James P. Ziliak

Recent trends in the material well being of the working class in America

I examine trends in the material well-being of working-class households using data from the Current Population Survey in the two decades surrounding the Great Recession. Average earnings, homeownership, and insurance coverage all fell, while absolute poverty and food insecurity accelerated leading up to the Great Recession. After-tax incomes were stagnant for much of the distribution across and within skill groups.

Food hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic and Great Recession

I compare the extent of food hardships in the United States among all adults, and separately for seniors, in the two decades before and during the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The data come from the 2001-2019 December Supplements of the Current Population Survey, as well as the newly released Census Household Pulse Survey. The results indicate that food insufficiency among all adults increased three-fold during the Covid period compared to 2019, and more than double that observed during the Great Recession.

Trends in earnings volatility using linked administrative and survey data

We document trends in earnings volatility separately by gender in combination with other characteristics such as race, educational attainment, and employment status using unique linked survey and administrative data for the tax years spanning 1995-2015. We also decompose the variance of trend volatility into within- and between-group contributions, as well as transitory and permanent shocks.

Food insecurity in the PSID: A comparison with the levels, trends, and determinants in the CPS 1999-2017

Food insecurity, defined as a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food, is a substantial threat to public health in the United States. In 2017, nearly 12% of households reported being food insecure, affecting over 40 million persons.

The state of senior hunger in America 2016: An annual report

In the annual report for calendar year 2016, we find that: 13.6% of seniors are marginally food insecure, 7.7% are food insecure, and 2.9% are very low food secure. This translates into 8.6 million, 4.9 million, and 1.8 million seniors, respectively. From 2015 to 2016, there were statistically significant declines in the percentage of marginally food-insecure seniors. However, there were no statistically significant changes in food insecurity or very low food security.

Economic change and the social safety net: Are rural Americans still behind?

This aim of this paper is to assess the economic status of rural people five decades after publication of President Johnson's National Commission on Rural Poverty report The People Left Behind. Using data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the CPS, along with county data from the Regional Economic Information System, I focus on how changes in employment, wages, and the social safety net have influenced the evolution of poverty and inequality in rural and urban places.

Income inequality and the labour market in Britain and the US

We study household income inequality in both Great Britain and the United States and the interplay between labour market earnings and the tax system. While both Britain and the US have witnessed secular increases in 90/10 male earnings inequality over the last three decades, this measure of inequality in net family income has declined in Britain while it has risen in the US. We study the interplay between labour market earnings in the family, assortative mating, the tax and benefit system and household income inequality.

The health consequences of senior hunger in the United States: Evidence from the 1999-2014 NHANES

In this report we examine the health consequences of food insecurity among seniors. The report updates our earlier studies on this issue by examining how trends in health and nutrition outcomes among food secure and food insecure seniors have changed over the past decade before and after the Great Recession. Using data from the 1999-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we find that (1) Food insecure seniors have lower nutrient intakes.

Welfare reform and the intergenerational transmission of dependence

We estimate the effect of welfare reform on the intergenerational transmission of welfare participation and related economic outcomes using a long panel of mother-daughter pairs over the survey period 1968-2013 in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Because states implemented welfare reform at different times starting in 1992, the cross-state variation over time permits us to quasi-experimentally separate out the effect of mothers’ welfare participation during childhood on daughters’ economic outcomes in adulthood in the pre- and post-welfare reform periods.