nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2012‒09‒09
twenty-one papers chosen by
Clarence Nkengne Tsimpo
University of Montreal and World Bank Group

  1. Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England By Cinnirella, Francesco; Klemp, Marc P B; Weisdorf, Jacob
  2. From Empty Pews to Empty Cradles: Fertility Decline Among European Catholics By Eli Berman; Laurence R. Iannaccone; Giuseppe Ragusa
  3. Adult Longevity and Growth Takeoff By Daishin Yasui
  4. The Impact of Gender Quotas on Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipalities By Maria De Paola; Vincenzo Scoppa; Marco Alberto De Benedetto
  5. Fecundity, Fertility and Family Reconstitution Data: The Child Quantity-Quality Trade-O Revisite By Klemp, Marc P B; Weisdorf, Jacob
  6. Water Scarcity and Birth Outcomes in the Brazilian Semiarid By Rudi Rocha; Rodrigo R. Soares
  7. Taxation and Labor Supply of Married Women across Countries: A Macroeconomic Analysis By Bick, Alexander; Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola
  9. Statistical verification of a natural "natural experiment": Tests and sensitivity checks for the sibling sex ratio instrument By Huber, Martin
  10. Effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving women's employability and quality of work : a critical review By Todd, Petra E.
  11. The Genesis of the Golden Age - Accounting for the Rise in Health and Leisure By Carl-Johan Dalgaard; Holger Strulik
  12. Assimilation through Marriage By Gil S. Epstein; Renana Lindner Pomerantz
  13. Calculating Poverty Measures from the Generalized Beta Income Distribution By DUANGKAMON CHOTIKAPANICH, WILLIAM GRIFFITHS, WASANA KARUNARATHNE, D.S. PRASADA RAO
  14. The Welfare Cost of Homicides in Brazil: Accounting for Heterogeneity in the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Reductions By Daniel R.C. Cerqueira; Rodrigo R. Soares
  15. Time constraints, saving and old age By Davoine, Thomas
  16. Ethnic Networks and the Location Choice of Migrants in Europe By Nowotny, Klaus; Pennerstorfer, Dieter
  17. Does the Effect of Pollution on Infant Mortality Differ Between Developing and Developed Countries? Evidence from Mexico City By Eva O. Arceo-Gomez; Rema Hanna; Paulina Oliva
  18. Ethnic Groups and Anthropometric Differences in Colombia By Karina Acosta; Adolfo Meisel
  19. Ethnic Groups and Anthropometric Differences in Colombia By karina Acosta; Adolfo Meisel
  20. Why to employ both migrants and natives? A study on task-specific substitutability By Anette Haas; Michael Lucht; Norbert Schanne
  21. A Matching Model on the Use of Immigrant Social Networks and Referral Hiring By Monica I. Garcia-Perez

  1. By: Cinnirella, Francesco; Klemp, Marc P B; Weisdorf, Jacob
    Abstract: We question the received wisdom that birth limitation was absent among historical populations before the fertility transition of the late nineteenth-century. Using duration and panel models on individual data, we find a causal negative effect of living standards on birth spacing in the three centuries preceding England's fertility transition. While the effect could be driven by biology in the case of the poor, a significant effect among the rich suggests that spacing worked as a control mechanism in pre-modern England. Our findings support the Malthusian preventive check hypothesis and rationalize England's historical leadership as a low population-pressure, high-wage economy.
    Keywords: Birth intervals; Fertility limitation; Natural fertility; Preventive check; Spacing
    JEL: J11 J13 N33
    Date: 2012–09
  2. By: Eli Berman; Laurence R. Iannaccone; Giuseppe Ragusa
    Abstract: Catholic countries of Europe pose a demographic puzzle –fertility is unprecedentedly low (total fertility=1.3) despite low female labor force participation. We model three channels of religious effects on demand for children: through changing norms, reduced market wages, and reduced costs of childrearing. We estimate their effects using new panel data on church attendance and clergy employment for thirteen European countries from 1960-2000, spanning the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Catholic theology is uniform across countries. Yet service varied considerably across countries and over time, especially before the Council, reflecting differences in Church provision of education, health, welfare and other social services. We use differential declines in service provision --measured by nuns/capita-- to identify its effect on fertility, controlling for secular trends. They are large: 300 to 400 children per nun. Reduced religiosity (measured by church attendance) has no effect for Protestants, but predicts fertility decline for Catholics. The data suggest that service provision and religiosity complement each other –a finding consistent with preferential provision of services to church attendees. Nuns outperform priests in predicting fertility, suggesting that the childrearing cost channel dominates theology and norms.
