Skip to content


-Lauren Fredericks and Charlie Radcliffe

After seeing Caroline and Cade’s post about the new steel tariff in the United States, we were interested to look at domestic motor vehicles sales since 2010. Since the tariff was just enacted, we cannot observe how the tariff has actually impacted sales. However, we can use the knowledge we gained about the negative influence that increased taxes have on demand to infer that the tariff will cause a further decline in domestic sales.

Since 2010, there has been a steady increase in motor vehicle sales. In fact, sales nearly doubled between 2010 and 2018 as consumers began making larger purchases when business stabilized after the Great Recession. However, in the graph below it is clear that there has been a decline in domestic motor vehicle sales since 2014, demonstrating the U.S.’ dwindling role as the world’s producer of motor vehicles.

As we mentioned, domestic sales increased after 2010 as American consumers (sort of) recovered from the Great Recession. We attribute the later decline in demand for domestic motor vehicles to the increase in demand for foreign motor vehicles. In fact, the United States imported the highest dollar value worth of cars during 2016: $173.3 billion.1 The tariff will make it more expensive for American car manufacturers to import steel with the intent of promoting domestic production of steel. However, it is possible that American car manufacturers will instead choose to make cars abroad where steel is cheaper and then export the cars back to the United States, effectively circumnavigating the tariff.This means that domestic manufacturers would have even more competition as some U.S. companies moved overseas.

The demand for domestic motor vehicles is already declining and the effects of the tariff on steel have yet to be realized. Assuming the tariff does not boost domestic steel production, the price of domestic motor vehicles will increase when steel becomes more expensive to import. This means American consumers' demand for foreign-made cars will increase because they are more affordable, driving total sales of motor vehicles up but sales of domestic vehicles down.

1Workman, Daniel. “Cars Imports by Country.” Worldstopexports, 5 Mar. 2018.

2Long, Heather. “Winners and Losers from Trump’s Tariffs.” Washington Post. 6 March 2018.


-Lauren Fredericks and Charlie Radcliffe

Mainstream media has been reporting that there has been an employment crisis within the doctoral graduate community. That being said, there has been an overall decrease in unemployment of college graduates with doctoral degrees since 2012. This trend differs between gender, as shown by the graphs below.

An important part of these graphs to note are the specific peaks and valleys of the data, specifically how the timing differs for men and women. For example, the major peak in unemployment levels for men occurs in December of 2011, whereas for women it occurs in January of 2012. Because male unemployment declines by January, it can be inferred that the rise in female unemployment was, in part, caused by the increased employment of men. Similarly, in the case of September 2014, the level of unemployment for men is at a peak, where the level of unemployment for women is at a valley. Although it makes sense that when a man is hired for a specific position, a woman is not hired for that position (and vice versa), this does not explain why the levels of unemployment for women are altogether higher than those for men.

The maximum number of unemployed men is the same for women (December 2011 and January 2012, respectively: 49,000), however the minimum number of unemployed men (April 2017: 4,000) is smaller than the number of women (September 2014: 8,000). Part of this can be explained by the volume of women with doctorates when compared to men: in 2016, 52.1% of people who graduated with a doctorate were women1. Additionally, even though women outnumber men in seven out of eleven doctoral fields, women enter fields of lower demand. These factors contribute to the higher rate of competition among women and their consequential unemployment. These structural factors perpetuate the cyclical nature of unemployment rates of women within the doctoral graduate community.

1Perry, Mark J. "Women Earned Majority of Doctoral Degrees in 2016 for Eighth Straight Year and Outnumber Men in Grad School 135 to 100." American Enterprise Institute. 28 Sep. 2017.