RESEARCH IN THE NEWS
Boston Comes Together to Help Immigrants Find Jobs
“JVS Boston is just one of several programs, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), that braid federal and local resources into an effective salve for people in need. From Cincinnati to Seattle, these efforts provide “key unmet needs” to job seekers like Feona, according to IWPR researchers.”
Citing: Programs to Support Job Training Success: Innovations to Address Unmet Needs, by Julie Anderson, M.A., Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research
A Surprising Group is Taking Over College Campuses
“The number of college students with kids of their own grew by more than 1 million, or 30%, between 2004 and 2012, according to a report released Monday by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on women’s economic issues. Parents are flocking to college campuses as a college degree becomes increasingly necessary to secure a good job in today’s labor market. But at the same time that this group of student parents is growing, the resources colleges provide to them are shrinking. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of campuses with child care declined in 36 states.”
Citing: College Students with Children: National and Regional Profiles, by Elizabeth Noll, Ph.D., Lindsey Reichlin, M.A., and Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research
The Number of US Women Taking Maternity Leave Isn’t Increasing, and Trump Won’t Fix That
“…A Department of Labor and IWPR research brief found that if a national family leave plan was implemented, the number of workers opting to take paid family and medical leave would only increase by 6 to 11 percent annually, depending on the model implemented.[IWPR President Heidi] Hartmann said the brief didn’t project a larger percentage of workers taking paid family and medical leave because workers are more likely to store up paid leave instead of taking it. But she maintains that a federally mandated program remains the best way to ensure paid leave for low-income women and women working in businesses that cannot afford to provide paid leave on their own.”
Why Young Girls Don’t Think They Are Smart Enough
“By the age of 6, young girls are less likely than boys to view their own gender as brilliant. In our research, published today in the journal Science, we’ve found that girls as young as 6 start to believe that specific activities are “not for them” simply because they think they’re not smart enough. Our research suggests that American children are picking up on cultural stereotypes about brilliance at an early age. Unfortunately, these stereotypes suggest that girls aren’t as smart as boys.”
Citing: Gender Stereotypes About Intellectual Ability Emerge Early and Influence Children’s Interests, by Lin Bian, Sarah-Jane Leslie, and Andrei Cimpian
U.S. Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade
“The abortion rate in the United States fell to its lowest level since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion nationwide, a new report finds. The report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports legalized abortion, puts the rate at 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (ages 15-44) in 2014. That’s the lowest recorded rate since the Roe decision in 1973. The abortion rate has been declining for decades — down from a peak of 29.3 in 1980 and 1981.”
Citing: Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2014, by Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman, Guttmacher Institute
Even in Liberal Boston, There’s a Gender Wage Gap
“Working women in Greater Boston make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men — a gender wage gap that echoes the national average — according to a report released Thursday by the Boston Women’s Workforce Council. The report, which collected anonymous wage data from 112,600 workers at 69 companies, is the first in the nation to analyze the gender pay gap using employer data, according to the study authors. Previously, wage gaps have been calculated using employee-reported salaries, which are considered less accurate.”
Citing: Boston Women’s Workforce Council Report 2016, by Boston Women’s Workforce Council
NEW RESEARCH REPORTS
Report to the New Leadership and the American People on Social Insurance and Inequality
By Benjamin W. Veghte, Elliot Schreur, Alexandra L. Bradley, et al. | National Academy of Social Insurance | January 2017
The Academy engaged the expertise of over 80 of its Members and partners in government, law, advocacy, and academia to develop informed analyses of the current challenges facing social insurance, as well opportunities for improvements. This Report provides accurate, non-biased, non-partisan analyses of social insurance from a variety of perspectives to inform the new leadership and the American people about the importance of this infrastructure, the crucial issues at stake in social insurance policy, and the possibility – and, in many cases, necessity – for reforms.
Maternity and Family Leave Policy
By Maya Rossin-Slater | National Bureau of Economic Research| January 2017
Maternity and family leave policies enable mothers to take time off work to prepare for and recover from childbirth and to care for their new children. While there is substantial variation in the details of these policies around the world, the existing research yields the following general conclusions. First, despite important barriers to the take-up of leave, both the implementation of new programs and extensions of existing ones increase leave-taking rates among new parents. Second, leave entitlements less than one year in length can improve job continuity for women and increase their employment rates several years after childbirth; longer leaves can negatively influence women’s earnings, employment, and career advancement. Third, extensions in existing paid leave policies have no impact on measures of child well-being, but the introduction of short paid and unpaid leave programs can improve children’s short- and long-term outcomes. Fourth, while more research is needed, the current evidence shows minimal impacts of existing U.S. state-level programs on employer-level outcomes such as employee productivity, morale, profitability, turnover rates, or the total wage bill.
