Isaac Sorkin

Department of Economics
Stanford University
579 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305
Tel: 608/440-0052

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: LS
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Stanford University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2019Granular Search, Market Structure, and Wages
with Gregor Jarosch, Jan Sebastian Nimczik: w26239
We develop a model where labor market structure affects the division of surplus between firms and workers. Using Austrian data we show that in more concentrated labor markets, workers are more likely to return to past employers. In our model, the possibility of these re-encounters endows firms with size-based market power since outside options are truly outside the firm: firms do not compete with their own vacancies. Hence, a worker's outside option is worse when bargaining with a larger firm, and wages depend on market structure. The quantified model suggests that such size-based market power could substantially reduce wages.
March 2018Bartik Instruments: What, When, Why, and How
with Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, Henry Swift: w24408
The Bartik instrument is formed by interacting local industry shares and national industry growth rates. We show that the typical use of a Bartik instrument assumes a pooled exposure research design, where the shares measure differential exposure to common shocks, and identification is based on exogeneity of the shares. Next, we show how the Bartik instrument weights each of the exposure designs. Finally, we discuss how to assess the plausibility of the research design. We illustrate our results through three applications: estimating the elasticity of labor supply, estimating local labor market effects of Chinese imports, and estimating the elasticity of substitution between immigrants and natives.

Published: Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Isaac Sorkin & Henry Swift, 2020. "Bartik Instruments: What, When, Why, and How," American Economic Review, vol 110(8), pages 2586-2624. citation courtesy of

November 2017Reconsidering the Consequences of Worker Displacements: Firm versus Worker Perspective
with Aaron B. Flaaen, Matthew D. Shapiro: w24077
Prior literature has established that displaced workers suffer persistent earnings losses by following workers in administrative data after mass layoffs. This literature assumes that these are involuntary separations owing to economic distress. This paper examines this assumption by matching survey data on worker-supplied reasons for separations with administrative data. Workers exhibit substantially different earnings dynamics in mass layoffs depending on the rea- son for separation. Using a new methodology to account for the increased separation rates across all survey responses during a mass layoff, the paper finds earnings loss estimates that are surprisingly close to those using only administrative data.

Published: Aaron Flaaen & Matthew D. Shapiro & Isaac Sorkin, 2019. "Reconsidering the Consequences of Worker Displacements: Firm versus Worker Perspective," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, vol 11(2), pages 193-227. citation courtesy of

October 2017Ranking Firms Using Revealed Preference
This paper estimates workers' preferences for firms by studying the structure of employer-to-employer transitions in U.S. administrative data. The paper uses a tool from numerical linear algebra to measure the central tendency of worker flows, which is closely related to the ranking of firms revealed by workers' choices. There is evidence for compensating differential when workers systematically move to lower-paying firms in a way that cannot be accounted for by layoffs or differences in recruiting intensity. The estimates suggest that compensating differentials account for over half of the firm component of the variance of earnings.

Published: Isaac Sorkin, 2018. "Ranking Firms Using Revealed Preference*," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 133(3), pages 1331-1393. citation courtesy of

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