Working Papers

Media coverage: The Guardian

We study the impact of entertainment technologies on labor supply using a natural experiment afforded by the regulated U.S. television rollout. We find that TV significantly affected retirement rates but had little impact on labor supply among prime-age workers.  A TV station launch reduced the probability of working by around 0.3 percentage points, driven mainly by increased retirement rates among older age groups. We use a representative agent model to assess the impact of entertainment innovations on aggregate labor supply trends more broadly and find that TV had a substantial impact, while subsequent technologies had small effects.

We present a new method to identify the value of workplace amenities using excess mass in the earnings distribution around budget discontinuities. The approach formalizes the intuition that workers are less responsive to financial incentives when the returns to work depend more strongly on the value of amenities. Applying the approach to the value of workplace safety, we find that workers are willing to forgo 9% of their earnings to reduce fatality risks by 1 in 100,000. We also illustrate how the approach can identify aggregate bundles of amenities linked to a job and measure the value of "enjoyable jobs."

Work in Progress

Paid time off is among the most common and most valued employment amenities. This study analyses the labor market effects of mandating paid time off. We leverage a German court ruling that mandated more time off for specific age groups in some industries. We find that the ruling significantly increased paid time off, with limited adverse effects on employment or wages. At the same time, fewer workers exit jobs with more paid time off, suggesting that the utility value of these jobs increases. The results suggest that information frictions lead to under-provision of paid time  off in the labor market and that government paid time off mandates can improve welfare.

Employers report labor shortages even among low skill jobs. Why don't wages adjust dynamically to clear market demand? We find high demand for wage-surging to fill vacancies and characterize why demand is higher than its implementation. We exploit quasi-random variation in wages for job postings on a large staffing platform and show that a 10% increase in wages would increase the fill rate by more than 30% for a wide range of employers. Despite this, many firms do not raise wages even when vacancies remain unfilled. A firm-side RCT shows that firms have a strong underlying demand for surge wages, yet optimization and adjustment costs suppress use. When the Platform reduces these frictions, adoption rises 14 fold and a majority of firms opts to introduce surge wages. Our results suggest unfilled vacancies could fall by 20% with surge wages by marketplace intermediaries. 


Review of Economics and Statistics (accepted)
Review of Economics and Statistics (2024)Media coverage: Economist, Financial Times, Forbes , The Guardian, Times, Vox, InequaliTalks (Podcast)
American Economic Review: Insights (2023) replication files; media coverage:  AEA blog, USAPP blog, CentrePiece, Qrius, LSE Business Review, Econimate video
Economic Journal (2019) Featured in OUP blog