nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2012‒05‒08
nine papers chosen by
Clarence Nkengne Tsimpo
University of Montreal and World Bank Group

  1. Raising the Financial Costs of Children and Fertility Responses: Evidence from the Kibbutz By Ebenstein, Avraham; Hazan, Moshe; Simhon, Avi
  2. Empowering Women Through Education: Evidence from Sierra Leone By Naci H. Mocan; Colin Cannonier
  3. Is Recipiency of Disability Pension Hereditary? By Bratberg, Espen; Nilsen, Øivind Anti; Vaage, Kjell
  4. Ageing and Literacy Skills: Evidence from Canada, Norway and the United States By Green, David A.; Riddell, W. Craig
  5. Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender 1970-2009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Coding System By Blau, Francine D.; Brummund, Peter; Liu, Albert Yung-Hsu
  6. The Impact of Early Life Economic Conditions on Cause-Specific Mortality During Adulthood By Yeung, Gary Y.C.; van den Berg, Gerard J.; Lindeboom, Maarten; Portrait, France
  7. Quantifying patriarchy: an explorative comparison of two joint family societies By Siegfried Gruber; Mikolaj Szoltysek
  8. Women in the Boardroom: Symbols or Substance? By O'Reilly, Charles A., III; Main, Brian G. M.
  9. Does breastfeeding support at work help mothers and employers at the same time? By Emilia Del Bono; Chiara Daniela Pronzato

