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About the Author(s)

Robert Moffitt 400 pix

Robert A. Moffitt is the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins University, where he also holds a joint appointment at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, he was a faculty member at Brown University. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the past president of both SOLE and the Population Association of America, and received a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. He has been chief editor of American Economic Review and Journal of Human Resources and coeditor of The Review of Economics and Statistics. He is currently editor of the annual NBER Tax Policy and the Economy volume. He is a research associate in the NBER’s Economics of Children and Public Economics programs, and a member of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth.

Moffitt’s research interests are in labor economics and applied microeconometrics, with a special focus on the economics of issues relating to the low-income population in the US. He has been particularly focused on the labor supply decisions of female heads of families and how they respond to the welfare system, on the behavioral effects of social insurance programs and income taxes, and on labor market volatility.

Moffitt lives in Baltimore with his wife, Emily Agree, a faculty member in sociology at Johns Hopkins. He was born in Houston, Texas and received his BA in economics from Rice University and his PhD in economics from Brown.


1. McConnell M, Perez-Quiros G. “Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed Since the Early 1980s?American Economic Review 90(5), December 2000, pp. 1464–1476. Go to ⤴︎
2. Gottschalk P, Moffitt R. “The Growth of Earnings Instability in the US Labor Market,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2, 1994, pp. 217–254.   Go to ⤴︎
3. Moffitt R, Zhang S. “Income Volatility and the PSID: Past Research and New Results,” NBER Working Paper 24390, March 2018, and AEA Papers and Proceedings 108, May 2018, pp. 277–280.   Go to ⤴︎
4. See my paper with Zhang for a review through 2017 on which administrative studies have shown a decline. For a more recent study, see Bloom N, Guvenen F, Pistaferri L, Salgado S, Sabelhaus J, Song J. “The Great Micro Moderation,” Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Working Paper, 2017.   Go to ⤴︎
5. The LEHD began earlier, but only by 1998 did it have a sufficient number of states to make it accurate for the nation as a whole.   Go to ⤴︎
6. Moffitt R, Zhang S. “Estimating Trends in Male Earnings Volatility with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics,” NBER Working Paper 27674, August 2020; Moffitt R. “Reconciling Trends in US Male Earnings Volatility: Results from a Four Data Set Project,” NBER Working Paper 27664, August 2020; McKinney K, Abowd J. “Male Earnings Volatility in LEHD before, during, and after the Great Recession,” Cornell University Working Paper, 2020; Carr M, Moffitt R, Wiemers E. “Reconciling Trends in Volatility: Evidence from the SIPP Survey and Administrative Data,” NBER Working Paper 27672, August 2020; Ziliak J, Hokayem C, Bollinger C. “Trends in Earnings Volatility Using Linked Administrative and Survey Data,” US Census Bureau, 2020. The papers are currently being revised for a special issue of a journal. The results below are from the latest updates.   Go to ⤴︎
7. Kornfeld R, Bloom H. “Measuring Program Impacts on Earnings and Employment: Do Unemployment Insurance Wage Reports from Employers Agree with Surveys of Individuals?” Journal of Labor Economics 17(1), January 1999, pp. 168–197; Juhn C, McCue, K. “Comparing Measures of Earnings Instability Based on Survey and Administrative Reports,” US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies, Working Paper 10-15, 2010; Celik S, Juhn C, McCue K, Thompson J. “Recent Trends in Earnings Volatility: Evidence from Survey and Administrative Data,” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 12(2), 2012; Abraham K, Haltiwanger J, Sandusky K, Spletzer J. “Exploring Differences in Employment between Household and Establishment Data,Journal of Labor Economics 31(S1), April 2013, pp. 129–172; “Inequality Statistics from the LEHD,” US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies, Working Paper, 2014; Abowd J, McKinney K, Zhao N. “Earnings Inequality and Mobility Trends in the United States: Nationally Representative Estimates from Longitudinally Linked Employer-Employee Data,” Journal of Labor Economics 36(S1), January 2018, pp. S183–S300; Carr M, Wiemers E. “The Role of Low Earnings in Differing Trends in Earnings Volatility,” Economics Letters 199(C), February 2021.     Go to ⤴︎
8. Dynan K, Elmendorf D, Sichel D. “The Evolution of Household Income Volatility,” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 12(2), 2012; Ziliak J, Hokayem C, Bollinger C. “Trends in Earnings Volatility Using Linked Administrative and Survey Data,” US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies, Working Paper CES 20-24, August 2020. Ziliak found declining mobility for women.   Go to ⤴︎

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