Crime and the Minimum Wage (2019) forthcoming Review of Economic Dynamics Volume 32, April 2019, Pages 122-152

Working Papers

Testing the Independence of Job Arrival Rates and Wage Offers in Models of Job Search*
with Ben Griffy, Bryan Engelhardt, and Peter Rupert
Abstract: Is the arrival rate of a job independent of the wage that it pays? We answer this question by testing how, and to what extent, unemployment insurance changes the hazard rate of leaving unemployment across the wage distribution using a Mixed Proportional Hazard Competing Risk Model and data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Controlling for worker characteristics we reject that job arrival rates are independent of the wages offered. We apply the results to several prominent job-search models and interpret how our findings are key to determining the efficacy of unemployment insurance.

*Previously distributed under the title "Do Workers Direct their Search?"
Dual Job Search and Migration
with E. Charlie Nusbaum and Peter Rupert
Abstract: From 1964-1990, the aggregate intercounty migration rate remained largely unchanged, after which it began to decrease. During this same period, however, the intercounty migration rate of married couples steadily declined while the migration rate of single individuals concurrently increased. This paper builds on the extensive demography and labor literature by asking how much of the decline in the mobility of married couples can be accounted for by the rapid increase in female labor force participation and the rise of female wages relative to male from 1964 to 2000? We first show that dual searching couples are 10% less likely to move and 36% less likely to move for job related reasons than their single searching counterparts. We then use a two location model with both single and dual searching households to decompose these historical trends into a composition effect and a wage effect. We find that the rise of female labor force participation among married couples can account for 18% of the decline in migration, whereas rising relative wages of wives can account for 20% of this decline.

Quality Hours: Measuring Labor Input
with Finn E. Kydland and Peter Rupert
Abstract: We construct an aggregate labor input series from 1979 to adjust for changes in the experience and education levels of the workforce using the Current Population Survey's Outgoing Rotation Groups. We compare the cyclical behavior of labor input to aggregate hours - finding that labor input is about 11% less volatile over the business cycle and that the quality of the workforce is countercyclical. We show that a decrease in labor productivity beginning in 2004, the "productivity slowdown," is understated by 23 percentage points when using aggregate hours instead of labor input to calculate productivity, and that 80% of the average quarterly growth rate of labor productivity can be attributed to increases in education and experience since 2004.

Data: Final Data , Read Me

Work in Progress

On-the-Job Leisure - Slides
with Travis Cyronek and Peter Rupert
Abstract: The presence of on-the-job leisure, that is, non-work at work, drives a wedge be- tween measured hours of work and actual hours of work. If actual hours of work are lower than measured hours, productivity and wages are actually higher than those calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example. Technological innovations, while making an hours of work more valuable, may also make it easier to engage in on-the-job leisure. We document the extent of on-the-job leisure and imbed it into a model of technological change with imperfect monitoring to examine its effect on productivity and wages. Using the American Time Use Survey we show that for those workers who engage in OJL spend about 50 minutes per day doing so. We use the model to create a time series of actual hours of work and calculate actual output per hour.

Decomposing Match Efficiency and Aggregate Vacancies
Abstract: In this paper I estimate a monthly aggregate vacancy series that extends back to 1976. I decompose the aggregate vacancy series by education group by estimating a nonlinear state space model. Using the resulting estimated vacancy series and match efficiencies by education group, I decompose aggregate match efficiency and calculate the percent of aggregate match efficiency accounted for by educational differenced. I find that the percent of aggregate match efficiency that is accounted for by education is counter cyclical and has a stark downward trend. While differenced in education accounted for nearly 18% of aggregate match efficiency following the 1982 recession, currently they account for only 2.5%.
Why do Europeans steal more than Americans?
with Marek Kapicka and Peter Rupert
Abstract: Property crime is today more widespread in Europe than in the United States, while the opposite was true during the 1970s and 1980s. In this paper we study the deter- minants of crime in a dynamic general equilibrium labor and crime search model. We focus on United States and United Kingdom, and compute the contribution of various factors to the total change. We find that changes in the probability of ap- prehension and prison duration increased crime rates for both countries. At the same time, changes in the job finding and job separation rates decreased the crime rate in the United States, but increased it in the United Kingdom. Changes in the unemployment insurance rates and age distribution also contributed to the reversal.