IWPR Research News Roundup – January 2019

IWPR Research News Roundup – January 2019

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

The Class of 2019 are More Likely to be Older and Have Children 

Jillian Berman |  | February 2019

Like 40% of students who enter college, life got in the way of Shawnte’ Cain completing her degree. Cain, 39, began her college career in 1997 at Wayne State University in Detroit. She successfully made it through three years at the school, but just as she could see her degree on the horizon, her grandmother fell ill. School fell by the wayside as Cain cared for her and her own financial obligations rose.

Citing: Completing College – National 2018 – by NSC Research Center, December, 2018

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How the 1% Profit Off of Racial Economic Inequality

Derick Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins |  | January 2019

As people of color make up a larger share of the diversifying US population, that persistent racial wealth divide is bringing down America’s median wealth. But while wealth at the middle falters, it’s soaring at the top. In other words, the 1% are profiting off ongoing racial economic inequality. All this is happening against a backdrop of seemingly good economic news. Black and Latino unemployment rates reached historic lows in 2018, and median income has slowly inched up for all households in the last few years

Citing: Dreams Deferred: How Enriching the 1% Widens the Radical Wealth Divide at Institute for Policy Studies, Jan, 2019

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The Global Gender Gap will Take More Than 100 Years to Close: Here Are the Countries with the Highest and Lowest Gender Gap around the World

Will Martin and Skye Gould |  | January 2019

It will take more than 200 years for economic gender equality to emerge, and 108 years to completely close the global gender gap across politics, health, education, according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum. The WEF’s annual Global Gender Gap Report compares attitudes towards gender equality around the world. It considered factors such as educational opportunities available to each gender, life expectancy, literacy rates, the number of women in professional positions, and in positions of power in each country.

Citing: The Global Gender Gap Report 2018 at World Economic Forum, Dec, 2018

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Millennial Women Are Winning the Jobs Recovery as Men Struggle

Jeanna Smialek |  | January 2019

Her case is far from unique. The share of 25- to 34-year-old women who are employed or looking has staged a sharp turnaround since 2016. The group since December 2015 has accounted for 86 percent of growth in the workforce of prime-working-age women, who are 25- to 54-years-old, and for 46 percent of gains in the prime-age labor pool as a whole.

Citing: Current Employment Statistics Highlights by Analysts of the National Estimates Branch Current Employment Statistic Survey at U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan 2019

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS

The Number of Unionized U.S Workers Edged Lower to the 16.4 Million in 2018

Heidi Shierholz | Economic Policy Institute | January 2019

New data on union membership from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Friday showed 16.38 million unionized workers in 2018, down from 16.44 million in 2017. However, because employment of wage and salary workers grew by 1.6 percent between 2017 and 2018, the share of workers represented by a union declined by a more significant amount, from 11.9 percent to 11.7 percent.

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Gender in the Labor Market: the Role of Equal Opportunity and Family- Friendly Policies

Elizabeth L. Doran, Ann P. Bartel, and Jane Waldfogel | National Bureau of Economic Research | December 2018

Although the gender wage gap in the U.S. has narrowed, women’s career trajectories diverge from men’s after the birth of children, suggesting a potential role for family-friendly policies. We provide new evidence on employer provision of these policies. Using the American Time Use Survey, we find that women are less likely than men to have access to any employer-provided paid leave and this differential is entirely explained by part-time status. Using the NLSY97, we find that young women are more likely to have access to specifically designated paid parental leave, even in part-time jobs. Both datasets show insignificant gender differentials in access to employer-subsidized child care and access to scheduling flexibility. We conclude with a discussion of policy implications.

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Female Earnings Inequality: The Changing Role of Family Characteristics on the Extensive and Intensive Margins

David Card & Dean R. Hyslop | National Bureau of Economic Research | December 2018

Although women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce, most studies of earnings inequality focus on men. This is at least in part because of the complexity of modeling both the decision to work (i.e., the extensive margin) and the level of earnings conditional on work (the intensive margin). In this paper we document a series of descriptive facts about female earnings inequality using data for three cohorts in the PSID. We show that inequality in annual earnings of women fell sharply between the late 1960s and the mid-1990s, with a particularly large decline in the extensive margin component. We then fit earnings-generating models that incorporate both intensive- and extensive-margin dynamics to data for the three cohorts. Our models suggest that over 80% of the decline in female earnings inequality can be attributed to a weakening of the link between family-based factors (including the number of children of different ages and the presence and incomes of partners) and the intensive and extensive margins of earnings determination.

