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Author: Buitrago, Manuel
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1. Buitrago, Manuel
Culture, Employment, and Volatility: Three Essays on Hispanic Labor
Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, American University, 2015
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Earnings; Hispanic Studies; Wage Dynamics

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Chapter 3 entitled "Trends in Hispanic Earnings Volatility: investigates differences in income volatility between Hispanic men and women, versus white and black non-Hispanic men and women, and among Hispanics of different national origins, by examining which groups face the largest risks of experiencing a large drop in economic resources, how relative risks have changed over time, and what the patterns tell us about the sources of differential trends. Using panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979), this essay compares two measures of earnings volatility: a volatility decomposition developed by Gottschalk and Moffitt (1994) and the standard deviation of arc percent change to document changes over time in the cross-sectional distribution of income changes. The NLSY shows that, for all groups, earnings volatility is lower today than in 1979. This finding is counter to previous research using other data sets (the PSID, CPS, SIPP, and LEHD) and likely reflects a life-cycle effect, whereby young people settle into stable jobs over the first 10-20 years of their careers and their earnings volatility falls. However, the data show some differences in levels of earnings volatility across subethnicities that are invariant to the volatility measure used, and hold up when individual characteristics are controlled for, namely that earnings volatility is relatively high for Puerto Ricans and non-Hispanic blacks and relatively low for Cubans; in the middle of the range, earnings volatility is similar for Mexicans, other Hispanic groups, and non-Hispanic whites. Further research would be valuable for explaining the sources of these differences across groups, and the extent to which policies could help attenuate earnings volatility among groups for which it is relatively high.
Bibliography Citation
Buitrago, Manuel. Culture, Employment, and Volatility: Three Essays on Hispanic Labor. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Economics, American University, 2015.