  1. By: Ebenstein, Avraham; Hazan, Moshe; Simhon, Avi
    Abstract: Prior to 1996, Israelis in collective communities (kibbutzim) shared the costs of raising children equally. This paper examines the impact of the privatization of kibbutzim on fertility behavior among members. We find that fertility declined by 6-15 percent following the shift to privatization. In light of the massive change in financial costs associated with childbearing due to privatization, our results suggest that financial considerations may be a more modest factor in fertility decisions than generally regarded.
    Keywords: Kibbutz, Costs of Children, fertility, privatization, Financial Economics, Institutional and Behavioral Economics,
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Naci H. Mocan; Colin Cannonier
    Abstract: We use data from Sierra Leone where a substantial education program provided increased access to education for primary-school age children but did not benefit children who were older. We exploit the variation in access to the program generated by date of birth and the variation in resources between various districts of the country. We find that the program has increased educational attainment and that an increase in education has changed women’s preferences. An increase in schooling, triggered by the program, had an impact on women’s attitudes towards matters that impact women’s health and on attitudes regarding violence against women. An increase in education has also reduced the number of desired children by women and increased their propensity to use modern contraception and to be tested for AIDS. While education makes women more intolerant of practices that conflict with their well-being, increased education has no impact on men’s attitudes towards women’s well-being.
    JEL: I12 I15 I18 I21 I25 I28 J13 J18
    Date: 2012–04
  3. By: Bratberg, Espen (University of Bergen); Nilsen, Øivind Anti (Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)); Vaage, Kjell (University of Bergen)
    Abstract: This paper addresses whether children's exposure to parents receiving disability benefits induces a higher probability of receiving such benefits themselves. Most OECD countries experience an increasing proportion of the working-age population receiving permanent disability benefits. Using data from Norway, a country where around 10% of the working-age population rely on disability benefits, we find that the amount of time that children are exposed to their fathers receiving disability benefits affects their own likelihood of receiving benefits positively. This finding is robust to a range of different specifications, including family fixed effects.
    Keywords: disability, intergenerational correlations, siblings fixed effects
    JEL: H55 J62
    Date: 2012–04
  4. By: Green, David A.; Riddell, W. Craig
    Abstract: We study the relationship between age and literacy skills in Canada, Norway and the U.S. – countries that represent a wide range of literacy outcomes -- using data from the 1994 and 2003 International Adult Literacy Surveys. In cross-sectional data there is a weak negative partial relationship between literacy skills and age. However, this relationship could reflect some combination of age and cohort effects. In order to identify age effects, we use the 1994 and 2003 surveys to create synthetic cohorts. Our analysis shows that the modest negative slope of the literacy-age profile in cross-sectional data arises from offsetting ageing and cohort effects. Individuals from a given birth cohort lose literacy skills after they leave school at a rate greater than indicated by cross-sectional estimates. At the same time, more recent birth cohorts have lower levels of literacy. These results suggest a pervasive tendency for literacy skills to decline over time and that these countries are doing a poorer job of educating successive generations. All three countries show similar patterns of skill loss with age, as well as declining literacy across successive cohorts. The countries differ, however, in the part of the skill distribution where falling skills are most evident. In Canada the cross-cohort declines are especially large at the top of the skill distribution. In Norway declining skills across cohorts are more prevalent at the bottom of the distribution. In the U.S. the decline in literacy skills over time is most pronounced in the middle of the distribution.
    Keywords: Human capital, Cognitive skills, Literacy, Ageing
    JEL: I20 J14 J24
    Date: 2012–04–27
  5. By: Blau, Francine D. (Cornell University); Brummund, Peter (Cornell University); Liu, Albert Yung-Hsu (Mathematica Policy Research)
    Abstract: In this paper, we develop a gender-specific crosswalk based on dual-coded Current Population Survey data to bridge the change in the Census occupational coding system that occurred in 2000 and use it to provide the first analysis of the trends in occupational segregation by sex for the 1970-2009 period based on a consistent set of occupational codes and data sources. We show that our gender-specific crosswalk more accurately captures the trends in occupational segregation that are masked using the aggregate crosswalk (based on combined male and female employment) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Using the 2000 occupational codes, we find that segregation by sex declined over the period but at a diminished pace over the decades, falling by 6.1 percentage points over the 1970s, 4.3 percentage points over the 1980s, 2.1 percentage points over the 1990s, and only 1.1 percentage points (on a decadal basis) over the 2000s. A primary mechanism by which occupational segregation was reduced over the 1970-2009 period was through the entry of new cohorts of women, presumably better prepared than their predecessors and/or encountering less labor market discrimination; during the 1970s and 1980s, however, there were also decreases in occupational segregation within cohorts. Reductions in segregation were correlated with education, with the largest decrease among college graduates and very little change in segregation among high school dropouts.
    Keywords: occupations, occupational segregation, gender, discrimination
    JEL: J16 J24 J62 J71
    Date: 2012–04
  6. By: Yeung, Gary Y.C. (VU University Amsterdam); van den Berg, Gerard J. (University of Mannheim); Lindeboom, Maarten (VU University Amsterdam); Portrait, France (VU University Amsterdam)
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to assess the effects of economic conditions in early life on cause-specific mortality during adulthood. The analyses are performed on a unique historical sample of 14,520 Dutch individuals born in 1880-1918, who are followed throughout life. The economic conditions in early life are characterized using cyclical variations in annual real per capital Gross Domestic Product during pregnancy and the first year of life. Exposure to recessions during pregnancy and/or the first year of life appears to significantly increase all-cause mortality risks and cancer mortality risks of older males and females. It also significantly increases mortality risks due to cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases of older females. The residual life expectancies are up to 4.5 to 8% lower for all-cause mortality and up to 1.5 to 7.8% lower for cause-specific mortality. Our analyses show that cardiovascular and cancer mortality risks are related and that not taking this association into account leads to biased inference.
    Keywords: life expectancy, cancer, cardiovascular disease, survival analyses, competing mortality risks, recession
    JEL: I12 C41
    Date: 2012–04
  7. By: Siegfried Gruber (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Mikolaj Szoltysek (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: The notion of ‘patriarchy’ has pervaded the scholarly descriptions of peasant families in historical Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The term has often included many different elements, such as the dominance of patrilineal descent, patrilocal or patrivirilocal residence after marriage, power relations that favour the domination of men over women and of the older generation over the younger generation, customary laws that sanctioned these patterns, the absence of an interfering state that could mitigate their influence, and an inert traditional society that emanated from these conditions. Combinations of these elements have been used to explain the peculiarity of the residence patterns in the East and South-East of Europe relative to the West, but in a manner that generally does not allow researchers to measure comparatively the ‘intensity’ of patriarchy across time and space. In this paper, we propose a handy tool for comparative studies of joint families, and argue that ‘patriarchy’ can be meaningfully measured in quantitative terms. We also suggest approaches for measuring patriarchy, and provide a list of numerical variables easily derived from census microdata that can be used for measurement purposes. To illustrate how these comparative studies can be conducted, we use census and census-like materials for two historical joint family societies from the European East (Poland-Lithuania and Albania). For both datasets, we compute a list of well-specified variables and investigate how they correlate with each other. Finally, based on these variables, an index of patriarchy is proposed, allowing us to identify regions with different degrees of patriarchy within one country.
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2012–04
  8. By: O'Reilly, Charles A., III (Stanford University); Main, Brian G. M. (University Edinburgh)
    Abstract: The central argument for increasing the number of women on corporate boards of directors has been the so-called "business case for diversity" which proposes that women and minorities add valuable new perspectives that result in enhanced corporate performance. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence for this claim is mixed, leading some researchers to suggest that women outsiders are appointed for symbolic rather than substantive reasons. Using a sample of more than 2,000 firms over the period 2001-2005, we examine the effects of women outside directors on firm performance and CEO compensation. We find no evidence that adding women outsiders to the board enhances corporate performance. We do find some evidence that male CEOs with higher levels of compensation are more likely to appoint women outsiders and that boards with more women outside members are more generous in paying the CEO. We interpret these results as consistent with the appointment of women outsiders for normative rather than profit-enhancing reasons.
    Date: 2012–03
  9. By: Emilia Del Bono; Chiara Daniela Pronzato
    Abstract: This paper asks whether the availability of breastfeeding facilities at the workplace helps to reconcile breastfeeding and work commitments. Using data from the 2005 UK Infant Feeding Survey, we model the joint probability to return to work and breastfeeding and analyse its association with the availability of breastfeeding facilities. Our findings indicate that the availability of breastfeeding facilities is associated with a higher probability of breastfeeding and a higher probability to return to work by 4 and 6 months after the birth of the child. The latter effects are only found for women with higher levels of education.
    Keywords: breastfeeding, cognitive development, child outcomes
    JEL: J13 C26
    Date: 2012

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