- Skills, Parental Sorting, and Child Inequality (with Martin Nybom, Erik Plug and Bas van der Klaauw)
This paper formulates a simple skill and education model to explain how better access to higher education leads to stronger assortative mating on skills of parents and more polarized skill and earnings distributions of children. Swedish data show that in the second half of the 20th century more skilled students increasingly enrolled in college and ended up with more skilled partners and more skilled children. Exploiting college expansions, we find that better college access increases both skill sorting in couples and skill and earnings inequality among their children. All findings support the notion that rising earnings inequality is, at least in part, supply driven by rising skill inequality.
- What Drives Paternity Leave: Financial Incentives or Flexibility? (with Omar Bamieh)
Despite changing gender norms, few fathers decide to take parental leave after the birth of a child, and when they do, their leave spells are substantially shorter compared to mothers. This study examines how paternal leave-taking is affected by two key features of leave policies: flexibility in leave duration and financial incentives. To disentangle their impact, we exploit recent changes to the Austrian parental leave system, which initially offered flat monthly benefits for 36 months after childbirth. The first reform added considerably shorter leave options; the second reform introduced income-dependent benefits, increasing net income replacement rates to 80 percent. Using a regression discontinuity design based on eligibility cutoff dates, we find that both reforms had a strong impact on leave take-up of fathers. The availability of shorter leave options increased leave-taking by 23 percent, while the introduction of income-dependent benefits raised take-up by another 13 percent relative to pre-reform means. Despite these increases, the share of leave taken by fathers relative to mothers remained similar. Comparing the impact of the two reforms across different income groups, we conclude that higher flexibility is more effective than stronger financial compensation in raising the number of leave-taking fathers.
- Can Wage Transparency Alleviate Gender Sorting in the Labor Market? (with Omar Bamieh)
Wage decompositions suggest that a large share of the gender wage gap can be explained by differences in occupation and employer choices. If female workers are not well informed about these pay differences, increasing wage transparency might alleviate the gender gap. We test this hypothesis by examining the impact of the 2011 Pay Transparency Law in Austria, which requires companies to state a wage figure in job advertisements. For the analysis, we combine vacancy postings from the largest Austrian job board with social security spells that record the gender of new hires. To compare the pay level of vacancies before and after the reform, we predict wage postings using detailed occupation-employer cells, which explain about 75 percent of the variation in posted wages. While we estimate a substantial gender wage gap of 15 log points, pay transparency did not affect gender sorting into better-paid occupation and firms. To study job transitions, we focus on a subsample of workers whose previous employment is also observed. Our estimates show that switching occupations is common, and it often entails significant wage changes. Yet, in line with our main estimates, we do not find that women become more likely to switch to better-paid jobs. We interpret the absence of effects as evidence that limited transparency does not explain the persistence of gender sorting in the labor market.
- Gender-Age Differences in Hiring Rates and Prospective Wages. Evidence from Job Referrals to Unemployed Workers (with Omar Bamieh)
This paper uses matched worker-vacancy data to study gender differences in hiring outcomes of jobseekers in Austria. When registered at the public employment office, jobseekers are assigned caseworkers who refer them to suitable vacancies. Our findings show that female and male jobseekers are equally likely to get hired via such a referral, but it takes women longer to get a job offer. Most of the observed gender differences stem from younger jobseekers (below age 35) and are explained by rejections of employers. Young women are also less often hired for better-paying jobs. We argue that these differences are consistent with hiring discrimination against women in their fertile age. Our analysis shows that young female jobseekers are much more likely to go on parental leave in the future, while men almost never take extended parental leave. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that hiring differences are larger for jobs associated with higher replacement costs and smaller in tight labor markets.
- What is the Media Impact of Research in Economics?
