IWPR Research News Roundup – March 2019

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

As AI Takes Over Jobs, Women Workers May Have the Most to Lose

Sarah Holder |  | March 2019

If the automation revolution is as bad as some researchers believe, almost half of all occupations in the U.S. are at risk of replacement by 2026. Truck drivers will be swapped out for self-driving AI. Manufacturers will use smarter machines instead of hands. Supermarkets will go cashier-free. Even more conservative projections acknowledge that some kind of transition is coming: The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the overall number of jobs of the future will grow, but that 1.4 million current ones could soon become “redundant.” […]according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)—the first known comprehensive analysis of how automation will affect U.S. workers differently based on their gender—women could have even more at stake.

Citing: Women, Automation, and the Future of Work by Ariane Hegewisch, Chandra Childers, and Heidi Hartmann at Institute for Women’s Policy Research, March 13th, 2019

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The U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team Makes a Really Good Cased for Equal Pay

Maggie Mertens |  | March 2019

According to a lawsuit filed on March 8 by the U.S. women’s national soccer team, these female athletes are being paid less than the men’s team, in some cases earning just 38 percent of pay per game. This, despite the fact that in recent years the women’s team has generated more profits and revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation, earned larger viewing audiences, and played more games than the men’s team. […] Out in the wider U.S. labor market, women’s median weekly earnings in 2018 were 81.1 cents for every dollar earned by a man. (The gap is bigger for women of color: Compared with white men’s median weekly earnings in 2018, Hispanic women earned just 61.6 percent and black women earned just 65.3 percent.) And it’s getting worse. According to data analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the gender wage gap actually widened last year.

Citing: The Gender Wage Gap: 2018 Earnings Difference by Race and Ethnicity by Ariane Hegewisch and Heidi Hartmann at Institute for Women’s Policy Research, March 7th, 2019

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STEMming the Parent Flow

Colleen Flaherty |  | March 2019

Women are more likely than men to leave full-time careers in the sciences, technology, engineering and math when they become parents. But this is not just a “mothers’ problem” — dads are leaving, too, at too high a rate, says a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using National Science Foundation data on STEM professionals — about 10 percent of whom were academic scientists, representative of national trends — the authors found that 43 percent of women and 23 percent of men left their full-time jobs within seven years of having or adopting a child.

Citing: The Changing Career Trajectories of new parents in STEM by Erin A. Cech and Mary Blair-Loy, at Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, February 19th, 2019.

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Inequality is Holding Economies Back. Education could be one Solution

Jeanna Smialek |  | March 2019

Anyone who believes the system is rigged would have experienced a grim “told you so” moment on March 12, when federal prosecutors charged 33 parents who’d bought into a scheme to ensure their children spots at elite universities. […] America is further toward the high-inequality, high-immobility end of the scale than other advanced economies. Such stickiness leads to a problem International Monetary Fund economist Shekhar Aiyar calls “talent misallocation.” When high-aptitude people are shunted to the margins of society, “not only is it unfair, it’s also bad for growth,” he says. As Aiyar describes in a February paper, countries with high income inequality paired with low mobility see slower economic progress.

Citing: Inequality of Opportunity, Inequality of Income and Economic Growth by Shekhar Aiya & Christian Ebeke at International Monetary Fund, February, 2019

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Millennial Women are Struggling Financially: Here’s Why (and Why it’s not their Fault)

Eillie Anzilotti |  | March 20th, 2019

There’s no doubt that closing the pay gap between men and women, and across races, is a vitally important step for advancing equity. Measured against the median salary that a white, male, full-time worker earns, women earn 80% of what men do: Hispanic and black women earn just 54% and 60%, respectively. But according to a new report, it’s not enough. In the U.S., young women in particular are struggling to access and build wealth, and this cannot be explained by the gender pay gap alone [..]  Clipped Wings was created by the Asset Funders Network, which directs grantmakers and funders in how to support economic equity, as well as the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. In it, the authors delve into exactly why millennial women are encountering financial difficulties today, and how support programs and investments should be redesigned to meet their needs.

