inherited the business than women in female-concentrated sectors. They have similar education to women in female-concentrated sectors and present higher self-efficacy but lower entrepreneurial identity and commitment to the sector. Male support networks appear to be key for female-owned firms, with co-ownership with husbands and male role models factoring into the decision to cross over.

The Changing Pattern of Returns to Education: What Impact Will this Have on Inequality?

Source: Harry A. Patrinos, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8866, May 28, 2019

From the abstract:
The pattern of economic rates of return to investments in education can help us to understand the benefits of schooling. It was common knowledge that the returns to education were highest for the primary level of education and lower for subsequent levels. Recent evidence suggests that the pattern has changed. Since the 1980s, the returns to schooling overall have increased. The returns to higher education have increased the most. The fact that the more educated have improved their position, despite an increase in their numbers, must mean that the demand for more educated workers has increased more than supply over time, causing an increase in the overall returns to schooling. Possible reasons include technological change favoring higher-order skills, increased coverage at lower levels of schooling, and the quality of schooling.

State and Local Financing of Public Schools

Source: Rebecca R. Skinner, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R45827, July 23, 2019

The funding of public elementary and secondary schools in the United States involves a combination of local, state, and federal government revenues, in proportions that vary substantially both across and within states. According to the most recent data, state governments provide 47.0% of these revenues, local governments provide 44.8%, and the federal government provides 8.3%. Over the last several decades, the share of public elementary and secondary education revenues provided by state governments has increased, the share provided by local governments has decreased, and the federal share has varied within a range of 6.0% to 12.7%. The primary source of local revenues for public elementary and secondary education is the property tax, while state revenues are raised from a variety of sources, primarily personal and corporate income and retail sales taxes, a variety of “excise” taxes such as those on tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, and lotteries in several states.

The Relationship Between Health Spending And Social Spending In High-Income Countries: How Does The US Compare?

Source: Irene Papanicolas, Liana R. Woskie, Duncan Orlander, E. John Orav, and Ashish K. Jha, Health Affairs, Ahead of Print, August 14, 2019
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From the abstract:
There is broad consensus that the US spends too much on health care. One proposed driver of the high US spending is low investment in social services. We examined the relationship between health spending and social spending across high-income countries. We found that US social spending (at 16.1 percent of gross domestic product [GDP] in 2015) is slightly below the average for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (17.0 percent of GDP) and above that average when education spending is included (US: 19.7 percent of GDP; OECD: 17.7 percent of GDP). We found that countries that spent more on social services tended to spend more on health care. Adjusting for poverty and unemployment rates and the proportion of people older than age sixty-five did not meaningfully change these associations. In addition, when we examined changes over time, we found additional evidence for a positive relationship between social and health spending: Countries with the greatest increases in social spending also had larger increases in health care spending.

Burnout and Satisfaction With Work–Life Integration Among Nurses

Source: Liselotte N. Dyrbye, Colin P. West, Pamela O. Johnson, Pamela F. Cipriano, Dale E. Beatty, Cheryl Peterson, Brittny Major-Elechi, Tait Shanafelt, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Volume 61, Issue 8, August 2019
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From the abstract:
To evaluate characteristics associated with burnout and satisfaction with work–life integration (WLI) among nurses and compare their experience to other American workers.

We used data from 8638 nurses and 5198 workers to evaluate factors associated with burnout and satisfaction with WLI, and compare nurses to workers in other fields.

In the multivariable analysis, demographics, work hours, and highest academic degree obtained related to nursing were independent predictors of burnout. Factors independently associated with satisfaction with WLI included work hours. In pooled multivariable analyses including nurses and other workers, nurses were not more likely to have symptoms of burnout but were more likely to have lower satisfaction with WLI.

Work hours and professional development related to the risk of burnout among nurses. Nurses are at similar risk for burnout relative to other US workers but experience greater struggles with WLI.

The Returns to Lobbying: Evidence from Local Governments in the “Age of Earmarks”

Source: Steven Gordon, Public Finance Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 22, 2019
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From the abstract:
I measure the returns to lobbying for US local governments in terms of federal earmarks. Because a local government’s decision to lobby may be endogenous to receiving an earmark, I instrument for lobbying with local housing prices. Since the time period of my analysis covers the Housing Crisis, I argue that the variation in housing prices over this time was largely exogenous to federal earmark distributions. The strong correlation that I find between housing price growth rates and lobbying provides evidence that local governments lobbied to buffer against impending property tax losses. I find no evidence that lobbying is associated with increased earmark awards overall. However, conditional on selection into receiving an earmark, I do find evidence that lobbying served to increase the size of earmark awards.

Political Economy of the Parcel Tax in California School Districts

Source: Soomi Lee, Public Finance Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 16, 2019
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From the abstract:
This article examines the effect of home price distribution on the likelihood of parcel tax adoption in California school districts. A parcel tax is a regressive tax imposed as the same amount per unit of property regardless of property values and requires a two-thirds supermajority vote to be adopted. Despite the growing role that local parcel taxes have in funding public education, it has not been fully understood how their regressive nature influences adoption. I argue that because the regressive tax imposes different marginal property tax rates for voters, the distribution of home prices within a district determines the likelihood of parcel tax adoption. Using the Heckman selection models with California school district–level data, I find that a large gap in home values within a district significantly lowers the likelihood of parcel tax adoption.

Household Debt and Children’s Risk of Food Insecurity

Source: Mackenzie Brewer, Social Problems, Advance Articles, August 8, 2019
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From the abstract:
In the United States, almost one in six households with children cannot access adequate food for a healthy and active lifestyle. Although food insecurity disproportionately affects lower-income households, it remains unclear why some lower-income families are more vulnerable to food insecurity than others. Household unsecured debt, such as debt incurred from credit cards and medical bills, may be an unexplored financial constraint associated with food insecurity. Using data from the 2014 Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), I assess whether unsecured debt, by amount and type of debt, is associated with food insecurity among lower-income households with children (N=1,319). Results indicate that medical debt increases odds of household food insecurity even after accounting for key sociodemographic and economic risk factors, while no relationship exists between other forms of unsecured debt and food insecurity. Moreover, although liquid assets decrease the risk of household food insecurity and attenuate the harmful effects associated with unpaid medical bills, few households have enough liquid assets to mitigate the risks associated with medical debt. Efforts to prevent medical debt may be essential for eliminating food insecurity among lower-income households with children.

U.S. Investment Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

Source: Emanuel Kopp, Daniel Leigh, Susanna Mursula, Suchanan Tambunlertchai, International Monetary Fund (IMF), IMF Working Paper No. 19/120, May 2019

From the abstract:
There is no consensus on how strongly the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has stimulated U.S. private fixed investment. Some argue that the business tax provisions spurred investment by cutting the cost of capital. Others see the TCJA primarily as a windfall for shareholders. We find that U.S. business investment since 2017 has grown strongly compared to pre-TCJA forecasts and that the overriding factor driving it has been the strength of expected aggregate demand. Investment has, so far, fallen short of predictions based on the postwar relation with tax cuts. Model simulations and firm-level data suggest that much of this weaker response reflects a lower sensitivity of investment to tax policy changes in the current environment of greater corporate market power. Economic policy uncertainty in 2018 played a relatively small role in dampening investment growth.