    JEL: H31 H41 I3 I38 J13 J4 Z12
    Date: 2012–08
  3. By: Daishin Yasui (Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University)
    Abstract: This paper develops an overlapping generations model in which agents make educational and fertility decisions under life-cycle considerations, and retirement from work is distinguished from death. This model sheds light on a novel mechanism that links life expectancy, retirement, education, fertility, and growth. Gains in adult longevity induce agents to save more for retirement, reduce fertility, invest in education, and achieve sustained growth. Even if the length of working life is shortened by early retirement, this mechanism works as long as adult longevity increases sufficiently. Our model replicates the stylized facts of the transition from stagnation to growth in terms of longevity, time in retirement, fertility, education, and income, as well as reconciles the theory that gains in life expectancy trigger a growth takeoff by increasing education with the observation that the length of working life is not substantially prolonged because of retirement. This study provides a framework for considering the joint determination of education, fertility, and retirement.
    Keywords: Fertility; Growth; Human capital; Life expectancy; Retirement
    JEL: J13 O11
    Date: 2012–08
  4. By: Maria De Paola; Vincenzo Scoppa; Marco Alberto De Benedetto (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: We analyze the effect of gender quotas on electoral participation by using a rich dataset of Italian municipal elections. Gender quotas were in force in Italy from 1993 until 1995. Because of the short period covered by the reform, some municipalities never voted using gender quota. This allows us to identify a treatment and a control group and to estimate the effects of gender quotas by using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy. Notwithstanding electoral turnout shows a decreasing trend, we find that turnout has decreased significantly less in municipalities affected by the reform, suggesting that gender quotas have produced an increase in electoral participation. The effect on electoral turnout is driven by an increase in valid ballots, although we find also an increase in blank ballots. The effect is smaller in the Southern part of the country, typically characterized by more traditional gender roles. We also find that female electors react more than males probably because they expect female policy-makers to give particular attention to women’s interests.
    Keywords: Gender Quotas, Political Participation, Electoral Turnout, Natural Experiment, Gender Discrimination
    JEL: D72 D78 J71 J16
    Date: 2012–08
  5. By: Klemp, Marc P B; Weisdorf, Jacob
    Abstract: Growth theorists have recently argued that western nations grew rich by parents substituting child quantity (number of births) for child quality (education). Using family reconstitution data from historical England, we explore the causal link between family size and human capital of offspring measured by their literacy status and professional skills. We use a proxy of marital fecundity to instrument family size, finding that children of couples of low fecundity (and hence small families) were more likely to become literate and employed in a skilled profession than those born to couples of high fecundity (and hence large families). Robust to a variety of specifications, our findings are unusually supportive of the notion of a child quantity-quality trade-off, suggesting this could well have played a key role for the wealth of nations.
    Keywords: Child Quantity-Quality Trade-Off; Demographic Transition; Human Capital Formation; Industrial Revolution; Instrumental Variable Analysis
    JEL: J13 N3 O10
    Date: 2012–09
  6. By: Rudi Rocha (UFRJ); Rodrigo R. Soares (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of rainfall fluctuations during the gestational period on health at birth. We concentrate on the semiarid region of Northeastern Brazil to highlight the role of water scarcity as a determinant of early life health. We find that negative rainfall shocks are robustly correlated with higher infant mortality, lower birth weight, and shorter gestation periods. Mortality effects are concentrated on intestinal infections and malnutrition, and are greatly minimized when the local public health infrastructure is sufficiently developed (municipality coverage of piped water and sanitation). We also …nd that e¤ects are stronger during the fetal period (2nd trimester of gestation), for children born during the dry season, and for mortality in the first 6 months of life. The results seem to be driven by water scarcity per se, and not by reduced agricultural production. Our estimates suggest that expansions in public health infrastructure would be a cost-effective way of reducing the response of infant mortality to rainfall shocks in the Brazilian semiarid
    Date: 2012–08
  7. By: Bick, Alexander; Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola
    Abstract: We document contemporaneous differences in the aggregate labor supply of married couples across 19 OECD countries. We quantify the contribution of international differences in non-linear labor income taxes and consumption taxes, as well as male and female wages, to the international differences in the data. Our model replicates the comparatively small differences of married men's hours worked very well. Moreover, taxes and wages account for a large part of the observed substantial differences in married women's labor supply between the US and Western, Eastern, and Northern Europe, but cannot explain the low labor supply of married women in Southern Europe.
