My research is applied and empirical, but rooted in classical labor economic and consumption-saving theories. The applications I consider pertain either to purely labor topics such as skill mismatch (Clark, Maurel and Joubert, 2013; Maurel and Joubert, in progress); development economics themes such as informality (Joubert, 2011); pension economics questions including the design of privatized pension system (Joubert and Todd, 2013) and old age poverty impacts of divorce (Casanova and Joubert, in progress); and other themes such as divorce legalization (Choi and Joubert, 2013). In this research statement I identify three unifying themes in my research, regarding (i) the type of data I analyze, (ii) the empirical methods I employ and (iii) the policy focus of my studies.
``Pension design with a large informal labor market: Evidence from Chile''
(Resubmitted to the International Economic Review)
This paper investigates empirically the fiscal and welfare trade-offs involved in designing a pension system when workers can avoid participation by working informally. A dynamic behavioral model captures a household's labor supply, formal/informal sector choice and saving decisions under the rules of Chile's canonical privatized pension system. The parameters governing household pref- erences and earnings opportunities in the formal and the informal sector are jointly estimated using a longitudinal survey linked with administrative data from the pension system's regulatory agency. The parameter estimates imply that formal jobs rationing is limited and that mandatory pension contributions play an sizeable role in encouraging informality. Our policy experiments show that Chile could achieve a reduction of 23% of minimum pension costs, while guaranteing the same level of income in retirement, by increasing the rate at which the benefits taper off.
``How the Design of a Pension System Influences Old Age Poverty and Gender Equity: A Study of Chile's Private Retirement Accounts System''
(with Petra Todd)
This paper develops and estimates a dynamic model of individual's and couples' labor supply and saving decisions to examine how the design of a individual retirement accounts pension system influences retirement decisions, pension accumulations and consumption levels of men and women. Chile has one of the longest-running nationwide private retirements accounts systems, operating since 1980, and its pension system served as a model for many other Latin American countries. In 2008, Chile undertook a major reform of its pension system with a focus on alleviating old age poverty and promoting gender equity. Women can be particularly vulnerable to poverty under a private retirements account system, because they typically have less regular labor force participation than men, lower average wages and longer life spans. The behavioral model is estimated using household survey data from the Encuesta de Proteccion Social merged with administrative data from the pension regulatory agency, the Superintendencia de Pensiones. The estimated model is used to simulate the short-term and long-term effects of the 2008 pension reform and to compare with alternative pension system designs.Download: pdf
``Overeducation and skill mismatch: a dynamic analysis''
(with Brian Clark and Arnaud Maurel)
Half of American workers have a level of education that does not match the level of education required for their job. Of these, a majority are overeducated, i.e. have more schooling than necessary to perform their job (see, e.g., Leuven & Oosterbeek, 2011). In this paper, we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) combined with the pooled 1989-1991 waves of the CPS to provide some of the first evidence regarding the dynamics of overeducation over the life cyle. Shedding light on this question is key to disentangle the role played by labor market frictions versus other factors such as selection on unobservables, compensating differentials or career mobility prospects. Overall, our results suggest that overeducation is a fairly persistent phenomenon, with 79% of workers remaining overeducated after one year. Initial overeducation also has an impact on wages much later in the career, which points to the existence of scarring effects. Finally, we find some evidence of duration dependence, with a 6.5 point decrease in the exit rate from overeducation after having spent five years overeducated. Download: pdf
``The value of remarriage: welfare effects of divorce legalization''
(with Sekyu Choi)
Until 2004, divorce in Chile was illegal and separated individuals were unable to remarry. This paper examines who benefits or looses from the option of exiting a marriage and remarrying. Using longitudinal survey data, we first document the effects of the reform on couples formation and separation: divorce legalization increased marriage rates, separation rates and assortative matching on schooling. We then use the data to structurally estimate a dynamic equilibrium model of marriage and remarriage over the life cycle. We assess the capacity of the model to fit the out-of-sample, post-reform variation in a validation exercise. The estimated model will then be used to estimate the welfare impacts of legal divorce across genders, schooling levels and ages. Here's a preliminary draft with early estimation results (do not cite!): pdf
WORK IN PROGRESS:
``A structural dynamic analysis of overeducation and mismatch''
(with Arnaud Maurel)
This paper investigates the determinants of educational mismatch and its effect on wages. We specify and estimate, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), a dynamic structural model of schooling and career choice that incorporates search frictions, endogenous human capital accumulation, compensating wage differentials and unobserved heterogeneity in skills. Notably, this framework allows us to quantify the relative importance of different theories that have been used separately in the literature to explain why a substantial fraction of workers are more qualified than necessary to perform their job, despite low returns to surplus schooling. We argue that telling apart the role played by search frictions, versus other factors such as unobserved ability, non-pecuniary job benefits or career mobility prospects, is crucial to understand the welfare and policy implications of the overeducation phenomenon.