nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2011‒08‒22
ten papers chosen by
Clarence Nkengne Tsimpo
University of Montreal and World Bank Group

  1. Marriage as a Rat Race: Noisy Pre-Marital Investments with Assortative Matching By Bhaskar, Venkataraman; Hopkins, Ed
  2. Migration and Stratification By Jasso, Guillermina
  3. Is population growth conducive to the sustainability of cooperation? By Stark, Oded; Jakubek, Marcin
  4. Tastes, castes, and culture : the influence of society on preferences By Fehr, Ernst; Hoff, Karla
  5. Influence of age of child on differences in marital satisfaction of males and females in East Asian countries By Yamamura, Eiji; Andrés, Antonio
  6. Housewives in a dual-earner society Who is a housewife in contemporary Norway? By Ragni Hege Kitterød and Marit Rønsen
  7. Life Expectancy and Schooling: New Insights from Cross-Country Data By Hazan, Moshe
  8. Parental Divorce and Generalized Trust By Viitanen, Tarja
  9. Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums By Singh, Prakarsh
  10. Sports and Child Development By Felfe, Christina; Lechner, Michael; Steinmayr, Andreas

  1. By: Bhaskar, Venkataraman; Hopkins, Ed
    Abstract: We study the incentives of parents to invest in their children when these investments improve their marriage prospects, in a frictionless marriage market with non-transferable utility. Stochastic returns to investment eliminate the multiplicity of equilibria that plagues models with deterministic returns, and ensure that a unique equilibrium often exists. Equilibrium investment is efficient when there is complete symmetry between the sexes. However, when there is any asymmetry between the sexes, including an unbalanced sex ratio, investments are generically excessively relative to Pareto-efficiency. Our model can be used for examine several implications of gender differences. For example, if shocks are more variable for boys than for girls, girls will invest more than boys. If there is an excess of boys, then there is parental over-investment in boys and under-investment in girls, and total investment will be excessive.
    Keywords: assortative matching tournament; ex ante investments; gender differences; marriage; sex ratio.
    JEL: C72 C78 D62 H31 J12
    Date: 2011–08
  2. By: Jasso, Guillermina (New York University)
    Abstract: Migration and stratification are increasingly intertwined. One day soon it will be impossible to understand one without the other. Both focus on life chances. Stratification is about differential life chances – who gets what and why – and migration is about improving life chances – getting more of the good things of life. To examine the interconnections of migration and stratification, we address a mix of old and new questions, carrying out analyses newly enabled by a unique new data set on recent legal immigrants to the United States (the New Immigrant Survey). We look at immigrant processing and lost documents, depression due to the visa process, presentation of self, the race-ethnic composition of an immigrant cohort (made possible by the data for the first time since 1961), black immigration from Africa and the Americas, skin-color diversity among couples formed by U.S. citizen sponsors and immigrant spouses, and English fluency among children age 8-12 and their immigrant parents. We find, inter alia, that children of previously illegal parents are especially more likely to be fluent in English, that native-born U.S. citizen women tend to marry darker, that immigrant applicants who go through the visa process while already in the United States are more likely to have their documents lost and to suffer visa depression, and that immigration, by introducing accomplished black immigrants from Africa (notably via the visa lottery), threatens to overturn racial and skin color associations with skill. Our analyses show the mutual embeddedness of migration and stratification in the unfolding of the immigrants' and their children's life chances and the impacts on the stratification structure of the United States.
    Keywords: immigration, immigrant visas, social stratification, gender, race, Hispanic origin, skin color, presentation of self, visa depression, illegal experience, English fluency, spouse selection, children of immigrants, nativity premium, New Immigrant Survey
    JEL: F22 J15 J16 J24 K42
    Date: 2011–08
  3. By: Stark, Oded; Jakubek, Marcin
    Abstract: This paper asks whether population growth is conducive to the sustainability of cooperation. A simple model is developed in which farmers who live around a circular lake engage in trade with their adjacent neighbors. The payoffs from this activity are governed by a prisonerâs dilemma ârule of engagement.â Every farmer has one son when the population is not growing, or two sons when it is growing. In the former case, the son takes over the farm when his father dies. In the latter case, one son stays on his fatherâs farm, whereas the other son settles around another lake, along with the âotherâ sons of the other farmers. During his childhood, each son observes the strategies and the payoffs of his father and of the trading partners of his father, and imitates the most successful strategy when starting farming on his own. Then mutant defectors are introduced into an all-cooperator community. The defector strategy may spread. A comparison is drawn between the impact in terms of the sustainability of cooperation of the appearance of the mutants in a population that is not growing, and in one that is growing. It is shown that the ex-ante probability of sustaining the cooperation strategy is higher for a community that is growing than for a stagnant community.
    Keywords: Population growth, Imitation, Sustainability of cooperation, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Farm Management, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Land Economics/Use, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis, C72, D01, D83, J19, J62, R12, R23,
    Date: 2011–07
  4. By: Fehr, Ernst; Hoff, Karla
    Abstract: Economists have traditionally treated preferences as exogenously given. Preferences are assumed to be influenced by neither beliefs nor the constraints people face. As a consequence, changes in behaviour are explained exclusively in terms of changes in the set of feasible alternatives. Here the authors argue that the opposition to explaining behavioural changes in terms of preference changes is ill-founded, that the psychological properties of preferences render them susceptible to direct social influences, and that the impact of"society"on preferences is likely to have important economic and social consequences.
