Sojourner

Aaron J. Sojourner

Associate Professor of Work & Organizations, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

About Aaron

Sojourner is a labor economist whose research focuses on three areas: (1) effects of labor-market institutions on economic productivity and in politics, (2) policies to promote efficient and equitable development of human capital with a focus on early childhood and K-12 education systems, and (3) behavioral economic approachers to consumer financial decisions. 

Contributions

The Economics of Child Care Supply in the United States

  • Aaron J. Sojourner

In the News

Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Ed Yong, "It’s a Terrible Idea to Deny Medical Care to Unvaccinated People" The Atlantic, January 20, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Emily Strewart, "The Lesson America Refuses To Learn About COVID-19 and the Economy" Vox, January 12, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Emily Peck, "Unvaccinated Workers More Likely To Miss Work Due to COVID" Axios, January 12, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Dan Niepow, "Half Price Books Workers Unionize at Four Minnesota Stores" Twin Cities Business, January 11, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Andrew Van Dam, "2021 Shattered Job Market Records, but It’s Not As Good as It Looks" The Washington Post, January 8, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Allison Morrow, "Need a Raise? Now’s the Time To Demand One" CNN Business, January 8, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Josh Boak, "Biden’s Economic Challenge: Finding Workers and Goods" AP News, January 7, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on Ratio of quits to firings by Neil Irwin, "Workers Still Have All the Power" Axios, January 5, 2022.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Alex N. Press, "US Workers Are Still Quitting Their Jobs in Record Numbers" Jacobin, January 5, 2022.
Guest to discuss Omicron Will Disrupt Staffing in More Than Just the Airline Industry on Marketplace, Aaron J. Sojourner, December 27, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Zachary B. Wolf, "Why We Had To Reconsider Jobs, Inflation and Politics This Week" CNN Politics, December 16, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Allison Morrow and Anneken Tappe, "How Millions of Jobless Americans Can Afford To Ditch Work" CNN Business, December 15, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Emily Peck, "America’s Labor Shortage Is Bigger Than the Pandemic" Axios, December 2019 to December 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Ella Fanger, "COVID-19 Relief Funds Fuel Employer Tax Breaks" The American Prospect, December 9, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on will companies improve jobs enough to entice people back into employment, and to face those higher risks? by Nelson D. Schwartz , "November Jobs Report Shows Weak Hiring but a Surge in the Labor Force" The New York Times, December 5, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on just under a third of the total decline over the past year being about 5.4 million of the decline of about 18.4 million and it being attributed to workers being cut off of state and federal aid, not people finding jobs by Daniel Dale, "Fact-Checking 4 Biden Claims About the Economy" CNN Politics, December 3, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on the virus still being out there, and it making the labor market sick by Meghan McCarty Carino, "Omicron Worries Could Keep Some Workers Out of Labor Force" Marketplace, December 2, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on boosts in infrastructure investment possibly spurning boosts in technical education and its wages being long overdue, while benefiting the very communities who have suffered from lack of investment in the past by Dave Orrick, "Biden’s Visit Spotlights Technical Colleges, a Key to Infrastructure Building" Yahoo News - Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn, December 1, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on general effectiveness of COVID vaccines to the economy by Sylvan Lane, "Coronavirus Variant Raises Fresh Concerns for Economy" The Hill, November 29, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on that number is not a coincidence, it’s the number that those activists and workers put on the table 10 years ago, and built a movement towards. by Austin Williams, " Department of Labor Raises Federal Contract Workers’ Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour" Fox 5 Atlanta, November 22, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner's research on the glass is way more than half full, median wage growth for the youngest workers has accelerated sharply in recent months, and is accelerating for 25-to-34-year-olds, too discussed by Niall Ferguson, "Employers Are Hiring. Why Are So Many Workers Holding Back?," Bloomberg Opinion, November 21, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on bouncing back and that even seemingly small upward shifts in that rate can have a meaningful impact since it applies across a huge swath of people, by Greg Iacurci, "Retirees Are ‘Unretiring’ — And That’s Good for the Labor Market" CNBC, November 17, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on compared to the fourth quarter in 2019, labor costs are up by 7.5 percent by Michael Gerstein, "Labor Costs See Largest 3rd-Quarter Jump in 20 Years, But Don’t Outpace Inflation" Everything Business Corp, November 11, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on employers might have to raise pay and benefits to draw employees back in after COVID recession by Christopher Rugaber, "US Employers Shrugged Off Virus and Stepped Up Hiring" AP News, November 5, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on previous reports seeming lower, but actually growth being steadier than understood and labor market recovery being at a better pace by Eli Rosenberg, "U.S. Economy Added 531,000 Jobs in October As Hiring Swelled Again" The Washington Post, November 5, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on so many employers trying to hire so many people at the same time, it creates that imbalance, "Desperate for Employees, Businesses Struggle To Hire" The Star, October 25, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on employee shortages and so many employers trying to hire so many people at the same time, it creates that imbalance, "Kuwait Times" Kuwait Times, October 24, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on imbalancing because so many firms are attempting to hire so many people at the same time, "Businesses in the United States Are Struggling To Hire Because They Are in Desperate Need of Workers." The Washington Newsday, October 24, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on so many employers trying to hire so many people at the same time and it creating and imbalance , "Desperate for Employees, US Businesses Struggle To Hire" The Times of india, October 24, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on not thinking the balance of power has shifted in a fundamental and permanent way by Spencer, "Will Covid Really Change the Way We Work?" The New York Times, October 21, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on workers over 60 opting out of the workforce due to Covid by Greg Iacurci, "6 Reasons Why Americans Aren’t returning to work" CNBC, October 20, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on resignations have been running at record levels for much of this year and suggests that workers outside options are improving faster; many of them think they can do better elsewhere by John Cassidy, "America's Workers are Fighting Back" The Neworker, October 18, 2021.
Guest to discuss that over the course of the pandemic, corporate profits have skyrocketed and employers that are unwilling to share the value their workers help create are getting pushback and attrition as workers move toward employers who do. on Fox 9 News, Aaron J. Sojourner,
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on a lot of people wanting unemploymente benefits cut because they believed it would make it easier to hire at lower wages. But the top line data is not telling us that's what happened by Tami Luhby, "Unemployment Benefits Ended, but Hiring Did Not Surge in September" CNN.com, October 10, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on many employers betting wrong that they could avoid raises if they could limp through summer. by Terry Alan Lane, "Breaking News" Jacksonville Free Press, October 8, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on larger than expected decline in the unemployment rate not being much comfort because it was not driven by acceleration in job finding among the unemployed by Sylvan Lane, Naomi Jagoda and Aris Folley, "On the Money — Presented by NRHC — Breaking Down the Sluggish September Jobs Report" The Hill, October 8, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on the cost of childcare in other nations compared to the U.S. by Claire Cain Miller, "How Other Nations Pay for Child Care. The U.S. Is an Outlier." The Upshot / The New York Times, October 6, 2021.
"What Happens When States Limit Nondisclosure Agreements? Employees Start To Dish," Aaron J. Sojourner, Perspective, The Washington Post, October 4, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on the number who reported having or caring for someone with COVID-19 symptoms as the main reason for being out of work has more than doubled from July, by Juliana Kaplan and Madison Hoff, "The Number of People Out of Work Because They or Their Families Had COVID-19 Symptoms Doubled This Summer, Showing How Delta Is Making Labor Shortages Worse" The New York Times, September 27, 2021.
"Can Investing in Early Childhood Education Beat Stock Market Returns?," Aaron J. Sojourner, Interview with Teri Evans, Childs Path, September 23, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on even if companies maintain increased wages for service- and other low-paying jobs, businesses can easily find other ways to cut back on labor costs by Michael Gerstein, "Raising Salaries, Adding More Benefits Some of the Means Companies Are Using to Keep, Attract Talent" Corp Magazine, September 16, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on President Biden's relationship with labor leaders in the labor movement, and popularity among members making them more open to his leadership, and more willing to support the position he's advocating, "Vaccine Mandates Test Biden Ties With Labor" The Hill, September 11, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner's research on millions of American families losing income and options being taken away from them discussed by James Politi, "US Economy," Financial Times, September 6, 2021.
