Under normal circumstances, an up-and-coming academic might be pleased to have his work cited by a leading politician in the heat of a major policy debate.
Not so Rand Ghayad, who will shortly be receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Northeastern University, and whose research on unemployment was cited admiringly by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in a recent essay about why extending unemployment insurance is a bad thing.
The problem, Ghayad wrote in a piece for the Atlantic, is that his research implies just the opposite. Ghayad’s research indicates that employers discriminate against the long-term unemployed. That’s the part of his work that Paul picked up on. The phenomenon, in fact, is pretty widely acknowledged.
But Ghayad says Paul’s wrong to attribute to his work the further conclusion that the provision of unemployment benefits for longer periods explains the persistence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment. “Just because companies discriminate against the long-term unemployed doesn’t mean long-term benefits are to blame,” Ghayad wrote in the Atlantic. “Paul might know that if he read beyond the first line of my paper’s abstract.”