Dr. Jesse Rothstein holds the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also Professor of Economics. He is the the co-founder and co-director, with Till von Wachter (UCLA), of the California Policy Lab. He previously served as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and as Senior Economist with the Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of the President. From 2015-2020, he served as director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) at UC Berkeley.
Rothstein's research examines education policy, tax and transfer policy, and the labor market. His recent work includes studies of teacher quality, school finance, intergenerational economic mobility, take-up of safety net benefits, and the labor market during the Great Recession. His work has been published in leading journals in economics, public policy, education, and law. He has served as an expert witness in several cases regarding teacher evaluation and school finance.
Rothstein received a Ph.D. in economics and a Masters in Public Policy, both from the University of California, Berkeley, and an A.B. from Harvard. He is a member of the editorial boards of the American Economic Review, Industrial Relations, the Review of Economics and Statistics, Education Finance and Policy, and the National Education Policy Center. He was named the John T. Dunlop Outstanding Scholar by the Labor and Employment Relations Association in 2011. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a fellow of the National Education Policy Center, the CESifo Research Network, the IZA, and the Learning Policy Institute.
Student Lecture, 24 May 2023
Increasing take-up of means tested benefits: Evidence from several California experiments
The California Policy Lab has worked with several California agencies to help potentially eligible families to take-up means tested benefits. Working with the California Student Aid Commission, the Franchise Tax Board, and the California Department of Social Services, we have tested text messages, letters, and emails, using varying language, that aimed to encourage families to claim college scholarships, nutrition benefits, and federal and state tax credits. I will discuss learnings from these studies about factors influencing the effectiveness of the safety net at reaching families in need.
Faculty Seminar, 25 May 2023
Industry Wage Differentials: A Firm-Based Approach
We revisit the estimation of industry wage differentials using linked worker-employer data from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program. Building on recent advances in the measurement of employer wage premiums from workers who move across employers, we define the industry wage effect as the employment-weighted average employer premium in the industry. We show that cross-sectional estimates of industry differentials dramatically overstate industry differentials, due to unmeasured worker heterogeneity. However, estimates based on industry movers significantly understate the true differentials. Job switchers tend to move between firms offering similar firm-specific pay premiums, so those who switch to an industry with higher average pay premiums typically come from higher-paying firms in their origin industry and move to lower-paying firms in their destination industry (and vice versa), attenuating the implied industry effects. Corrected estimates based on average employer premiums indicate substantial heterogeneity in narrowly-defined industry premiums, with a standard deviation of 0.122. Higher-pay industries have substantially higher-skilled workers, particularly in the dimension of skill that is unrelated to education. There is small but systematic variation in industry premiums across cities, with more variability in both pay premiums and worker sorting in cities with higher-wage firms and higher-skilled workers.