Julie Yixia Cai

Yixia Cai is a doctoral candidate in social welfare with a minor in public affairs at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a graduate research fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP). She has recently joined the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), where she conducts research on labor market conditions, economic disparity, poverty, and social policy.

Cai’s research centers on the intersection of economic instability, poverty, social policy, and family well-being. Current research projects examine how employment instability impacts families with children and their likelihood of involvement with child protective services. She also investigates the anti-poverty effects of safety net programs and their impact on the life circumstances of low- and middle-income families in the United States.

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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

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