Alexandre Mas

First name
Alexandre
Last name
Mas
Abstract
Effective administration of unemployment insurance (UI) is central to its ability to smooth consumption and act as an automatic stabilizer. The federal government’s method of allocating funds to administer UI gives the states no incentive to provide quality service at reasonable cost. We first document the deteriorating performance of the UI system in recent recessions and present estimates of a descriptive model relating state workloads to performance. We then characterize UI administration as a standard principal-agent problem, which leads to a method of allocating funds that would motivate states to adopt new technologies and improve performance. 
Year of Publication
2022
Number
653
Date Published
01/2022
Mas, A., Lachowska, M., & Woodbury, S. A. (2022). Poor Performance as a Predictable Outcome: Financing the Administration of Unemployment Insurance. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01v405sd53v (Original work published January 2022)
Working Papers
Author
Abstract

This paper asks whether disclosing wages to the public changes wage setting at the top of the public sector income distribution. I evaluate a 2010 California mandate that required cities to submit municipal salaries to the State, to be posted on a public website. City managers—typically the highest paid employees—in cities that had not previously disclosed salaries experienced average compensation declines of approximately 8 percent relative to cities where at the time of the mandate manager wages were already in the public domain. This decline was largely accomplished through nominal pay cuts. The wage cuts were not the result of relatively greater financial stress, as the overall wage bill did not diverge between these sets of cities. Wages were cut irrespective of whether or not they were out of line with (measured) fundamentals. Consequently, the residual variance of manager wages did not decline. Following new disclosure the city manager quit rate increased by 75 percent, suggesting that transparency pressured cities to lower the wages that were already close to reservation levels. The evidence is more consistent with a “populist” response to perceptions of excessive salaries than with the effects of increased accountability.

Year of Publication
2014
Number
582
Date Published
09/2014
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
9094
Mas, A. (2014). Does Transparency Lead to Pay Compression?. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp018c97ks65d (Original work published September 2014)
Working Papers
Abstract

We estimate the effect of the reduction in credit supply that followed the 2008 financial crisis on the real economy. We predict county lending shocks using variation in pre-crisis bank market shares and estimated bank supply-shifts. Counties with negative predicted shocks experienced declines in small business loan originations, indicating that it is costly for these businesses to find new lenders. Using confidential microdata from the Longitudinal Business Database, we find that the 2007-2009 lending shocks accounted for statistically significant, but economically small, declines in both small firm and overall employment. Predicted lending shocks affected lending but not employment from 1997-2007.

Year of Publication
2014
Number
584
Date Published
11/2014
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
9105
Greenstone, M., Mas, A., & Nguyen, H.-L. (2014). Do Credit Market Shocks affect the Real Economy? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Great Recession and ‘Normal’ Economic Times. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp016395w932w (Original work published November 2014)
Working Papers
Abstract

We provide new evidence on the effect of the unemployment insurance (UI) weekly benefit
amount on unemployment insurance spells based on administrative data from the state of Missouri covering the period 2003-2013. Identification comes from a regression kink design that exploits the quasi-experimental variation around the kink in the UI benefit schedule. We find that UI durations are more responsive to benefit levels during the recession and its aftermath, with an elasticity between 0.65 and 0.9 as compared to about 0.35 pre-recession.

Year of Publication
2015
Number
585
Date Published
01/2015
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
9122
Pei, Z., Card, D., Mas, A., Leung, P., & Johnston, A. (2015). The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment Insurance Receipt: New Evidence from a Regression Kink Design in Missouri, 2003-2013. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01f4752j974 (Original work published January 2015)
Working Papers
Abstract

In this paper we examine how an unanticipated cut in potential unemployment insurance (UI) duration, which reduced maximum duration in Missouri by 16 weeks, affected the search behavior of UI recipients and the aggregate labor market. Using a regression discontinuity design (RDD), we estimate that a one-month reduction in maximum duration is associated with 15 fewer days of UI receipt and 8.6 fewer days of nonemployment. We use the RDD estimates to simulate the change in the time path of the unemployment rate assuming there are no market-level externalities. The simulated response closely approximates the estimated change in the unemployment rate following the benefit cut, suggesting that even in a period of high unemployment, the labor market was able to absorb this influx of workers without crowding out other jobseekers.

Year of Publication
2015
Number
590
Date Published
06/2015
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
9207
Mas, A., & Johnston, A. (2015). Potential Unemployment Insurance Duration and Labor Supply: The Individual and Market-Level Response to a Benefit Cut. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp014f16c5130 (Original work published June 2015)
Working Papers
Abstract

We examine whether the recent expansions in Medicaid from the Affordable Car Act reduced
“employment lock” among childless adults who were previously ineligible for public
coverage. We compare employment in states that chose to expand Medicaid versus those that
chose not to expand, before and after implementation. We find that although the expansion
increased Medicaid coverage by 3.0 percentage points among childless adults, there was no
significant impact on the employment.