Guest to discuss Project In ESG Era, Shale Gas Drillers Try Going Green on Energy Evolution, Aaron J. Sojourner, September 4, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on using data from Glassdoor to show that after three US states narrowed the kinds of information NDAs could suppress, the flow of negative information in Glassdoor reviews increased by Sarah O'Connor, "The NDA Boom Is Bad for Both Employers and Workers" The Financial Times Outlet, August 10, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on share of adults in their prime working years who are employed rose very quickly by Lisa Rowan, "Jobs Report Gets Mid-Summer Boost With Gains in Leisure, Hospitality" Forbes Advisor, August 9, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on $15 not being a coincidence, it is the number those activists and workers put on the table 10 years ago, and built a movement towards by Christopher Rugaber, "$15 Wage Becoming a Norm As Employers Struggle To Fill Jobs" AP News, July 27, 2021.
"Policy Hackathon: How To Get More Americans Back to Work," Aaron J. Sojourner, Interview with Katherine Landergan, Politico, July 15, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on expanded child tax credit and it really being a big help to families in a time when they are under a lot of pressures by Kavita Kumar, "New Child Tax Benefit Coming Thursday a Relief for Minnesota, U.S. Families" StarTribune, July 10, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on not finding differences in benefit claims between states that announced or implemented benefit cuts versus those that didn’t by Greg Iacurci, "It’s Unclear Whether State Cuts to Unemployment Benefits Got People Back to Work in June" CNBC/Personal Fianance, July 7, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on employers having a lot of ways to claw back value from workers and economic data making it clear that workers have been benefiting from the move back to normalcy by Megan Casella, "Workers Are Reaping Benefits in the Post-COVID Economy. But Their Power May Not Last." Politico, July 5, 2021.
"What’s Up With All the Shortages?," Aaron J. Sojourner, Interview with Nina Melendez Ibarra , LinkedinNewsLive, 2021.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on unprecedented rise in unemployment by Heather Long, "Over 10 Million Americans Applied for Unemployment Benefits in March as Economy Collapsed" The Washington Post, April 2, 2020.
Aaron J. Sojourner's research on technology-driven ways to evaluate job candidates discussed by Michelle Cheng, "An Experiment to Find Teachers who Perform Better and Stay Longer Shows Promising Results," Quartz, November 7, 2019.
Aaron J. Sojourner's research on economic growth under Trump discussed by Alan Jude Ryland, "Donald Trump Tweets Peter Ferrara’s Claim That the Economic ‘Recovery Got Started on Election Day 2016’," Second Nexus, September 19, 2018.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on employment by Josh Boak, "AP Fact Check: Trump Overstates His Role in Black Job Gains" Associated Press, August 16, 2018.
Aaron J. Sojourner's research on labor market discussed by Jim Puzzanghera, "Sarah Huckabee Sanders Made a False Claim About Black Employment. She's Issued a Rare Apology," Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2018.
Darrick Hamilton quoted on the racial wealth gap by Evan Ramstad, "Economists at Minneapolis Fed Meeting Explore Persistent Racial Gaps in Hiring, Wealth" Star Tribune, May 11, 2018.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on unionizing campaign workers by Judy Keen, "Campaign Workers for Two Minnesota DFL Candidates Join New National Union" Star Tribune, April 12, 2018.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted by Danny Vinik, "What Peter Navarro Gets Right on Trade" Politico, October 18, 2017.
"The Case for Mandating Paid Sick Leave in Minneapolis," Aaron J. Sojourner (with Nicolas Ziebarth), Star-Tribune, April 19, 2016.
Aaron J. Sojourner quoted on investing in early childhood development by Ethan Nelson, "Cradle to K Cabinet Plan Advances" Minnesota Daily, March 2, 2015.
Aaron J. Sojourner's research on the impact the unionization of charter schools has on performance discussed by Maggie Thurber, "Kids Do Fine When Charter School Forms Labor Union, Study Shows," Ohio Watchdog, January 29, 2015.
Interview on “How Peer Effects Boost Student Achievement” Aaron J. Sojourner, Access Minnesota, July 31, 2013.
Guest to discuss “Should We Force People to Save for Retirement?" on CBS Minnesota, Aaron J. Sojourner, May 2, 2013.
"Should Minnesota Raise Its Minimum Wage? Yes," Aaron J. Sojourner (with Michael Reich), Minneapolis Star-Tribune, February 23, 2013.
"American Job Seekers Think Increasing the Minimum Wage Would be Good for Them, and the Country," Aaron J. Sojourner, Working Economics - The Economics Policy Institute Blog, February 20, 2013.
"Union Seeks to Resume Talks with Crystal Sugar," Aaron J. Sojourner, Interview with Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio, October 11, 2012.
"Say No to Right to Work," Aaron J. Sojourner, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, February 18, 2012.
Guest to discuss labor relations between Minnesota nurses and hospitals on KARE 11, Aaron J. Sojourner, June 29, 2010.
Guest to discuss the possibility of a resolution between nurses’ unions and Minnesota hospitals on Minnesota Public Radio, Aaron J. Sojourner, June 22, 2010.
Guest to discuss the possibility of and possible effect of a nurses’ strike on Minnesota Public Radio, Aaron J. Sojourner, June 16, 2010.
Guest to discuss the end of the historic nurses’ strike on TPT Almanac, Aaron J. Sojourner, June 11, 2010.
"The Twin Cities Nursing Strike: Short-Term Resolution, Long-Term Pressures," Aaron J. Sojourner (with Jean Abraham), Minnesota Physician, November 2010.