Access to Contraception in 2016 and What It Means to Women
By Emily M. Johnston, Brigette Courtot, and Genevieve M. Kenney | Urban Institute | January 2017
Understanding women’s access to contraception in 2016 is particularly important given the uncertainty of policies affecting access to reproductive health services in the future. This brief provides estimates of self-reported access to contraception among women at risk of unintended pregnancy and perceptions of the role of birth control in women’s lives. Most women are using contraception, the full cost of which is usually covered by health insurance or another program. Yet, some women report barriers to contraception access, many of which are related to cost. The majority of women agree that birth control has a positive effect on women’s lives.
Bridging the Divide: How Business Ownership Can Help Close the Racial Wealth Gap
By Joyce Klein | The Aspen Institute | January 2017
Latinos and African Americans holder relatively low levels of business assets, contributing to their lower levels of wealth overall. Yet there are trends in the right direction: rates of business creation among these entrepreneurs are increasing, and now exceed those of whites. Particularly among African Americans, higher levels of college attainment combined with expanded contracting opportunities are enabling movement into more lucrative markets and sectors…The white paper outlines short- and long-term recommendations to address the racial wealth gap through business ownership strategies. In the short-term, continuing and expanding efforts to increase access to capital, skills, networks, and markets will be needed to realize the promise that business ownership holds for addressing the racial wealth gap. In the long-term, universal policies to narrow the racial wealth gap — such as those aimed at raising the quality of education, building savings, and increasing financial inclusion — will be critical.
Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements
By Alexandre Mas and Amanda Pallais | Washington Center for Equitable Growth | January 2017
We use a field experiment to study how workers value alternative work arrangements. During the application process to staff a national call center, we randomly offered applicants choices between traditional M-F 9 am – 5 pm office positions and alternatives. These alternatives include flexible scheduling, working from home, and positions that give the employer discretion over scheduling. We randomly varied the wage difference between the traditional option and the alternative, allowing us to estimate the entire distribution of willingness to pay (WTP) for these alternatives. We validate our results using a nationally-representative survey. The great majority of workers are not willing to pay for flexible scheduling relative to a traditional schedule: either the ability to choose the days and times of work or the number of hours they work. However, the average worker is willing to give up 20% of wages to avoid a schedule set by an employer on a week’s notice. This largely represents workers’ aversion to evening and weekend work, not scheduling unpredictability. Traditional M-F 9 am – 5 pm schedules are preferred by most jobseekers. Despite the fact that the average worker isn’t willing to pay for scheduling flexibility, a tail of workers with high WTP allows for sizable compensating differentials. Of the worker- friendly options we test, workers are willing to pay the most (8% of wages) for the option of working from home. Women, particularly those with young children, have higher WTP for work from home and to avoid employer scheduling discretion. They are slightly more likely to be in jobs with these amenities, but the differences are not large enough to explain any wage gaps.
Preparing for the Elder Boom: A Framework for State Solutions
By Josephine Kalipeni| Caring Across Generations | January 2017
With Millennials becoming parents and Baby Boomers getting older, the need for care across all generations of our families is growing. Many people can no longer rely on just family to provide the care they need. One of the most important steps we can take – and must take – in creating a family-centered caregiving system built for the 21st century is to address, head-on, the question of how we better provide long-term services and supports (LTSS) for our aging population and people with disabilities. Supporting care at any age and every stage of life will mean that we must invest now in eldercare, childcare, and paid leave for all. This paper reflects Caring Across Generations’ recommendations for the first of these critical components of a new, inclusive, interdependent vision for Universal Family Care.
Aging in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities for Americans
By Amanda Sonnega | Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan | January 2017
Our nation’s leading resource for data on aging in America—the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a panel study of people over age 50 in the United States—is now in its 25th year. As the Baby Boom generation retires at the astounding rate of 10,000 people per day, this public asset is more important than ever. By 2030, when the last of the Boomers turns 65, the population aged 65 and older will have increased to 20 percent from 15 percent in 2015. This dramatic change in our population means that there will be more retirees drawing benefits and fewer workers to help pay for programs like Social Security and Medicare. The HRS was created to help address these challenges by providing information about the lives of retired people and people approaching retirement ages.