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Gender Equality and Poverty Are Intrinsically Linked

Rense Nieuwenhuis, Teresa Munzi, Jorg Neugschwender, Heba Omar, & Flaviana Palmisano | UN Women | December 2018

This discussion paper provides an updated analysis of gendered economic inequality in high- and middle-income countries. A review of the literature demonstrates that such an analysis needs to explicitly recognize that gender, poverty, and (economic) inequality are intrinsically linked. Specifically, the paper addresses two sets of questions: First, how do intra-family resource allocation and distribution patterns both reflect and shape gender inequalities in power and well-being, and what factors—including policy-related ones—can mitigate these inequalities? Second, how do families as gendered institutions contribute to broader socio-economic inequalities, and what can be done to reduce/reverse these inequalities? Using data from the LIS Database, this paper shows considerable differences among 42 countries with respect to how likely women were to have their own income. The period from 2000 to 2010/2014 saw increasing rates of own incomes as well as women’s incomes constituting larger shares in total household income. A key finding is that, in countries where many women have an income of their own, relative poverty rates are lower.

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Big Business Bias: Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment at Large Corporations

Philip Mattera | GoodJobsFirst | January 2019

Most of the suits ended in confidential settlements. Looking only at cases with disclosed verdicts or settlements, 189 Fortune 500 companies have paid $1.9 billion in penalties: $356 million in 238 cases resolved by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, $65 million in 85 cases handled by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and $1.5 billion in 176 private lawsuits. Adding in cases against corporations from the rest of the Fortune 1000, the Fortune Global 500 and the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private companies brings the total of disclosed penalties to $2.7 billion, including $588 million from 329 EEOC actions, $81 million from 117 OFCCP cases, and $2 billion from 234 private lawsuits.

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Americans’ Perspectives on New Retirement Realities and the Longevity Bonus.

Merrill Lynch Bank of American Corporation | January 2019

Age Wave, in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, undertook nine landmark studies focused on all aspects of life in retirement. To complete this body of work, the Age Wave team reviewed thousands of papers, reports and datasets, conducted over 140 expert interviews and 43 focus groups, surveyed 50,000+ respondents, and put in 70,000+ collective work hours.

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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to and Use of Paid Family and Medical Leave: Evidence from Four Nationally Representative Datasets

Ann P. Bartel et al. | Monthly Labor Review | January 2019

Statistics on overall access to and use of various types of paid family and medical leave for the U.S. workforce are widely available. However, much less is known about disparities in paid-leave access and use by race and ethnicity. This article examines this question, using data from four nationally representative surveys—the American Time Use Survey Leave Module, the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey, the National Study of the Changing Workforce, and the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The article’s most consistent finding is that Hispanic workers have lower rates of paid-leave access and use than their White non-Hispanic counterparts.

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Improving Access for Women in Business and Innovation

Improving Access for Women in Business and Innovation

By Jessica Milli, Ph.D.

Previous IWPR research has indicated that fewer than 20 percent of all U.S. patents have at least one woman listed as an inventor. In July, IWPR released two new reports which built on this earlier work, examining the gap in innovative activities more broadly among businesses owned by women and men and the implications for business outcomes, and profiling programs aimed at promoting women’s greater participation in patenting and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship has become increasingly common among women. The number of businesses owned by women grew at nearly four times the rate of men between 1997 and 2015, and this growth was driven almost entirely by women of color. Yet despite these gains, women-owned businesses still lag behind men. Previous research has shown that intellectual property rights are associated with greater success in raising start-up capital as well as increased market value, yet women-owned businesses are less likely to hold intellectual property and engage in research and development activities. Women owned businesses, for example, are only half as likely to hold a patent as men.

femchat post graphic

Recognizing the gender gap in innovation and its economic and social consequences, a number of programs across the country have been developed to address women’s underrepresentation. Among them, IWPR identified Improving Access for Women in Business and Innovation seven promising programs and conducted in-depth interviews with program leaders and participants to learn more about how they operated in different settings, served different audiences, and tackled the barriers women face from a variety of angles. The interviews highlighted the importance of education about patenting and commercialization, network building and mentorship, and working with stakeholders in local communities.

