Friday, August 19, 2011

Last week!

I have five more days of work left at the Urban Institute, then starting at American University!

I have several things to finish in that time. I just finished drafting a research brief on variability in job growth across metropolitan areas during the recession. It's funny, the whole "Texas miracle" that's been raging in the blogosphere comes up in it. At the time I just clarified a few points in a footnote (a lot is due to population growth - the unemployment rate is more comparable to the rest of the country, etc.), but I'm wondering if because of the prominence of this issue lately I should move it into the body of the text! I also just finished drafting an encyclopedia article for the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Our entry is "The Labor Market". The usual stuff is in that piece, but it is interesting because the encyclopedia has an international focus, so I talked a lot about race and the labor market in countries besides the U.S. too. Today and Monday I'll be drafting an evaluation design report for the apprenticeship project I mentioned previously. It's pretty self-explanatory - basically I'm telling the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services how they should structure a rigorous evaluation (particularly in light of the fact that random assignment does not look like it's going to be feasible).

A few other things to wrap up other projects, and then I'm off to school!

I'm taking history of economic thought, microeconomics, and mathematical economics. Mathematical economics looks like it will be the most intense, but I'm glad they're pushing that one. I'm also TAing for a big macroeconomics lecture which I think should be a valuable experience.

The other two things looming on the horizon are my NBER conference on the engineering labor market at the end of September and the APPAM conference at the beginning of November. There's been an interesting twist in the NBER conference - apparently I'm presenting twice. Once with my co-author giving an overview of labor supply trends, and then once by myself on labor market shortages. This is very good, because I have a lot more to say about shortages than I typically have time to for presentations on this project. And it needs saying. There are a lot of chicken-littles in the science and engineering workforce world. Alleged shortages have never really panned out in the data. Lo and behold - markets work. Who'da thunk it? I think there are good reasons to think that we underinvest in science and infrastructure. Fixing that underinvestment problem may increase the derived demand for science and engineering labor. But that's a quite different situation. There appears to be nothing dysfunctional about the science and engineering labor market itself. What's most exciting is that apparently this split presentation may turn into a splitting of the chapter - which means I'd be authoring two chapters in the book... which, needless to say, would be pretty fricken fantastic.


  1. Good luck, Dude.

    Started my programme this week as well (with a two-week maths and stats camp). We can compare notes ;)

    TAing can be an ache, but obviously still a great tool to keep basic concepts fresh. I've got econometrics, so perhaps just talking myself positive...

  2. Thanks! Good luck to you too. Ya, our math refresher is only a week but the math econ class is apparently going to be more of a math than econ class (I'm sure you've had those). That's all good I think.

    I TAed econometrics and statistics in undergrad - that was the other one I asked for. It is amazing how once you get into the advanced material the building blocks themselves start to get fuzzy. I always thought TAing was great for that.

  3. Good luck, sounds like a great opportunity.

    As fate has it, I'm also taking a history of economic thought class this semester. I'm really looking forward to it.


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