Economic Security Projects

econ keyareas sm

  • Career Dynamics: A Longitudinal Analysis of U.S. Firms and Households

    Ongoing since: 2018

    This study focuses on understanding the dynamics of gender earnings and employment gaps with age and career experience in the U.S. With colleagues at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Kerr will use a large and extraordinary dataset to explore many of the important features of and reasons for the widening (and subsequent narrowing) of the gender earnings gap with age.

  • Census SBOX Project

    Ongoing since 2015
    Work-Family Issues

    This project focuses on the new longitudinal Survey of Business Owners (SBOX) and other Census Bureau data sources that can be used to cross-verify and amend the information collected via the SBOX.

  • Entrepreneurship as a Career Choice for Women


    Project Director: Sari Pekkala Kerr, Ph.D.

    Funded By: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

    Project Summary: This study will examine entrepreneurship as a career choice for women.

    Prior studies have found that firms founded by women are less likely to exhibit rapid growth and receive less venture capital funding. In fact, a previous study by Dr. Kerr noted that, even among high-tech entrepreneurs, women are more risk averse and demonstrate different personality traits than their male counterparts. Yet, in many industries, women-owned firms tend to out-survive those earned by men.

    This research study will use a unique, large-scale data set that includes firm-household information and family composition to evaluate the timing and manner in which women’s career trajectories include entry to entrepreneurship. The study will investigate whether self-employment and/or entrepreneurship can be seen as an avenue of providing more time flexibility when, for example, the demands of a young family require a large time commitment. Dr. Kerr will also examine whether female entrepreneurs have a different vision in terms of future growth of their companies as compared to men running similar companies, and whether they engage differently in activities that foster long-term business growth, like innovation and strategic networking.

  • Family Friendly: How Are Firms and Establishments Affected by State Paid Family Leave Programs?


    Project Director: Sari Pekkala Kerr, Ph.D.

    Funded By: National Science Foundation

    Project Summary: Researchers will study the impact of paid family leave programs on business firms in California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

    Gaps between women’s and men’s career progress emerge around the age when women are likely to marry and have children. Paid parental leave is the main policy called for by advocates to address this gap. Critics push back against this policy, claiming it will hurt firms’ competitiveness. Previous research studies have focused on the effect of paid leave programs on employees, using data from a single state at a time. However, the impact of paid parental leave on businesses has not yet been studied in a large-scale way that allows for analysis of its impact on employment structure, productivity, and profitability; the strategic behavior of businesses in response to state-level paid family leave policies; or links between outcomes for employees and their employers. Instead, previous studies have focused on the effect of paid leave programs on employees, using data from a single state at a time.

    This study will use the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database linked to the 2000 Census and American Community Surveys (2005-2017) as well as data from the firm and establishment level, to explore how business firms react to newly established paid leave mandates in their states -- and how the new state-level policies impact the business firm performance.

  • Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Job Creation

    Ongoing since 2015

    Examining the impacts of immigrant entrepreneurs.

  • Segregation and Job-to-Job Mobility

    Ongoing since 2015

    Using Norwegian time-use survey data to study the effect of performance pay on the allocation of tasks within the household and analyzing worker mobility and earnings in the U.S.-linked employer employee data

  • Surviving and Striving: Low-Income Parents Pursuit of Higher Education as a Path Out of Poverty

    Ongoing since: 2018

    This project explores the specific policy contexts that support and impede student parents and other factors within their lived experience that shape their success.

  • Effects of Postsecondary Education on Low-income Women

    Completed in 2008
    Education-Income Effects

    A project to track economic effects of education.

  • Tracking Economic Inequities Among Women

    Completed in 2009
    Massachusetts women's economic status

    This project tracked data and policies affecting women's economic status in Massachusetts.

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