The latest annual edition of the “Economic Report of the President” (March 2023) cites the 2016 randomized control trial of online learning outcomes co-authored by Professors Oskar Harmon, Ken Couch, and William Alpert.
Their research is discussed in the context of the feasibility of scaling remote learning. In Chapter 5: Building Stronger Postsecondary Institutions (p179), the report notes:
“Online programs. Some have suggested expanding online options to reduce geographic barriers to access, but research findings suggest caution about this approach. In some settings, such as four-year colleges, there are examples of students doing equally well across both online and in-person formats (Figlio, Rush, and Yin 2013; Bowen et al. 2014), as well as in blended learning approaches combining online and in-person components (Bowen et al. 2014; Alpert, Couch, and Harmon 2016). Other research finds, however, that courses taught through online formats often lead to worse learning outcomes than their in-person counterparts (Joyce et al. 2015; Alpert, Couch, and Harmon 2016; Krieg and Henson 2016).”
The citation for the study is:
Alpert, W., K. Couch, and O. Harmon. 2016. “A Randomized Assessment of Online Learning.” American Economic Review 106: 378–82. https://doi.org/10.1257/ aer.p20161057.
The article, “The Evolving Impacts of COVID-19 on Gender Inequality in the U.S. Labor Market: The COVID Motherhood Penalty” co-authored by UConn Economics Professor Kenneth Couch, Robert Fairlie (Cal-Santa Cruz) and Huanan Xu (Indiana University South Bend) was selected as the Best Article published in Economic Inquiry in 2022.
The announcement and a link to download the paper can be found here: https://weai.org/news/view/51
Research of Professor Ken Couch and his co-authors, Robert Fairlie and Huanan Xu exploring women’s labor market experiences relative to men’s during the COVID-19 pandemic has been published in Economic Inquiry.
The paper, “The Evolving Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Gender Inequality in the US Labor Market: The COVID Motherhood Penalty” can be found on the journal web site and is available under open access at this link:
We explore whether COVID-19 disproportionately affected women in the labor market using Current Population Survey data through the end of 2020. We find that male–female gaps in the employment-to-population ratio and hours worked for women with school-age children have widened but not for those with younger children. Triple-difference estimates are consistent with most of the reductions observed for women with school-age children being attributable to additional childcare responsibilities (the “COVID motherhood penalty”). Conducting decompositions, we find women had a greater likelihood to telework, higher education levels and a less-impacted occupational distribution, which all contributed to lessening negative impacts relative to men.
“The Evolving Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Gender Inequality in the U.S. Labor Market: The COVID Motherhood Penalty” has been released by the National Bureau of Economic Research as Working Paper 29426.
The paper is co-authored by Professor Ken Couch along with Robert Fairlie at the University of California Santa Cruz and Huanan Xu at Indiana University South Bend.
We explore whether COVID-19 disproportionately affected women in the labor market using CPS data through the end of 2020. We find that male-female gaps in the employment-to-population ratio and hours worked for women with school-age children have widened but not for those with younger children. Triple-difference estimates are consistent with most of the reductions observed for women with school-age children being attributable to additional child care responsibilities (the “COVID motherhood penalty”). Conducting decompositions, we find women had a greater likelihood to telework, higher education levels and a less-impacted occupational distribution, which all contributed to lessening negative impacts relative to men.
The paper can be found at this link: https://www.nber.org/papers/w29426
Professor Kenneth Couch and his co-authors, Robert Fairlie (California Santa Cruz) and Huanan Xu (Indiana University South Bend) have published an article “Early Evidence of the Impact of COVID-19 on Minority Employment” In the Journal of Public Economics.
This paper provides early evidence of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on minority unemployment in the United States. In the first month following March adoptions of social distancing measures by states, unemployment rose to 14.5 percent but a much higher 24.4 percent when we correct for potential data misclassification noted by the BLS. Using the official definition, unemployment in April 2020 among African-Americans rose by less than what would have been anticipated (to 16.6 percent) based on previous recessions, and the long-term ordering of unemployment across racial/ethnic groups was altered with Latinx unemployment (18.2 percent) rising for the first time to the highest among major groups. Difference-in-difference estimates confirm that the initial gap in unemployment between whites and blacks in April was not different than in periods prior to the pandemic; however, the racial gap expanded as unemployment for whites declined in the next two months but was largely stagnant for blacks. The initially large gap in unemployment between whites and Latinx in April was sustained in May and June as unemployment declined similarly for both groups. Non-linear decompositions show a favorable industry distribution partly protected black employment during the early stages of the pandemic, but that an unfavorable occupational distribution and lower average skills levels placed them at higher risk of job losses. An unfavorable occupational distribution and lower skills contributed to a sharply widened Latinx-white unemployment gap that moderated over time as rehiring occurred. These findings of disproportionate impacts on minority unemployment raise important concerns regarding lost earnings and wealth, and longer-term consequences of the pandemic on racial inequality in the United States.