Both reports highlight the importance of promoting greater diversity in the innovative ecosystem. Diverse groups of people experience the world differently and encounter different challenges, and when those groups don’t have a seat at the table, problems can easily be overlooked, and the solutions developed may not work for everyone.

 

IWPR Recommends Thorough Assessment of DC’s Paid Sick Leave Law

By Caroline Dobuzinskis

In honor of Labor Day and the 44 million workers around the country who lack paid sick leave, IWPR released a briefing paper that recommends the Auditor of the District of Columbia conduct a thorough and complete review that shows the impact of the city’s paid sick leave policy. In March 2008, the District of Columbia joined San Francisco to become only the second jurisdiction in the United States to pass a paid sick days law. Reviewing the law for the breadth of its impact on businesses, workers, and the economy, is important as legislation moves forward in other parts of the country.

Since the passage of the DC paid sick days law, the city of Seattle and the state of Connecticut also added legislation to provide workers with paid sick days. Seattle’s paid sick leave law was actually implemented over this Labor Day weekend. Other state and city jurisdictions across the country are considering similar paid sick days legislation since access to paid sick leave can be crucial for helping workers maintain their health and well-being.

Access to paid sick days is important for working families and especially important for women since they tend to be primary caregivers for children and elderly relatives. When a child needs to stay home from work because of the flu, it is important that a worker be able to securely afford the time off to be a caregiver.

DC’s was the first law to require provisions for victims of domestic violence to seek aid or services. Time off accrued under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act can also be utilized to seek medical, legal or other services to address domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

As one of the pioneering cities to pass a law requiring paid sick days for its workers, DC may serve as an example for other jurisdictions considering similar laws. According to research from IWPR, there are significant benefits to having paid sick days laws that impact employees, the general public, and businesses. Based on a survey of workers and employers in San Francisco who were affected by that city’s paid sick leave law, IWPR found that two-thirds of businesses supported the law. IWPR research analyses have also shown that workers who have access to paid sick days tend to have better self-reported health.

Under the current DC paid sick days law, the Auditor of the District of Columbia is required to conduct a review, based on an audit sample of District businesses, to ensure that the law is being properly implemented and that employers are not circumventing requirements through hiring patterns. But to meet the end goal of the Auditor’s report, which is to assess the economic effects of the law on the private sector, IWPR recommends a more complete assessment.

IWPR recommends that the Auditor undertake a survey of workers and employers to ensure that compliance is being undertaken. A survey of workers would help to get the full story on how well the law has been implemented or its effectiveness in covering workers who may need to take time off when they or a family member is ill. This survey would also help determine if workers are aware of the law. In surveying workers for an assessment of San Francisco’s paid sick leave legislation, IWPR found that many workers covered under the city’s paid sick leave law were not aware of it.

Also, IWPR recommends that the Auditor take advantage of data sources that already exist that can provide evidence of any net effect of the law on the number of businesses and employees in the District. Finally, IWPR recommends the creation of an advisory committee with experts on paid sick leave, lending greater context and better evaluation to the study.

The steps recommended in IWPR’s briefing paper could help to create a more effective and comprehensive assessment of DC’s Accrued Leave and Safe Leave Act that would serve as a model for other cities. Understanding how the law will is being implemented will demonstrate its full impact beyond the books, serving as a living example for other cities to help improve health and well being of their workers.

Caroline Dobuzinskis is the Communications Manager with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org

WSJ Op-ed Misses On Paid Sick Days

By Robert Drago

Since the implementation of a paid sick days mandate in San Francisco, followed by Washington DC, and most recently the state of Connecticut, the popularity of paid sick days laws is growing. This has caused concern in the business community. In the latest salvo, Michael Saltsman discussed Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) findings regarding San Francisco’s experience with a paid sick days ordinance. The piece includes numerous mischaracterizations of the facts. Interpreting the Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that 80 percent of private sector employee have “some type of leave” as making up for paid sick days (only 62 percent have that), is misleading: vacations are typically scheduled weeks or months in advance; one’s own illness or that of a child usually cannot be scheduled. IWPR’s finding that only 3 percent of employers reported that fewer employees came to work while sick needs to be balanced against the 25 percent of employees who said that they were better able to care for their own or their families’ health needs.  Among all demographic and racial/ethnic groups, black (29 percent), Latino (31 percent), low-wage (30 percent), women (27.5 percent), and workers over 55 (34 percent) were most likely to say they were better able to care for their own or their families’ health needs as a result of the paid sick days law.