Citing: Clipped Wings: Closting the Wealth Gap for Millennial Women by Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Anne Price, and Fenaba R. Addo at Asset Funders Network, 2019

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS

Digitalization, Automation, and Older Black Women: Ensuring Equity in the Future of Work

Chandra Childers | Peterson Foundation & Institute for Women’s Policy Research | March 2019

Older Black women have always worked outside the home despite limited occupational opportunities. In 1940 more than three-fourths of Black women worked as either private household workers or farm laborers. Since then, Black women have increased their educational attainment and moved in large numbers into clerical and professional occupations. Despite these advances, Black women aged 40 and older remain concentrated in a small number of occupations—almost half of older Black women work in just 20 occupations out of more than 400. Many of the occupations that older Black women work in are disproportionately low wage occupations. Automation and other technologies threaten many of the jobs older Black women work in including low wage jobs, middle-skill jobs that pay well but do not require a bachelor’s degree and professional jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or more. The risks of automation threatens to increase economic inequality—either through the growth of low-wage occupations where older Black women are disproportionately employed, or by increasing the risk of automation or digital skills substituting for workers in middle-skilled and professional occupations.

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Employer Consolidation and Wages: Evidence from Hospitals

Elena Prager & Matt Schmitt | Washington Center for Equitable Growth | February 2019

To isolate the effects of changes in concentration due to mergers, we estimate difference-in-differences models comparing wage growth in markets with mergers to wage growth in markets without mergers. We find evidence of reduced wage growth in cases where both (i) the increase in concentration induced by the merger is large and (ii) workers’ skills are at least somewhat industry-specific. Following such mergers, annual wage growth is 1.1pp slower for skilled non-health professionals and 1.7pp slower for nursing and pharmacy workers than in markets without mergers. In all other cases, we fail to reject zero wage effects. We argue that the observed patterns are unlikely to be explained by merger-related changes aside from labor market power.

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Motherhood, Migration, and Self-Employment of College Graduates

Zhengyu Cai, Heather M. Stephens & John v. Winters | IZA Institute of Labor Economics | February 2019

Women face unique challenges in starting and running their own businesses and may have differing motives to men for pursuing self-employment. Previous research suggests that married women with families value the flexibility that self-employment can offer, allowing them to balance their family responsibilities with their career aspirations. This may be especially true for college graduates, who tend to have more successful businesses. Access to childcare may also affect their labor force decisions. Using American Community Survey microdata, we examine how birth-place residence, a proxy for access to extended family and child care, relates to self-employment and hours worked for college-graduate married mothers.

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Perceived Bias and Income Patterns Differ by Race

Anna Hernandez Kent | Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis | February, 2019

Focusing on discrimination in economic research is not unusual, but concentrating on perceived discrimination is less common. In doing so, researchers can highlight an “unobservable” factor: an individual’s experience that is not readily seen or directly measured. This research, therefore, places less emphasis on reality (whether discrimination actually occurred) and more on perception (whether someone thinks they experienced discrimination). This distinction is important because perceptions add an explanatory layer above that of reality alone. People tend to act on their perceptions—even if these may not reflect reality. For example, if people only believe there will soon be a shortage of a material good, they may hoard that good, thus causing a shortage.

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International Women’s Day 2019: Global Attitudes Towards Gender Equality

Ipsos and Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College in London | February 2019

Two-thirds (65%) believe that women won’t achieve equality in their country unless men take actions to support women’s rights too. A quarter (25%) disagree. Three in five men (61%) agree compared to seven in ten women (69%). Agreement with this statement rises to 74% in Chile, 76% in Peru, 76% in Serbia, but is lowest in Italy (53%), Poland (51%) and Japan (47%). Brits are in line with the global average on this measure with 65% agreeing.

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