The early release version of this article can be found at this link:
A working paper has been released by the National Bureau of Economic Research that examines the impact of COVID-19 on minority unemployment through the most recent release of Current Population Survey (CPS) data for April of 2020.
The research finds that unemployment of blacks (at 16.6 percent) has not been impacted as severely as during past downturns although their unemployment rate is above the national average of 14.7 percent. In comparison, Latinx unemployment (at 18.2 percent) has been much more impacted than in recent months or the Great Recession. Historically, unemployment of blacks would be greater than that of Latinx throughout the business cycle. In the April CPS data, for the first time, unemployment of Latinx is higher. The analysis reveals that the disproportionate impact among the Latinx is related to lower levels of education, less work experience, and a concentration of employment in industries and occupations that left them more vulnerable to job loss.
The research is co-authored by Robert Fairlie of the University of California Santa Cruz, UConn Faculty member Ken Couch, and Huanan Xu of Indiana University South Bend. Xu is an alumni of the UConn Ph.D. program in economics.
The working paper can be found at this link:
A co-authored article by Kenneth Couch entitled “Longevity Related Options for Social Security: A Microsimulation Approach to Retirement Age and Mortality Adjustments” has been published by the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM). The analysis considers the impact of differential longevity on the receipt of Social Security Retirement Benefits and possible alterations to benefit calculations that would adjust for widening differences in mortality by income. Because lower lifetime earners have shorter life spans and usually receive smaller benefit payments, raising their benefits as an adjustment for a shorter life expectancy reduces old age poverty. The analysis also shows that when a mortality adjustment for differential life expectancy is combined with other common proposals to adjust for longer lives among Americans, such as further increasing the age at which individuals receive their full Social Security retirement benefit, it also assists in safeguarding lower income individuals from old age poverty.
JPAM is published by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and is currently ranked among the top 30 journals in Economics by Journal Citation Reports.
Xiupeng Wang successfully defended his PhD dissertation “Three Essays: Cross-National Comparisons of Labor Market Dynamics” in June and will take a position as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the Initiative on the Digital Economy in the Sloan School of Management headed by Professor Erik Brynjolfsson. The Economics Department congratulates Xiupeng on his success!
In his dissertation, Wang examined patterns of employment and wage dynamics that occur in response to technological innovation across multiple countries. A key finding of his work is that those in middle skill jobs with relatively stronger skills systematically move to more cognitively oriented jobs with better pay when technology is introduced. In contrast those in middle skill jobs with relatively weaker skills among workers in that category move to worse jobs characterized by manual work and worse pay when technology is introduced. His research also shows that countries with higher levels of unionization tend to have fewer workers who move into lower paid jobs as technology is introduced. Wang’s thesis committee consisted of Professors Ken Couch and Delia Furtado of UConn and Professor Richard Freeman of Harvard University.
The most recent Journal Citation Reports (JCR) 2-year impact factor for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) that was released in late June is 3.44, a historical high for the journal. The JCR ranking of economics journals based on the 2-year impact factor places JPAM 27th among economics journals. In the 5 rankings released during UConn economics Professor Kenneth Couch’s term as Editor-in-Chief, JPAM has been successively ranked 42nd, 32nd, 25th, 21st, and 27th in economics. The journal has also been ranked among the top 5 Public Administration journals for the past 5 years.
The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management is the flagship journal of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), an association of roughly 100 institutions focused on policy analysis and policy management. Couch’s term as Editor-in-Chief ended on June 30th and the editorial home of the journal moved from UConn to American University where Erdal Tekin will serve as Editor-in-Chief.
Professor Kenneth Couch of the University of Connecticut Department of Economics recently received Federal funding of his research regarding possible adjustments of Social Security Retirement Benefits for differential longevity.
The population of the United States is living longer but gains in longevity have been unequal across income groups and this affects lifetime benefit receipt over successive generations of Americans. Funding from the Social Security Administration supports research by Couch and his collaborators into potential approaches for adjusting benefits to account for these changes.