The finding that 30 percent of low-wage employees reported adverse hours or layoffs effects also requires context: According to the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, the city also raised the minimum wage and mandated health insurance around the same time as the paid sick days ordinance, and the expense of health insurance (particularly for low-wage employers) far outweighs any conceivable impact from paid sick days. Further, the surveys were administered late in 2009 (for employers) and early in 2010 (for employees), and those were not exactly great times for the U.S. economy.

Finally, the most important piece of context missing is that the median employee in San Francisco with paid sick days reported using three days per year. For someone working 5 days per week for 52 weeks per year, that represents 1.2 percent of annual earnings. That figure is around one-twentieth the size of the  percentage increase in the federal minimum wage during and just after the Great Recession (rising from $5.85 to $7.25) and no serious economist believed that increase in labor costs had any ill effects on the economy. The ostensible “downside” of paid sick days discussed by Mr. Saltsman is in fact a mirage.

Dr. Robert Drago is the Director of Research at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Prior to joining IWPR, Dr. Drago held positions as Senior Economist with the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the departments of Women’s Studies and Labor Studies.


To view more of IWPR’s research, visit IWPR.org

Bad Economics Meet Paid Sick Days in Philadelphia

by Robert Drago

A new study for the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) estimates that Philadelphia’s proposed paid sick days legislation would cost employers between $350 million and $752 million annually. Both the factual basis and the assumptions underlying this study are seriously flawed.

The totals derive from two presumed costs: the amount for new paid sick days coverage, estimated at between 34 and 42 cents per worker hour in direct labor costs, and 38 cents per worker hour in compliance costs for employees who already have paid sick days.

Consider the new paid sick days coverage. The NFIB study assumes workers will use all of the days allowed—9 days annually for larger employers, 5 days annually for small employers. Their figures imply an estimated overall average of 8.35 days per year. However, from a recent, random sample of employees in San Francisco, which has had similar requirements since 2007, the average employee uses 3 days per year. This estimate agrees well with IWPR analysis of national data from the National Health Interview Survey (3.1 days used on average). Given the fact that workers use only 3 days per year, new sick days costs are overestimated by 64 percent in the NFIB study. The actual hourly cost range, using NFIB’s methods, is thus about 12 to 15 cents per hour.

The second source of costs is compliance expenses for employers who already offer paid sick days. Although it is not known exactly how many days most employers in Philadelphia offer at present, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the national average is 8 days per year for private-sector employees with one year of job tenure. It seems reasonable to assume that employees in Philadelphia with access to paid sick time use around 3 days per year, as do workers in San Francisco. These statistics suggest that there is likely to be little or no additional paid sick days use by employees who already have access to paid sick days. While there might be some start-up costs to bring company policies in compliance with the law, these will be a one-time cost.

The NFIB, however, claims the annual compliance costs will be 38 cents per hour for employers that already provide paid sick days. At that rate, an employer would be hiring one full-time employee at $15 per hour to track paid sick days for every 40 current full-time employees (the result of dividing $15 by 38 cents). An hour per week per employee to track sick time use seems like a serious overstatement. If the task of monitoring sick days use after passage of the proposed law took one extra hour per week per 40 employees (who already had paid sick days before the law was passed), a more realistic estimate, compliance costs would fall to about one cent per hour.

Using the NFIB’s own methods, with known facts and more reasonable assumptions, the hourly costs for new coverage drop to 12 to 15 cents per hour, and the costs of compliance for employers already providing paid sick days drop to one cent per hour. This suggests a far lower cost for implementation of the law than the NFIB study states, especially for businesses that already provide employees with paid sick days or an equivalent benefit.

It is almost enough to give one pause over the objectivity of the entire NFIB study.

Robert Drago is the Director of Research at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.