nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2011‒07‒21
ten papers chosen by
Clarence Nkengne Tsimpo
University of Montreal and World Bank Group

  1. Managing Ethnic Conflict: The Menu of Institutional Engineering By Matthias Basedau
  2. Child Wellbeing in Two-Parent Families: How Do Characteristics and Relationships Matter? By Lawrence M. Berger; Sara S. McLanahan
  3. Why only one individual tests for HIV/AIDS among Sub-Saharan African Couples? By Olivier STERCK
  4. Protection through Proof of Age. Birth Registration and Child Labor in Early 20th Century USA. By Sonja Fagernäs
  5. Postnatal depression (PND) and poverty in low income countries: mapping the evidence. By Coast, Ernestina; Leone, Tiziana; McDaid, David; Hirose, A; Jones, Eleri
  6. Self-employment of rural-to-urban migrants in China By Giulietti, Corrado; Ning, Guangjie; Zimmermann, Klaus F
  7. Longevity, Life-cycle Behavior and Pension Reform By Peter Haan; Victoria Prowse
  8. When Can We Trust Population Thresholds in Regression Discontinuity Designs? By Florian Ade; Ronny Freier
  9. The internal relocation premium: are migrants positively or negatively selected? Evidence from Italy. By Andrea Cutillo; Claudio Ceccarelli
  10. Maintaining Cross-Sectional Representativeness in a Longitudinal General Population Survey By Lynn, Peter