    Keywords: Hours Worked; Taxation; Two-Earner Households
    JEL: E60 H20 H31 J12 J22
    Date: 2012–09
  8. By: Karen Andrea García Rojas
    Abstract: On average women are paid less than men for equal work in every country in the world. In Colombia, the average of the wage gap seems to be between 10% and 13% although women have surpassed men in average years of education. A part of these gap can be explained because of men are greater represented in better paid disciplines, but the main explanation, 'the subjective one', relevant with gender wage discrimination, could explain more than the half of the gap. Historically, the female has had to cope with the existence of a stereotyped division of work, which has assigned her, specific roles with deep traditional roots. For women it has not been easy to get rid of these cultural patterns, which not only involve employment discrimination by employers, but also involve, in general, doubts and dilemmas that make them less competitive in a world dominated by men during centuries. There are several papers about the gender wage gap in Colombia. But this field only considers women professional workers, it means, high and middle classes. If they are in that situation, what happen with the lower classes’ women? This essay constructs a discussion since a political economy critical view, around the difficult situation of labor gender discrimination and particular situations of female workers in all social classes, making a comparison between the roles and dilemmas of women workers of different classes; under the recognition that low class women face a deeper and more dramatic discrimination. In the lower classes, women's situation is far to be ‘liberation’, although in some social circles there is the wrong idea that work gender discrimination ‘is over’. In general, lower classes’ women do have a low possibility of independence, autonomy and gender consciousness, because of the difficult access to quality education and formal jobs. Moreover, there is evidence which proves that executive women and women in leadership jobs have been decisively supported by the domestic work to get 'success' in their careers; which shows that in our society there is a gender gap by social class: the dynamics of modern capitalism has allowed, in general, the improved of the welfare, independence and equality for women in upper class (although there remains a gap with their male counterparts), but has not brought the same benefits to lower class women.
    Date: 2012–01–29
  9. By: Huber, Martin
    Abstract: This paper presents statistical evidence about the validity of the sibling sex ratio instrument proposed by Angrist and Evans (1998), a prominent natural “natural experiment” in the sense of Rosenzweig and Wolpin (2000). The sex ratio of the first two siblings is arguably randomly assigned and influences the probability of having a third child, which makes it a candidate instrument for fertility when estimating the effect of fertility on female labor supply. However, identification hinges on the satisfaction of the instrumental exclusion restriction and the monotonicity of fertility in the instrument, see Imbens and Angrist (1994). Using the methods of Kitagawa (2008), Huber and Mellace (2011a), and Huber and Mellace (2012), we for the first time verify the validity of the sibling sex ratio instrument by statistical hypothesis tests, which suggest that violations are small if not close to nonexistent. We also provide novel sensitivity checks to assess deviations from the exclusion restriction and/or monotonicity in the nonparametric local average treatment effect framework and find the negative labor supply effect of fertility to be robust to a plausible range of violations.
    Keywords: instrumental variable, treatment effects, LATE, tests, sensitivity analysis.
    JEL: C12 C21 C26 J13 J22
    Date: 2012–08
  10. By: Todd, Petra E.
    Abstract: This paper examines the effectiveness of a variety of policy interventions that have been tried in developing and transition economies with the goal of improving women's employability and quality of work. The programs include active labor market programs, education and training programs, programs that facilitate work (such as childcare subsidies, parental leave programs and land titling programs), microfinance programs, entrepreneurship and leadership programs, and conditional cash transfer programs. Some of these policy interventions were undertaken to increase employment, some to increase female employment, and some for other reasons. All of these programs have been subjected to impact evaluations of different kinds and some also to rigorous cost-benefit analyses. Many were found to be effective in increasing women's quantity of work as measured by increased rates of labor market participation and number of hours worked. In some cases, the programs also increased women's quality of work, for example, by increasing the capacity for women to work in the formal rather than the informal sector where wages are higher and where women are more likely to have access to health, retirement, and other benefits.
