Fall 2015 Events

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Danny Yagan

Long-Term Impacts of the Great Recession across Space: Worker-Level Evidence of Hysteresis

Danny Yagan, Economics, UC Berkeley


August 27-29, 2015

Applications of Machine Learning to Economics and the Social Sciences Workshop

Applications of Machine Learning to Economics and the Social Sciences

Sendhil Mullainathany, Professor of Economics at Harvard University

Location: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way

This workshop is being co-hosted by the Center for Labor Economics, D-Lab, and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

This mini-course introduces machine learning tools to empirically knowledgeable economists and other social scientists. It aims to answer frequent questions we have about this material, such as: 1) What value do these tools have without causal inference? 2) How are they different from non-parametric methods? and 3) Are they useful in social science applications?
We will cover both the conceptual underpinnings of machine learning and the mechanics of applying it. A key goal is to lay out a framework that integrates these new tools into existing econometric knowledge.
Put simply, this is my attempt to build the class I wish I had when I was first learning machine learning.

Note: Space at this event is extremely limited and available only to registered participants

Further information on the workshop »

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Heather Boushey

Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict

Heather Boushey, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Employers today are demanding more and more of employees' time. And from campaign barbecues to the blogosphere, workers across the United States are raising the same worried question: How can I get ahead at my job while making sure my family doesn't fall behind?

Heather Boushey argues that resolving work-life conflicts is as vital for individuals and families as it is essential for realizing the country's productive potential. The federal government, however, largely ignores the connection between individual work-life conflicts and more sustainable economic growth. The consequence: business and government treat the most important things in life—health, children, elders—as matters for workers to care about entirely on their own time and dime. That might have worked in the past, but only thanks to a hidden subsidy: the American Wife, a behind-the-scenes, stay-at-home fixer of what economists call market failures. When women left the home—out of desire and necessity—the old system fell apart. Families and the larger economy have yet to recover.

But change is possible. Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict (forthcoming spring 2016, Harvard University Press) presents detailed innovations to help Americans find the time they need and businesses attract more productive workers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Sarah Anzia

Interest Groups in City Politics

Sarah Anzia, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

The modern American politics literature on representation tends to focus on the relationship between voters and elected officials, largely neglecting the potential role of interest groups in shaping public policy. This is especially true of the small literature on representation in local politics: interest groups play a minor role in its dominant theories and empirical analyses. If interest groups are relatively rare in municipal governments—as political scientists have argued—then perhaps the lack of scholarly attention to them is well warranted. However, the theories that lead to that expectation remain underdeveloped, and empirical evidence on city interest group activity is almost nonexistent. In this paper, I argue that to understand whether interest groups are active in politics—or which groups are active, under what conditions—we should start by focusing on the policies governments actually make. I use such an approach, which Hacker and Pierson (2014) call a “policy-focused approach,” to develop hypotheses about how the amount of interest group involvement in city politics varies with city characteristics, as well as hypotheses about how the kinds of interest groups that are active depends on group- and city-level factors. I test these hypotheses using data from a survey of elected officials in over 500 U.S. municipal governments. The data offer the first-ever bird's-eye view of interest group activity in a large, diverse set of American municipal governments, and the findings reveal that interest groups are not at all rare. They also show that the size and composition of city interest group systems vary predictably in ways consistent with my hypotheses, demonstrating the usefulness of a policy-focused approach to understanding interest groups.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Alexander Gelber

The Impact of Disability Insurance on Beneficiaries' Earnings: Is the Income Effect Large?

Alexander Gelber, Assistant Professor, Goldman School of Public Policy

We study how U.S. Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) payments affect beneficiaries' earnings. The formula linking DI payments to past earnings has "bend points," or discontinuous changes in the marginal replacement rate, that allow us to use a regression kink design. Using Social Security Administration microdata on all new DI beneficiaries from 2001 to 2007, we document a robust income effect of DI payment amounts on earnings around a bend point. Our preferred estimates suggest that an increase in DI payments of one dollar causes an average decrease in beneficiaries' earnings of twenty cents. In several contexts we find no evidence that the substitution effect of DI is large. This combination of findings suggests that the income effect is crucial in driving DI-induced reductions in earnings.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Michael Reich Sylvia Allegretto

The Effects of Minimum Wages on Prices in San Jose

Michael Reich, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley
Sylvia Allegretto, Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, IRLE, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Nari Rhee


Nari Rhee, Center for Labor Research and Education, UC Berkeley


Wednesday, October 28, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Betony Jones Carol Zabin


Betony Jones and Carol Zabin, Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy and Center for Labor Research and Education, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Carl Nadler


Carl Nadler, Economics, UC Berkeley


Wednesday, November 18, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

David Silver


David Silver, Economics, UC Berkeley


Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Annette Bernhardt Rose Batt


Annette Bernhardt, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley
Rose Batt, ILR School, Cornell University