Publications

"Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?" (with Greg Duncan). Journal of Human Resources 48, no. 4 (2013): 945-968.

Finds that high-quality early childhood intervention has large positive effects on cognitive skills and achievement for children from low-income families, but a negligible effect for children from higher-income families. Either an income-targeted or universal intervention could close a large fraction of the existing achievement gap observed between these groups.

"Common Ownership Reduces Wages and Employment," (with Jose Azar and Yue Qiu), University of Minnesota, November 18, 2021.

Examines the effects of common ownership on labor market outcomes. Finds that an increase in common ownership in a labor market is associated with decreases in both wages per employee and the employment-to-population ratio.

"Felon History and Change in U.S. Employment Rates" Social Science Research (2021).

Draws on novel, state-level annual measures of individuals with felony-level records to estimate pooled cross-sectional, panel models predicting changes in aggregate employment rates. Indicates that a 1 percentage point increase in the share of a state's adult population with a felony history is associated with 0.3 percentage point increase in non-employment (being unemployed or not in the labor force) among those aged 18 to 54.

"Are Voluntary Agreements Better? Evidence from Baseball Arbitration" (with Jaewoo Jung and John W. Budd). ILR Review 70, no. 4 (2016): 865-893.

Examines the widespread belief that voluntarily negotiated agreements produce better long-run relationships than do third-party imposed resolutions. such as arbitrator decisions or court judgments. 

"Teacher Pay Reform and Productivity: Panel Data Evidence from Adoptions of Q-Comp in Minnesota " (with Elton Mykerezi and Kristine West ). Journal of Human Resources 49, no. 4 (2014): 945-981.

Studies the impact of teacher pay-for-performance reforms adopted with complementary human resource management practices on student achievement and workforce flows. 

"Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Nursing Homes" (with Brigham Frandsen, Robert Town, David Grabowski, and Michelle Chen). Industrial and Labor Relations Review 68, no. 4 (2015): 771-806.

Studies the effects of nursing home unionization on numerous labor, establishment, and consumer outcomes using a regression discontinuity design. Finds negative effects of unionization on staffing levels and no decline in care quality, suggesting positive labor productivity effects. 

"What Will My Account Really Be Worth? Experimental Evidence on How Retirement Income Projections Affect Saving" (with Gopi Shah Goda and Colleen Flaherty Manchester). Journal of Public Economics 119 (2014): 80-92.

Highlights how retirement-income projections affect employee contributions to savings account.

"Brief: Do Income Projections Affect Retirement Savings?," (with Gopi Shah Goda and Colleen Flaherty Manchester), Center for Retirement Research, March 31, 2013.
Suggests that providing workers with retirement income projections, accompanied by information on retirement planning, could modestly increase saving.
"Do Unions Promote Electoral Office Holding? Evidence from Correlates of State Legislatures' Occupational Shares" Industrial & Labor Relations Review 66, no. 2 (2013): 467-486.
Develops the first evidence on the degree to which labor unions develop members’ political leadership in the broader community by studying the relationship between state legislators’ occupations and the unionization rates of occupations across U.S. states, and finds that unions do indeed promote elected political leadership by individuals from working- and middle-class jobs.
"Identification of Peer Effects with Missing Peer Data: Evidence from Project STAR" Economic Journal 123, no. 569 (2013): 574-605.
Studies peer effects on student achievement among first graders randomly assigned to classrooms in Tennessee’s Project STAR.
"What Will My Account Really be Worth? Experimental Evidence on How Retirement Income Projections Affect Saving," (with Gopi Shah Goda and Colleen Flaherty Manchester), National Bureau of Economic Research, February 29, 2012.
Uses a large-scale field experiment to measure how a low-cost, direct-mail intervention designed to inform subjects about how current contributions can translate into income in retirement affects their saving behavior.
"Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Nursing Homes," (with Robert J. Town, David C. Grabowski, Michelle M. Chen, and Brigham Frandsen), National Bureau of Economic Research, December 31, 2011.
Studies the effects of unions in private-sector nursing homes on a broad range of labor, firm, and consumer outcomes.