    Keywords: Labor Markets,Labor Policies,Poverty Impact Evaluation,Poverty Monitoring&Analysis,Population Policies
    Date: 2012–09–01
  11. By: Carl-Johan Dalgaard (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Holger Strulik (University of Goettingen, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We develop a life cycle model featuring an optimal retirement decision in the presence of physiological aging. In modeling the aging process we draw on recent advances within the fields of biology and medicine. In the model individuals decide on optimal consumption during life, the age of retirement, and (via health investments) the timing of their death. Accordingly, "years in retirement" is fully endogenously determined. Using the model we can account for the evolution of age of retirement and longevity across cohorts born between 1850 and 1940 in the US. Our analysis indicates that 2/3 of the observed increase in longevity can be accounted for by wage growth, whereas the driver behind the observed rising age of retirement appears to have been technological change in health care. Both technology and income contribute to the rise in years in retirement, but the contribution from income is slightly greater.
    Keywords: Aging, Longevity, Retirement, Health, Health Technology
    JEL: D91 I15 J17 J26
    Date: 2012–08
  12. By: Gil S. Epstein (Bar-Ilan University, IZA Bonn and CReAM London); Renana Lindner Pomerantz (Bar-Ilan University)
    Abstract: During the last few decades cultural changes have been taking place in many countries due to migration. The degree to which the foreign culture influences the local culture, differs across countries. This paper shows how the willingness of locals and immigrants to intermarry influences the culture and the national identity of the host country. We use a search-theoretic approach to show that, even in situations where migrants and natives prefer to marry within their own community, the search process may lead to intermarriage. The exogamy can take on two forms: either migrants and natives each hold on to their own culture or the immigrants take on the natives' culture. In the first case we will see new cultures developing and the local culture will not survive over time. In the second case the local culture will survive. We show the conditions for assimilation versus no assimilation between the groups.
    Keywords: Assimilation, Migration, Marriage.
    JEL: F22 R23
    Date: 2012–09
    Abstract: Data for measuring poverty and income inequality are frequently available in a summary form that describes the proportion of income or expenditure for each of a number of population proportions. While various discrete measures can be applied directly to data in this limited form, these discrete measures typically ignore inequality within each group. This problem can be overcome by fitting a parametric income distribution to the grouped data and computing required quantities from the estimated parameters of this distribution. In this paper we show how to calculate several poverty measures from parameters of the generalized beta distribution of the second kind, and its popular special cases. An analysis of poverty changes in ten countries from South and Southeast Asia is used to illustrate the methodology.
    JEL: I32 O15 C13
    Date: 2012
  14. By: Daniel R.C. Cerqueira (IPEA); Rodrigo R. Soares (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the health dimension of the welfare cost of homicides in Brazil incorporating age, gender, educational, and regional heterogeneities. We use the marginal willingness to pay approach from the “value of life” literature to assign monetary values to the welfare cost of increased mortality due to violence. The results indicate that the present discounted value of the welfare cost of homicides in Brazil corresponds to roughly 78% of the GDP or, measured in terms of yearly flow, 2.3%. The analysis also indicates that reliance on aggregate data to perform such calculations, without taking into account the relevant dimensions of heterogeneity, can lead to biases of the order of 20% in the estimated social cost of violence
    Date: 2012–08
  15. By: Davoine, Thomas
    Abstract: Abstract I take seriously the hypothesis that the wealthy lack time to consume to explain empirical evidence on old age asset decumulation and rich savings rates. Basic life-cycle theory predicts that households run down their assets toward the end of their life but evidence shows they do it at a very low rate. Under homothetic preferences, this theory also predicts that rich and poor save at the same rate, inconsistent with empirical evidence. Other existing models are also inconsistent with both evidence at the same time. Integrating a Becker home production model in Ramsey growth theory, I show that time constraints can explain the evidence on savings rate and asset decumulation, as well as some other evidence difficult to rationalize.
    Keywords: Time constraints, home production, neoclassical growth theory, savings rate, old age asset decumulation
    JEL: E21 D9 J14 J22
    Date: 2012–08
  16. By: Nowotny, Klaus (University of Salzburg); Pennerstorfer, Dieter (Austrian Institute of Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of ethnic networks in the location decision of migrants to the EU at the regional level. Using a random parameters logit specification we find a substantially positive effect of ethnic networks on the location decision of migrants. Furthermore, we find evidence of spatial spillovers in the effect of ethnic networks. Analyzing the trade-off between potential income and network size, we find that migrants would require a sizable compensation for living in a region with a smaller ethnic network, especially when considering regions where only few previous migrants from the same country of origin are located.