    Keywords: Biodiversity,Labor Policies,Economic Theory&Research,Cultural Policy,Gender and Social Development
    Date: 2011–08–01
  5. By: Yamamura, Eiji; Andrés, Antonio
    Abstract: Using individual-level data from China, Korea, and Japan for 2006, this research examines how the age of children of the relationship influences marital satisfaction for males and females in East Asian countries. Our results show that the marital satisfaction of males is barely affected by a child of the relationship, whereas the marital satisfaction of females with a young child is lower than that of females who do not have a child. This result holds for countries of different development stages. There is also a gender differential regarding the effect of young children on marital satisfaction. Furthermore, the more developed the country, the greater this difference becomes.
    Keywords: Marital satisfaction; child; East Asian countries; probit
    JEL: J13 D19 J16
    Date: 2011–06–25
  6. By: Ragni Hege Kitterød and Marit Rønsen (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: The number of housewives has declined significantly in most Western countries, but there is now a renewed interest in the homemaker role in the media and public discourse. Utilising representative survey data from 2007 we examine the prevalence and characteristics of the housewife role in present Norway, a social-democratic country with high gender-equality ambitions. Irrespective of the definition used, being a housewife is clearly a minority practice in Norway. About one out of ten partnered women of prime working age either look upon themselves as housewives or work for pay less than 20 hours per week. Housewives are overrepresented among the less educated, those with health restrictions, women with many children and young children, non-Western immigrants and those with a partner with fairly high income. The partners’ aggregate income is lower in housewife couples than in other couples, though. Housewives are usually in charge of most domestic chores and report high levels of satisfaction with their division of labour and domestic economy. The analysis does not support the popular notion that today’s housewife is primarily a highly educated woman who puts her career on halt, or a rich man’s wife who spends her time on leisure activities.
    Keywords: Housewife; gender; equality; labour market; unpaid work.
    JEL: J13 J21 J22 J23
    Date: 2011–08
  7. By: Hazan, Moshe
    Abstract: I argue that distinguishing between life expectancy at birth and life expectancy beyond the crucial early childhood years affects the relationship between life expectancy and schooling in a meaningful way. In particular, I show that while the change in life expectancy at birth between 1960 and 1990 is positively correlated with percentage change in schooling, the change in life expectancy at age 5 is, at best, uncorrelated with percentage change in schooling. This evidence weakens the quantitative importance of increasing life horizon beyond the early crucial childhood years for formal acquisition of human capital.
    Keywords: Human Capital; Life expectancy
    JEL: J24 O11
    Date: 2011–08
  8. By: Viitanen, Tarja (University of Otago)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of parental divorce during childhood on generalized trust later on in life using Australian HILDA panel data. The dependent variable is composed of answers to the statement: “Generally speaking, most people can be trusted”. The main explanatory variables include the occurrence of parental divorce for the whole sample and the age at which parents divorced for the sub-sample. The analysis is conducted using random effects ordered probit, correlated random effects ordered probit and instrumental variables ordered probit models. The results indicate that the level of generalized trust is significantly affected by parental divorce for both men and women. This main result is very robust to alternative specifications. Furthermore, there is a marginally significant effect on the expressed level of generalized trust due to age at which parents divorced for women, but not men.
    Keywords: parental divorce, generalized trust, HILDA, random effects ordered probit, instrumental variables ordered probit
    JEL: J12 J13 H8 Z13
    Date: 2011–08
  9. By: Singh, Prakarsh
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence for the effectiveness of performance pay to government workers and how performance pay interacts with demand-side information. In an experiment covering 145 child day-care centres, I implement three separate treatments. First, I engineer an exogenous change in compensation for childcare workers from fixed wages to performance pay. Second, I only provide mothers with information without incentivizing the workers. Third, I combine the first two treatments. This helps us identify if performance pay and public information are complements or substitutes in reducing child malnutrition. I find that combining incentives to workers and information to mothers reduces weight-for-age malnutrition by 4.2% in 3 months, although individually the effects are negligible. This complementarity is shown to be driven by better mother-worker communication and the mother feeding more calorific food at home. There is also a sustained long-run positive impact of the combined treatment after the experiment concluded.
    Keywords: Performance pay; Child malnutrition; Public health; Information; Complementarity; Nutrition; Public sector; Urban slums
    JEL: J13 I12 H41 M52 L38 D12 H75 I18 I38 D61 J33
    Date: 2011–07
  10. By: Felfe, Christina; Lechner, Michael; Steinmayr, Andreas
    Abstract: Despite the relevance of cognitive and non-cognitive skills for professional success, their formation is not yet fully understood. This study fills part of this gap by analyzing the role of sports club participation, one of the most popular extra-curricular activities, on children’s skill development. Our results indicate positive effects: school performance improves by 0.20 standard deviations and overall non-cognitive skills by 0.09 standard deviations. The results are robust when using alternative datasets as well as alternative estimation and identification strategies. The effects can be partially explained by increased physical activities replacing passive leisure activities.
    Keywords: non-cognitive skills; physical activity; semi-parametric estimation; Skill formation
    JEL: J12 J13 J24
    Date: 2011–08

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