Working Papers

  • Family Economics Writ Large
    with J. Greenwood and N. Guner
    May 2015

    Paper here

    Abstract:
    Powerful currents have reshaped the structure of families over the last century. There has been (i) a dramatic drop in fertility and greater parental investment in children; (ii) a rise in married female labor-force participation; (iii) a decline in marriage and a rise in divorce; (iv) a higher degree of assortative mating; (v) more children living with a single mother; (vi) shifts in social norms governing premarital sex and married women's roles in the labor market. Macroeconomic models explaining these aggregate trends are surveyed. The relentless flow of technological progress and its role in shaping family life are stressed.
    Keywords:
    Assortative mating, family economics, female labor supply, fertility, household income inequality, household production, human capital, macroeconomics, marriage and divorce, quality-quantity tradeoff, premarital sex, single mothers, social change, survey, technological progress, women's rights.
  • Fertility Shocks and Equilibrium Marriage-Rate Dynamics: Lessons from World War 1 in France
    with J. A. Knowles
    March 2015

    Paper here
    Discussion on Quartz

    Abstract:
    Low sex ratios are often equated with unfavorable marriage prospects for women, but in France after World War 1, the marriage probability of single females rose 50%, despite a massive drop in the male/female ratio. We conjecture that the war-time birth-rate bust induced an abnormal postwar abundance of singles with relatively high marriage propensities. We compute the equilibrium response, in a life-cycle matching model, of marriage hazards to war-time fertility and male-mortality shocks. Our results implicate two powerful forces: an abnormal abundance of marriageable men, and increased gains from marriage due to post-war pro-natalism.
    Keywords:
    Family Economics, Household Formation, Marriage, Fertility.
  • Explaining Differences in Life Cycle Earnings across Cohorts
    with Yu-Chien Kong and B. Ravikumar
    June 2014

    Paper coming soon here
    Presentation coming soon here

    Abstract:
    Earnings growth has been systematically decreasing from one cohort to the next, starting with the cohort that was 25-year-old in 1940. This cohort's labor earnings were multiplied by a factor of 4 between the ages of 25 and 55. For the 1980 cohort the same calculation yields a factor of 2.2. Why are recent cohorts facing flatter earnings profiles?
    Keywords:

  • Measurement Without Theory, Once Again -- A Response to Bailey and Collins (2011)
    with J. Greenwood and A. Seshadri
    June 2015

    Paper here

    Abstract:
    Bailey and Collins (2011) argue that Greenwood, Seshadri, and Vandenbroucke's (2005) hypothesis that the baby boom was partly due to a burst of productivity in the household sector is not supported by evidence. This conclusion is based on regression results showing that appliance ownership is negatively correlated with fertility. They also argue that the Amish, who limit the use of modern technology, had a baby boom. First, it is demonstrated that a negative correlation between appliance ownership and fertility can arise naturally in Greenwood, Seshadri, and Vandenbroucke's model. Second, evidence is presented casting doubt on the presumed technology phobia of the Amish.
    Keywords:
    Amish, Appliances, Baby Boom, Bailey and Collins (2011), Fertility, Indirect Inference, Minimum Distance Estimation, Regressions.