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RSF Bulletin

New Journal Issue: Improving Employment and Earnings in Twenty-First Century Labor Markets

Modest real wage growth, rising wage inequality, and decreasing labor force participation among less-educated workers have characterized the labor market for several decades. Economists Erica Groshen and Harry Holzer, and other labor market experts present new evidence on the prevalence, causes, and future of these challenges in the December 2019 issue of RSF, copublished with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

George Borjas and Richard Freeman analyze how the introduction of industrial robots and the influx of immigrants have affected jobs and earnings in the manufacturing industry. They find that the effects of robots are greater than those of immigrants in terms of depressing earnings and reducing employment, suggesting the need for policies that can help workers adjust to automation. Thomas Kochan and William Kimball note the declining density of unions and their declining effects on wages and working conditions, even as surveys show strong worker preference for union representation and other forms of worker “voice.”

Informal work, including traditional activities like babysitting and newer ones like driving for online platforms, provide an alternative means of helping families make ends meet. Katharine Abraham and Susan Houseman show that over a quarter of the workforce hold jobs aside from their main employment, and a higher share of less-educated, minority, low-income, and unemployed workers rely on informal work. Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger show a modest upward trend in the share of the workforce in alternative work arrangements over the last twenty years; they also demonstrate that current survey tools miss many instances of multiple job holding.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not provide paid leave for new parents, and low-income families with children spend 30 percent or more of their incomes on childcare expenses. Elizabeth Doran, Ann Bartel, and Jane Waldfogel propose both a payroll tax to support family-friendly policies, such as paid leave and child care, and employer mandates for scheduling control and flexibility.

Editors Groshen and Holzer provide evidence-based policy recommendations that include greater support for public higher education; adjusting federal wage and hour laws; limiting the effects of past incarceration on workers; and stronger youth employment programs. American workers face considerable challenges, but there are many policies analyzed in this issue that could improve their employment and earnings.

Click here to access this issue of RSF.


RSF Launches New Pipeline Grants Competition with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

RSF has launched a new Pipeline Grants Competition for early- and mid-career researchers in collaboration with the Economic Mobility and Opportunity program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program seeks to promote diversity in the social sciences defined broadly, including racial and ethnic diversity, gender diversity, disciplinary diversity, institutional diversity, and geographic diversity. We are interested in novel uses of new or under-utilized data, and creative uses of administrative data. Proposals might include exploratory fieldwork, a pilot study, field experiments, in-depth qualitative interviews, ethnographies, or the analysis of existing data.

Only researchers who have not previously received a trustee or presidential research grant or fellowship from RSF are eligible. The proposal deadline is December 3, 2019, for funding starting in Summer 2020.

Full eligibility and program guidelines are available here.


Funding Opportunities in RSF Programs and Special Initiatives

The next letter of inquiry deadline is November 26, 2019, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time for the Social, Political, and Economic Equality, Future of Work, Behavioral Economics, and Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context programs.

View all funding deadlines and application guidelines.


Targeted Grants Competition: Improving Education and Reducing Inequality in the United States

RSF and the William T. Grant Foundation are launching the third round of their targeted small grants competition for early career scholars. We seek research projects on “Improving Education and Reducing Inequality” that will deepen our understanding of educational opportunity and success by analyzing data on academic achievement from the Stanford Education Data Archive (developed by Sean Reardon and colleagues).

Applications will be accepted through February 4, 2020, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Decisions will be announced in early April 2020.

Read more about eligibility and program guidelines here.


How to Apply for Funding at RSF: Grant Writing Webinar Recording

The foundation hosted a webinar on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, focused on how to write and submit letters of inquiry and proposals for our research programs. To view a recording of the grant webinar and for more information on RSF’s grant making process, please visit our website or review our grant writing guidelines. You may also view a 5-minute video on how to use our new grants management system.


Visiting Researcher Andrew Cherlin Releases Working Paper

Andrew J. Cherlin, Benjamin H. Griswold III Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, and currently a visiting researcher at RSF, has released a working paper, “In the Shadow of Sparrows Point: Racialized Labor in the White and Black Working Classes.” The paper is informed by Cherlin’s research on two adjacent communities near Baltimore, one predominantly black and the other predominantly white, both distinguished by their large populations of former laborers at the Bethlehem Steel Company plant, which closed in 2012. This paper examines both the racialized political disparity in these communities during the 2016 presidential elections and the underlying racial and economic factors that contributed to this disparity. The paper was featured in David Leonhardt’s daily New York Times newsletter and is posted on the RSF blog.


RSF Trustee and Grantees Testify and Submit Amicus Briefs on Capitol Hill

RSF trustee Jason Furman testified recently for the “Online Platforms and Market Power: The Role of Data and Privacy in Competition” hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. Furman offered recommendations on how to enforce healthy competition and merger regulation among digital platforms.

A group of immigration scholars, many with RSF affiliations, recently submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States defending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The authors document that rescinding DACA could have negative financial and emotional consequences for the U.S. citizen children of DACA recipients. Another amicus brief submitted by 124 scholars, including RSF author and former visiting scholar, Rubén G. Rumbaut, addresses “the power of the Executive Branch to craft and deploy immigration-related deferred action policies,” arguing that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA is not based on legal precedent or historical practice.

Read more about Jason Furman’s testimony here.

Read more about the DACA amicus briefs here.


RSF at APPAM Meeting in Denver

RSF staff will participate in the annual research conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management in November in Denver, Colorado. Program Director James Wilson and Program Officer Stephen Glauser will present along with staff from the William T. Grant Foundation and Arnold Ventures on a grant writing panel, “Student Resources: Grant-seeking from Private Funders and Foundations.” The publications team will host a booth (#302) featuring recent RSF book titles, journal issues, and funding opportunities.


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