Job Market Candidates 2017
Fields: Regional Economics, Environmental Economics
Advisor: Harvey Cutler
Dissertation: An Analysis of Regional Labor Shares and Compensation-Productivity Gaps Across Sectors in the United States
Blake Job Market Paper: Regional Characteristics and Policy Implications of the Difference between Compensation and Productivity
Abstract: This paper develops a technique that can estimate the relationship between average compensation and productivity across sectors and U.S. states. It is determined that amenities of a region influence labor supply and thus, the relationship between compensation and productivity. In amenity-rich areas, labor supply is relatively large (i.e. East and West coasts) and compensation rates are driven below average productivity. In areas with lower perceived amenities, there will generally be limited labor supply (i.e. Midwest) and compensation rates are more likely to exceed productivity levels. Using a panel data set, this paper then analyzes the factors that influence the relationship between compensation and productivity. Regression results demonstrate that increases to average commute times and income tax rates are consistent with reductions in labor supply which drives average compensation above productivity. Similarly, increasing average state unemployment benefits and cash transfers to households cause an increase in labor supply resulting in lower compensation relative to productivity.
Fields: Political Economy, Public Economics, Environmental Economics
Advisor: Alexandra Bernasek
Dissertation: Work and Home: Connections between Personal Life and Economic Outcomes
Curley Job Market Paper: Sexual Orientation, Sexual History, and Inequality in the United States
Abstract: Much of the literature on discrimination based on sexual orientation reports significant earnings differentials for gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals when compared with heterosexuals. The General Social Survey (GSS) has been used in multiple papers due to its extensive coverage of demographic variables and sexual behavior in the U.S. This paper uses updated GSS data to investigate two questions: (1) whether the wage differentials found in earlier work have persisted; and (2) how these estimates, which are based on categorizing respondents according to the reported sex of their sex partners, compare to estimates based on the respondents’ self-reported sexual orientation. Results for the years 2008-2014 indicate that self-identification as an LGB individual has no statistically significant effect on income for men or women when compared with those who identify as heterosexual. In addition, there is a statistically significant negative income differential of 32% for men who report having had a same sex partner at some point, but identify as straight/heterosexual, compared to men who identify as gay or bisexual and men who identify as heterosexual and have only had opposite sex partners.
Fields: Environmental Economics, Public Economics
Advisor: Terry Iverson
Dissertation: A General Equilibrium Approach to Option Values with Application to Fracking Policy
Hess Job Market Paper: Uncertainty, Learning, and Local Opposition to Hydraulic Fracturing
Abstract: The development of new oil and gas extraction technologies, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking), has greatly increased the availability of fossil fuel reserves in the United States. Despite the potential for large economic benefits from fracking, uncertainty over the environmental damages associated with the technology has led to temporary bans on its use in many jurisdictions. In this paper, we explore if uncertainty about fracking damages, combined with the ability to learn about risks over time, can explain fracking bans in practice. We develop a dynamic learning model that embeds a computable general equilibrium model within a stochastic dynamic program that allows policymakers to learn about uncertain environmental damages during a moratorium. Applying the model to a representative Colorado municipality with oil and gas, we quantify the social quasi-option value (QOV), which creates an additional incentive to temporarily ban fracking in order to learn. Although the QOV is on the order of tens of millions of dollars, it only impacts policy in a narrow range of oil and gas prices. Nevertheless, faster learning can increase the implementation of bans and lead to better decision-making over time.