Choosing a Control Group for Displaced Workers
The vast majority of studies on the earnings of displaced workers use a control group of never-displaced workers to examine the effects of initial displacements. This approach attributes earnings declines due to all future job instability to the initial displacement event, overstating the losses relative to the average treatment effect. This paper's approach isolates the impact of an average displacement without conditioning on future displacement status in the control group. In comparisons of the standard and alternative approaches using PSID data, the estimated long-run earnings losses fall dramatically from 25 percent to as low as 5 percent.