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Choosing a Control Group for Displaced Workers


The vast majority of studies on the earnings of displaced workers use a control group of continuously employed workers to examine the effects of initial displacements. This approach implies long-lived earnings reductions following displacement even if these effects are not persistent, overstating the losses relative to the true average treatment effect. This paper’s approach isolates the impact of an average displacement without imposing continuous employment on the control group. In a comparison of the standard and alternative approaches using PSID data, the estimated long-run earnings losses fall dramatically from 25 percent to 5 percent. Model simulations reinforce these empirical findings.

Key words: Displacement, earnings, control group, treatment event.

JEL Classification: E24, J63, J64.


Suggested citation: Krolikowski, Pawel, 2016. “Choosing a Control Group for Displaced Workers,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Working Paper, no. 16-05.

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