Institute research focuses on labor markets by addressing several core areas: the causes of unemployment and the effectiveness of social safety net programs in mitigating its effects; education and training systems to improve workers’ employability and earnings; and the influence of state and local economic development policies on local labor markets. The Institute also assesses emerging trends affecting workers and labor markets in its core research areas.



Timothy J. Bartik , Brad J. Hershbein , Kathleen Bolter , Kyle Huisman
April 2, 2024
Gabrielle Pepin
January 5, 2023
Job Quality & Economic Security

Our research explores not just the number of jobs, but also the quality of those jobs and how well they support stable households and communities.

Social Insurance & Safety Net

Examinations of social safety net programs are central to the Upjohn Institute’s mission to address causes and solutions to unemployment. Our research assesses effectiveness of current social insurance programs and explores other strategies to keep people in stable jobs and minimize the effect of economic downturns.

Education & Workforce Development

Building and maintaining skills for the labor force is a lifelong process, starting with prekindergarten programs and continuing throughout a worker’s career. The Upjohn Institute’s research elucidates how each learning stage and program contributes to a strong workforce.

Economic Development

Upjohn Institute research offers insight into specific industries and the labor market as a whole, from locally to nationally and internationally and from both the supply and demand sides. Focal areas include manufacturing, tax incentives and regional collaboration.

Working Papers
April 2024
Author(s):Jonathan G. Conzelmann, Steven W. Hemelt, Brad J. Hershbein, Shawn Martin, Andrew Simon, and Kevin M. Stange
How does postsecondary human capital investment respond to changes in labor market skill demand? The authors quantify the magnitude and nature of this response in the U.S. 4-year sector. To do so, they develop a new measure of institution-major-specific labor demand, and corresponding shift-share instrument, that combines job ads with alumni locations and find that postsecondary human capital investments meaningfully respond. They provide evidence that both student demand and institutional supply-side constraints matter.
March 2024
Author(s):Matthew Gibson
This paper examines illegal no-poaching agreements through which information-technology companies agreed not to compete for each other’s workers. Exploiting the plausibly exogenous timing of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, the author estimates the effects of these agreements using a difference-in-difference design and finds, on average, the no-poaching agreements reduced salaries at colluding firms by 5.6 percent, consistent with considerable employer market power. Stock bonuses and job satisfaction were also negatively affected.
January 2024
Author(s):Hilary Wething and Meredith Slopen
The authors investigate the impact of Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safety Time (PSST) policy on workers’ quarterly hours worked and separation hazard. Using UI records from before and after the implementation of PSST, they examine individual-level employment behavior at the extensive and intensive margins and compare Seattle workers to workers in Washington state using a difference-in-differences strategy. Their findings indicate that paid sick leave policies may support workers in increasing their hours and, to a lesser extent, may reduce turnover.
January 2024
Author(s):Won Fy Lee, Aaron Sojourner, Elizabeth E. Davis, and Jonathan Borowsky
Harnessing changes in funding for a voucher program that subsidizes consumers’ use of child care services at private providers, this study quantifies effects on local markets’ service capacity and prices. The authors also estimate how increased funding effects provider entry rate, exit rate, and highly rated provider market share.