Year of Publication
2016
Number
594
Date Published
01/2016
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
9282
Mas, A., & Leung, P. (2016). Employment Effects of the ACA Medicaid Expansions. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp015425kd092 (Original work published January 2016)
Working Papers
Abstract

We use a field experiment to study how workers value alternative work arrangements. During the
application process to staff a national call center we randomly offered applicants choices between traditional
M-F 9 am – 5 pm office positions and alternatives. These alternatives include flexible scheduling,
working from home, and positions that give the employer discretion over scheduling. We randomly
varied the wage difference between the traditional option and the alternative, allowing us to estimate
the entire distribution of willingness to pay (WTP) for these alternatives. We validate our results using
a nationally-representative survey. The great majority of workers are not willing to pay for flexible
scheduling relative to a traditional schedule: either the ability to choose the days and times of work or
the number of hours they work. However, the average worker is willing to give up 20% of wages to
avoid a schedule set by an employer on a week’s notice. This largely represents workers’ aversion to
evening and weekend work, not scheduling unpredictability. Traditional M-F 9 am – 5 pm schedules are
preferred by most jobseekers. Despite the fact that the average worker isn’t willing to pay for scheduling
flexibility, a tail of workers with high WTP allows for sizable compensating differentials. Of the worker friendly
options we test, workers are willing to pay the most (8% of wages) for the option of working
from home. Women, particularly those with young children, have higher WTP for work from home and
to avoid employer scheduling discretion. They are slightly more likely to be in jobs with these amenities,
but the differences are not large enough to explain any wage gaps.

Year of Publication
2016
Number
602
Date Published
09/2016
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
9681
Mas, A., & Pallais, A. (2016). Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01kp78gj856 (Original work published September 2016)
Working Papers
Abstract

We study the time-series properties of firm effects in the two-way fixed effects model popularized by Abowd, Kramarz, and Margolis (1999) (AKM) using two approaches. The first—the rolling AKM approach (R-AKM)—estimates AKM models separately for successive two-year intervals. The second—the time-varying AKM approach (TV-AKM)—is an extension of the original AKM model that allows for unrestricted interactions of year and firm indicators. We apply to both approaches the leave-out methodology of Kline, Saggio and Sølvsten (2020) to correct for biases in the estimated variance components. Using administrative wage records from Washington State, we find, first, that firm effects for hourly wage rates are highly persistent with an autocorrelation coefficient between firm effects in 2002 and 2014 of 0.74. Second, the R-AKM approach reveals cyclicality in firm effects and worker-firm sorting. During the Great Recession the variability in firm effects increased, while the degree of worker-firm sorting decreased. Third, misspecification of standard AKM models resulting from restricting firm effects to be fixed over time appears to be minimal.

Previous Versions
<p><a href="https://dataspace.princeton.edu/bitstream/88435/dsp01ws859j538/7/629_previous_version_2019-10.pdf">Do firm effect drift? Evidence from Washington Administration Data, October 2019</a></p>
Year of Publication
2021
Number
629
Date Published
07/2021
Publication Language
eng
Mas, A., Lachowska, M., Saggio, R., & Woodbury, S. (2021). Do Firm Effects Drift? Workplace Heterogeneity and Wage Inequality in Washington. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01ws859j538 (Original work published July 2021)
Working Papers
Abstract

We estimate the magnitudes of reduced earnings, work hours, and wage rates of workers displaced during the Great Recession using linked employer-employee panel data from Washington State. Displaced workers’ earnings losses occurred mainly because hourly wage rates dropped at the time of displacement and recovered sluggishly. Lost employer-specific premiums explain only 17 percent of these losses. Fully 70 percent of displaced workers moved to employers paying the same or higher wage premiums than the displacing employers, but these workers nevertheless suffered substantial wage rate losses. Loss of valuable specific worker employer
matches explain more than half of the wage losses.

Year of Publication
2019
Number
631
Date Published
10/2019
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
11446
Mas, A., Lachowska, M., & Woodbury, S. (2019). Sources of Displaced Workers’ Long-Term Earnings Losses. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01n870zt699 (Original work published October 2019)
Working Papers
Abstract

We examine the impact of public sector salary disclosure laws on university faculty salaries in Canada. The laws, which enable public access to the salaries of individual faculty if they exceed specified thresholds, were introduced in different provinces at different times. Using detailed administrative data covering the majority of faculty in Canada, and an event-study research design that exploits within-province variation in exposure to the policy across institutions and academic departments, we find robust evidence that that the laws reduced the gender pay gap between men and women by approximately 30 percent. There is suggestive evidence that higher female salaries contributed to the narrowing of the gender gap. The reduction in the gender gap is
primarily in universities where faculty are unionized.

Year of Publication
2019
Number
630
Date Published
11/2019
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
11451
Mas, A., Baker, M., Halberstam, Y., Kroft, K., & Messacar, D. (2019). Pay Transparency and The Gender Gap. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01s1784p60g (Original work published November 2019)
Working Papers