Julie Yixia Cai

Julie Cai is an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), where she works on a variety of issues relating to labor market conditions, racial and gender disparities, economic well-being, and social policy. Her recent work examines the U.S. safety net’s buffering effects in the context of job/work-hour instability. Cai earned her Ph.D. in social welfare with a minor in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is an external affiliate with the Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy and was previously a visiting fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Her research interests include household income volatility, job quality, economic inequality, and poverty.

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Occupation, Gender, and Labor Market Volatility

Article | Jan 16, 2024

When working within the same employment spell, female workers, particularly those of color and those working in low-wage service and care jobs, earn significantly less when facing greater volatility than their male counterparts or those working in non-service, non-care occupations.

Labor Market Volatility and Worker Financial Wellbeing: An Occupational and Gender Perspective

Paper Working Paper | | Jan 2024

Research on labor market experience does not explain the link between the volatility low-wage workers encounter and their earnings and it leaves open numerous pressing questions, such as what, if anything, can be done to reduce racial and ethnic differences in economic well-being.

Missing Voters and Missing Unemployed Black Workers

Article | Mar 3, 2021

Like Republicans with political polls, unemployed Black workers are underrepresented in federal employment data because of non-response.

Masking Real Unemployment: The Overall and Racial Impact of Survey Non-Response on Measured Labor Market Outcomes

Paper Working Paper Series | | Mar 2021

A large and growing percentage of households are missed in the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS).

Featuring this expert

Labor Market Volatility Today: From Understanding Volatility to Reducing Financial Insecurity

Event Webinar | Jan 18, 2024

An expert panel will discuss the latest research on the experiences of workers facing volatility of their time and income, how this volatility impacts their financial outcomes over time, ways current policies help or hinder workers cope with labor market volatility, and other possibilities for change.

Cai & Baker’s INET working paper is discussed in News One

News Mar 5, 2021

“With all of that said, The Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) recently published a study casting doubt about the methodology BLS uses to tabulate its unemployment data, especially when it comes to Black people. INET suggested that BLS’ data is inaccurate and downplays Black unemployment. On average, Black men’s unemployment rate is 2.8 percentage points higher than BLS data shows,” according to INET’s study, entitled, “Masking Real Unemployment: The Overall and Racial Impact of Survey Non-Response on Measured Labor Market Outcomes.” The same was true for BLS’ unemployment rate for Black women, which INET found was, on average, about 2.4 percentage points lower than its actual rate. The differences grow for younger Black males from 16 to 34 years old. INET’s findings lend some credence to a tweet from the Center for American Progress after January’s jobs report was published that said Black women, in particular, “are still being left behind by the recovery.” — Bruce C.T. Wright, News One

Yahoo Money features Cai & Baker’s INET working paper

News Mar 5, 2021

“Making matters worse, the Black unemployment rate might be much higher, according to a new analysis by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. The unemployment rate is calculated using data from the Current Population Survey. But that survey has a much lower response rate from Blacks than from white Americans, leading to more misclassifications in the official unemployment rate. For Blacks, the response rate is 72%, while the response rate is 90% for whites. Factoring that in, the unemployment rate for Black workers could be at least 2.6 percentage points higher than the monthly rate by the BLS, leaving it at 12.5% in February, the analysis found. For whites, the increase is much smaller at 0.7 percentage point. “The Current Population Survey has been missing a larger share of the population over time, particularly among Blacks,” said Baker, who is also an author of the analysis. “You have to ask what’s the situation for the people they’re not talking to.” — Denitsa Tsekova, Yahoo Money