Many research institutions aim to have a strong public impact but little evidence exists on the extent to which research findings reach a wider audience. Using a large sample of studies released in the working paper series of the National Bureau of Economic Research, I identify online coverage of research findings in 6 major news outlets. The analysis shows significant coverage rates in most newspapers in the first month after study release. Overall, about every 11th working paper is covered at least once during this period. I also find that media reporting is correlated with several author and study characteristics. While differences in coverage between most research areas are modest, empirical as well as US-focused studies receive substantially more attention. In particular, widely cited papers are covered more frequently, showing that academic success of studies serves as a strong predictor for wider public impact.
- Skill Demand and Wages. Evidence from Linked Vacancy Data
This study provides new evidence on skill requirements in the labor market and shows to what extent skill demand is associated with wages and vacancy duration. Using more than 1.5 million job postings administered by the Austrian public employment service, I identify the most common skill requirements mentioned in job descriptions. Because employers in Austria are legally required to state the minimum remuneration for advertised positions, it is possible to relate the skill content of jobs to wage postings. Moreover, I estimate skill associations with starting wages for a subset of vacancies which can be matched to administrative data on employment spells of eventual hires. Accounting for education, work experience, and firm and occupation fixed-effects, there exists a robust association between the number of skill requirements and wages. In particular, jobs with many skill requirements pay substantially higher wages. While I estimate large effects for managerial and analytical skills, associations with most soft skills are small. Employers also need longer to fill vacancies with many skill requirements. Robustness tests show that measurement error is unlikely to explain these results and that the estimates can be replicated using vacancy postings from another job board.
Work in progress
- Mismatch on the Labor Market. Benefit Schemes and Work Incentives
- A Field Experiment on Labor Market Speeddates for Unemployed Workers (with Bas van der Klaauw)
Journal of Human Resources (forthcoming)
We conduct a field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of labor market speeddates where unemployed workers meet temporary employment agencies. Our analysis shows that participation in such events increases immediate job finding by 6-7 percentage points. In the subsequent months, employment effects diminish again, suggesting that vacancies mediated through temporary employment agencies have no long-lasting effect on employment prospects. While the intervention is cost effective for the UI administration, higher labor earnings of treated job seekers do not fully compensate for the decline in benefit payments. Additional survey evidence shows that speeddate participation increases job search motivation and reduces reservation wages.
- Are Remote Work Options the New Standard? Evidence from Vacancy Postings during the COVID-19 Crisis. (with Omar Bamieh)
Labour Economics 76, 102179 (2022)
This study examines how the COVID-19 crisis has changed the willingness of employers to offer teleworking options. We analyze job descriptions from vacancy postings on the largest Austrian job board to classify whether employers offer the option to telework to new hires. Our results show that the crisis has substantially increased the scope for remote work. About one year after the onset of the crisis, employers were 2–3 times as likely to explicitly offer such an option relative to levels before the pandemic. This effect is particularly strong for jobs that require at least a degree from a higher secondary school. Accounting for changes in vacancies by occupations and firms, we find that the impact is neither driven by an increase in the demand for teleworkable occupations nor by an increase in vacancies at teleworking-friendly firms. Although many social distancing restrictions were relaxed again during the summer of 2020, the effect persists throughout the first year of the crisis, suggesting that the pandemic may have long-lasting effects on remote working arrangements. To test the robustness of our results, we merge two external occupation-level teleworking measures to our sample. Both measures are highly correlated with our measure and yield comparable estimates for the impact of the pandemic on vacancies for teleworkable occupations.
- Do Parental Networks Pay Off? Linking Children's Labor-Market
Outcomes to their Parents' Friends. (with Bas van der Klaauw and
Scandinavian Journal of Economics 120(1), 268-295 (2018)
This paper examines whether children are better off if their parents have more elaborate social networks. Using data on high-school friendships of parents, we analyze whether the number and characteristics of friends affect the labor market outcomes of children. While parental friendships formed in high school appear long lasting, we find no significant impact on their children's occupational choices and earnings prospects. These results do not change when we account for network endogeneity, network persistency and network measurement error. Only when children enter the labor market, friends of parents have a marginally significant but small influence on their occupational choice.