    Keywords: network migration; ethnic networks; random parameters logit
    JEL: C35 F22 R23
    Date: 2012–09–03
  17. By: Eva O. Arceo-Gomez; Rema Hanna; Paulina Oliva
    Abstract: Much of what we know about the marginal effect of pollution on infant mortality is derived from developed country data. However, given the lower levels of air pollution in developed countries, these estimates may not be externally valid to the developing country context if there is a nonlinear dose relationship between pollution and mortality or if the costs of avoidance behavior differs considerably between the two contexts. In this paper, we estimate the relationship between pollution and infant mortality using data from Mexico. We find that an increase of 1 parts per billion in carbon monoxide (CO) over the last week results in 0.0032 deaths per 100,000 births, while a 1 μg/m3 increase in particulate matter (PM10) results in 0.24 infant deaths per 100,000 births. Our estimates for PM10 tend to be similar (or even smaller) than the U.S. estimates, while our findings on CO tend to be larger than those derived from the U.S. context. We provide suggestive evidence that a non-linearity in the relationship between CO and health explains this difference.
    JEL: O1 Q53
    Date: 2012–08
  18. By: Karina Acosta; Adolfo Meisel
    Abstract: Using data from the 2010 Colombia Demographic and Health Survey and of the National Survey of the Nutritional Situation in Colombia (ENDS-ENSIN), we analyzed the evolution of the height for the Colombian birth cohorts in the period 1946-1992 by ethnic groups defined through self-classification. We find that there are statistically significant differences in height between the ethnic groups considered. Those who identified themselves as Afrocolombians have greater average height than the indigenous group and are also taller than those who don’t identify themselves as belonging to either of these two groups. This latter category was denominated in the survey as others. We also find that the height gap between afros and others became smaller during the time period under study. Moreover, the results suggest that the Colombian indigenous group has a higher potential for growth in ‘biological well-being’ if their socioeconomic status improves.
    Keywords: Anthropometry, ethnicity, biological well-being. Classification JEL: I12, I14, N36, Z13.
    Date: 2012–08
  19. By: karina Acosta; Adolfo Meisel
    Abstract: Using data from the 2010 Colombia Demographic and Health Survey and of the National Survey of the Nutritional Situation in Colombia (ENDS-ENSIN), we analyzed the evolution of the height for the Colombian birth cohorts in the period 1946-1992 by ethnic groups defined through self-classification. We find that there are statistically significant differences in height between the ethnic groups considered. Those who identified themselves as Afrocolombians have greater average height than the indigenous group and are also taller than those who don’t identify themselves as belonging to either of these two groups. This latter category was denominated in the survey as others. We also find that the height gap between afros and others became smaller during the time period under study. Moreover, the results suggest that the Colombian indigenous group has a higher potential for growth in ‘biological well-being’ if their socioeconomic status improves.
    Date: 2012–08–29
  20. By: Anette Haas (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB)); Michael Lucht (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB)); Norbert Schanne (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB))
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the performance of migrants on the German labor market and its dependence on the tasks performed on their jobs. Recent work suggests quantifying the imperfect substitutability relationship between migrants and natives as a measure for the hurdles migrants have to face. Our theoretical work adopts that migrant shares are very heterogeneous across firms which is hard to reconcile with an aggregate production function. We argue that the ability to integrate migrants may form a competitive advantage for firms. We show in a Melitz-type framework that the output reaction to wage changes varies across firms. Hence, substitution elasticities of an aggregate production function can be quite different from those individual firms are faced with. Finally we estimate elasticities of substitution for different aggregate CES-nested production functions for Germany between 1993 and 2008 using administrative data and taking into account the task approach. We find significant variation in the substitutability between migrants and natives across qualification levels and tasks. We show that especially interactive tasks seem to impose hurdles for migrants on the German labor market.
    Keywords: Heterogeneity, Migrants, Substitution Elasticity, Tasks
    JEL: J15 J24 J31
    Date: 2012–08
  21. By: Monica I. Garcia-Perez (Department of Economics, St. Cloud State University)
    Abstract: Using a simple search model, with urn-ball derived matching function, this paper investigates the effect of firm owner’s and coworkers’ nativity on hiring patterns and wages. In the model, social networks reduce search frictions and wages are derived endogenously as a function of the efficiency of the social ties of current employees. As a result, individuals with more efficient connections tend to receive higher wages and lower unemployment rate. However, because this efficiency depends on matching with same-type owners and coworkers, there is also a differential effect among workers’ wages in the same firm. This analysis highlights the potential importance of social connections and social capital for understanding employment opportunities and wage differentials between these groups.
    Keywords: immigration; search models; social networks; wage differential; hiring process.
    JEL: J15 J21 J31 J61 R23
    Date: 2012

This nep-dem issue is ©2012 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.