  1. By: Matthias Basedau (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)
    Abstract: The debate on institutional engineering offers options to manage ethnic and other conflicts. This contribution systematically assesses the logic of these institutional designs and the empirical evidence on their functioning. Generally, institutions can work on ethnic conflict by either accommodating (“consociationalists”) or denying (“integrationists”) ethnicity in politics. Looking at individual and combined institutions (e.g. state structure, electoral system, forms of government), the literature review finds that most designs are theoretically ambivalent and that empirical evidence on their effectiveness is mostly inconclusive. The following questions remain open: a) Is politicized ethnicity really a conflict risk? b) What impact does the whole “menu” (not just single institutions) have? and c) How are effects conditioned by the exact nature of conflict risks?
    Keywords: institutional engineering, ethnicity, conflict, conflict management
    Date: 2011–07
  2. By: Lawrence M. Berger (University of Wisconsin, Madison); Sara S. McLanahan (Princeton University)
    Abstract: We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the role of individual and family characteristics, as well as mother-father and parent-child relationships, with regard to differences in wellbeing for children living with their biological mother and either their biological father or a social father. We find that accounting for these factors produces a large decrease in the association between two-parent family type and cognitive skills, but does little to explain the association between family type and externalizing behavior problems, given suppressor effects of several of the father characteristics and relationship measures. Furthermore, results from Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions suggest that differences in cognitive skills can largely be explained by differences in the characteristics and behaviors of the individuals comprising biological- and social-father families, whereas differences in externalizing behavior problems predominantly reflect differences in returns to (effects of) these characteristics and behaviors for children in the two family types.
    Keywords: parents, children, relationships, welfare, wellbeing, martial status
    JEL: D19 D69 H31 I30 J13
    Date: 2011–06
  3. By: Olivier STERCK (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: Voluntary Testing and Counseling (VTC) is a popular method for fighting the epidemic of HIV/AIDS. The purpose of VTC is to reduce the incidence of the virus in a twofold manner. First, testing provides access to health care and antiretroviral therapies (ARV) that diminish the transmission rate of the virus. Second, counseling would encourage safer behavior for both individuals who test HIV-negative and want to avoid a dangerous disease, and altruistic individuals who test HIV-positive and want to protect the others. Surprisingly, empirical evidence from DHS surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa shows that testing services are underused. Moreover, it is rare that both partners of a couple test for HIV. In this paper, I construct a behavioral model explaining how misperceptions of the riskiness of HIV/AIDS may induce, at most, one individual in the couple to test. I show that the correction of wrong beliefs thanks to specific information campaigns may be sufficient to induce testing of both partners.
    Keywords: HIV/AIDS, transmission rate, testing, prevention, risk perception, condom, beliefs, observability
    JEL: I10 I18 O12
    Date: 2011–07–05
  4. By: Sonja Fagernäs (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: A birth certificate establishes a child's legal identity and is the sole official proof of a child's age. However, quantitative estimates on the economic significance of birth registration are lacking. Birth registration laws were enacted by the majority of U.S. states in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Controlling for state of birth and cohort effects, the differential timing of birth registration laws across US states is used to identify whether birth registration changed the effectiveness of child labor legislation between 1910 and 1930. The incidence of child labor declined significantly in the early 20th century. The study finds that if a birth registration law had been enacted by the time a child was born, the effectiveness of minimum working age legislation in prohibiting under-aged employment more than doubled. This effect was stronger for children residing in non-agricultural areas.
    Keywords: Birth registration, Child Labor, Law and Economics, Economic history, USA
    JEL: J88 K4 N32 O10
    Date: 2011–06
  5. By: Coast, Ernestina; Leone, Tiziana; McDaid, David; Hirose, A; Jones, Eleri
    Date: 2010–11–06
  6. By: Giulietti, Corrado; Ning, Guangjie; Zimmermann, Klaus F
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the determinants of self-employment among rural to urban migrants in China. Two self-selection mechanisms are analysed: the first relates to the manner in which migrants choose self-employment or paid work based on the potential gains from either type of employment; the second takes into account that the determinants of the migration decision can be correlated with employment choices. Using data from the 2008 Rural-Urban Migration in China and Indonesia (RUMiCI) survey, a selection model with endogenous switching is estimated. Earnings estimates are then used to derive the wage differential, which in turn is used to model the employment choice. The procedure is extended to account for migration selectivity and to compare individuals with different migration background and employment histories. The results indicate that self-employed individuals are positively selected with respect to their unobserved characteristics. Furthermore, the wage differential is found to be an important driver of the self-employment choice.
    Keywords: European Union; rural to urban migration; selection bias magnets; self-employment; wages
    JEL: J23 J61 O15
    Date: 2011–07
  7. By: Peter Haan; Victoria Prowse
    Abstract: How can public pension systems be reformed to ensure fiscal stability in the face of increasing life expectancy? To address this pressing open question in public finance, we estimate a life-cycle model in which the optimal employment, retirement and consumption decisions of forward-looking individuals depend, inter alia, on life expectancy and the design of the public pension system. We calculate that, in the case of Germany, the fiscal consequences of the 6.4 year increase in age 65 life expectancy anticipated to occur over the 40 years that separate the 1942 and 1982 birth cohorts can be offset by either an increase of 4.43 years in the full pensionable age or a cut of 37.7% in the per-year value of public pension benefits. Of these two distinct policy approaches to coping with the fiscal consequences of improving longevity, increasing the full pensionable age generates the largest responses in labor supply and retirement behavior.
    Keywords: Life expectancy, Public Pension Reform, Retirement, Employment, Life-cycle models, Consumption, Tax and transfer system
    JEL: D91 J11 J22 J26 J64
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Florian Ade; Ronny Freier
    Abstract: A recent literature has used variation just around deterministic legislative population thresholds to identify the causal effects of institutional changes. This paper reviews the use of regression discontinuity designs using such population thresholds. Our concern involves three arguments: (1) simultaneous exogenous (co-)treatment, (2) simultaneous endogenous choices and (3) manipulation and precise control over population measures. Revisiting the study by Egger and Koethenbuerger (2010), who analyse the relationship between council size and government spending, we present new evidence that these three concerns do matter for causal analysis. Our results suggest that empirical designs using population thresholds are only to be used with utmost care and confidence in the precise institutional setting.
    Keywords: Regression discontinuity design, population thresholds, local elections, government spending
    JEL: C2 D7 H7
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Andrea Cutillo; Claudio Ceccarelli
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the wage returns from internal migration for recent graduates in Italy. We employ a switching regression model that accounts for the endogeneity of the individual’s choice to relocate to get a job after graduation: the omission of this selection decision can lead to biased estimates, as there is potential correlation between earnings and unobserved traits exerting an influence on the decision to migrate. The empirical results sustain the appropriateness of the estimation technique and show that there is a significant pay gap between migrants and non-migrants; migrants seem to be positively selected and the migration premium is downward biased through OLS estimates. The endogeneity of migration shows up both as a negative intercept effect and as a positive slope effect, the second being larger then the first: bad knowledge of the local labor market and financial constraints lead migrants to accept a low basic wage but, due to relevant returns to their characteristics, they finally obtain an higher wage then the others.
    Keywords: internal relocation; endogeneity; pay gap; migration premium.
    JEL: J31 J61 R23
    Date: 2010–10
  10. By: Lynn, Peter
    Abstract: This paper describes the problem of maintaining cross-sectional representativeness in a longitudinal survey of a changing population. The extent and nature of the problem is outlined and potential solutions are described. The procedures adopted on Understanding Society are described. The main challenges are to correctly identify members of the initial sample who leave the population through death or emigration and to periodically add appropriate samples of people who join the population through birth or immigration. The samples to be added should have known selection probabilities and should strike an appropriate balance between precision of estimation and cost-efficiency of fieldwork.
    Date: 2011–06–23

This nep-dem issue is ©2011 by Clarence Nkengne Tsimpo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.