nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2014‒08‒02
eight papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
University of Munich

  1. Fertility and early-life mortality: Evidence from smallpox vaccination in Sweden By Ager, Philipp; Worm Hansen, Casper; Sandholt Jensen, Peter
  2. Women’s wages and fertility revisited. Evidence from Norway By Tom Kornstad; Marit Rønsen
  3. Before she said ‘I do’ The impact of industrialization on unmarried women’s labour force participation 1812-1932 By Corinne Boter
  4. Effect of Joint Custody Laws on Children's Future Labor Market Outcomes By Maiti, Abhradeep
  5. Retirement, Early Retirement and Disability: Explaining Labor Force Participation after 55 in France. By L. Behaghel; D. Blanchet; M. Roger
  6. The effects of fertility rates and dependency rates on housing prices By Peng, Chien-Wen
  7. Finite Population Causal Standard Errors By Alberto Abadie; Susan Athey; Guido W. Imbens; Jeffrey M. Wooldridge
  8. The Impact of Housing on the Wellbeing of Children and Youths By Blau, David; Haurin, Donald

  1. By: Ager, Philipp; Worm Hansen, Casper; Sandholt Jensen, Peter
    Abstract: We examine how the introduction of smallpox vaccination affected early-life mortality and fertility in Sweden during the first half of the 19th century. We demonstrate that parishes in counties with higher levels of smallpox mortality prior to the introduction of vaccination experienced a greater decline in infant mortality afterwards. Exploiting this finding in an instrumental-variable approach reveals that this decline had a negative effect on the birth rate, while the number of surviving children and population growth remained unaffected. These results suggest that the decline in early-life mortality cannot account for the onset of the fertility decline in Sweden.
    Keywords: Fertility transition, infant mortality, smallpox vaccine
    JEL: I15 J10 J13 N33
    Date: 2014–07–29
  2. By: Tom Kornstad; Marit Rønsen (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: Since the 1960s, Beckers’ New Home Economics has provided a central theoretical framework for studies of fertility behaviour. New Home Economics predict a negative effect of female wages on fertility. This prediction has been tested in a number of studies over the past decades, but the results are far from unanimous. In this paper we review past evidence of the impact of female wages on their childbearing behaviour and supply new evidence from Norway. We estimate a simultaneous hazard rate model of transitions to first, second and third birth, including predicted wage as a time-dependent variable. Using a very large dataset covering all women born in Norway during the period 1955-74, we find that timing of births is associated with wage changes. The wage effect on the log hazard is U-shaped for all the four 5-year cohorts we are studying, but the effect varies across cohorts and parity. We also find that the relationship between timing of births and wages are not very sensitive to the omission of the women’s non-labour income.
    Keywords: female fertility; wages; non-labor income; hazard model
    JEL: J13 J30
    Date: 2014–06
  3. By: Corinne Boter
    Abstract: Recent research based on Dutch marriage records shows a steady decrease of female labour force participation from the 1840s until the 1930s. However, this research relies on combined data from several municipalities. Analysing the sources in this way aggregates the development to such an extent that local variation is completely overlooked. This article contributes to our understanding of regional variation in unmarried women’s labour from 1812 to 1932. The purpose of this research is to isolate the developments in industry from those in agriculture and the service sector. I use marriage records from four regions that list the occupation of the bride to determine the amount of working unmarried women throughout the research period. My data show a different development from the previously mentioned research. Unlike earlier results, I found that unmarried women’s labour force participation in the industrial centres did not decrease gradually throughout the nineteenth and early-twentieth century. Moreover, labour force participation was remarkably high compared to the other sectors, especially during the first decades of the twentieth century. I argue that industry developed in a specific way because it required a cheap labour force which was mostly found among young women. This statement is supported by showing the percentages of brides with a recorded occupation in two industrial centres. Furthermore, I show that in these centres, the younger a woman was, the higher the chance that she stated an occupation in her marriage record. This was not the case in the agricultural and serviceoriented regions I have investigated. I therefore argue that research on the history of female labour should be approached from a comparative perspective for a proper understanding of its developments.
    Keywords: female labour force participation, unmarried women, industrialization, marriage records
    Date: 2014–07
  4. By: Maiti, Abhradeep
    Abstract: In a joint custody regime, both parents are given equal preference by the court while granting the custodial rights of their children in the event of divorce. Using 50 years of census data for the United States' population, I show that growing up in a joint custody regime leads to lower educational attainment and worse labor market outcomes. My results are robust to different model specifications and apply to both males and females.
    Keywords: Joint Custody Laws, Labor Market Outcomes
    JEL: J01 J12 J13
    Date: 2014–07–27
  5. By: L. Behaghel; D. Blanchet; M. Roger
    Abstract: We analyze the influence of health and financial incentives on the retirement behavior of older workers in France, building upon Stock and Wise (1990) option value approach. The model accounts for three main retirement routes: the normal retirement, disability insurance (DI) and unemployment/preretirement pathways, and is estimated with a combination of microeconomic datasets that include the French data of the European SHARE survey. The estimates confirm that a decrease in the generosity of the pension and DI schemes induces people to stay longer in the labor market, and that people with better health tend to retire later. We present extreme situations simulating what individual's retirement behavior would have been if only one retirement route had existed and in the absence of constraints on work capabilities. We show that average years of work between 55 and 64 are nearly 14% greater when regular retirement incentives are applied to the whole population than when it is DI rules that are systematically applied.
    Keywords: Pensions, Social Security, Disability, Labor force participation, Senior.
    JEL: H55 J14 J26
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Peng, Chien-Wen
    Abstract: Dependency rate is an indicator of demographic structure which usually be used to measure the pressure on productive population. A high dependency ratio can cause serious problems for a country if a large proportion of a government's expenditure is on health, social security and education, which are most used by the youngest and the oldest in a population. Many previous studies found that dependency rate was the main determinant of household saving or wealth accumulation. This study tries further to clarify whether demographic changes, especially dependency rate, affecting housing prices. The empirical results reveal that house price is cointegrated with fertility rate and old dependency rate, respectively. In the long run, an increase of fertility rate increases house price. However, an increase of old dependency rate reduces house price. The expected demographic change in 2015 would be an important signal of housing price change.
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Alberto Abadie; Susan Athey; Guido W. Imbens; Jeffrey M. Wooldridge
    Abstract: When a researcher estimates the parameters of a regression function using information on all 50 states in the United States, or information on all visits to a website, what is the interpretation of the standard errors? Researchers typically report standard errors that are designed to capture sampling variation, based on viewing the data as a random sample drawn from a large population of interest, even in applications where it is difficult to articulate what that population of interest is and how it differs from the sample. In this paper we explore alternative interpretations for the uncertainty associated with regression estimates. As a leading example we focus on the case where some parameters of the regression function are intended to capture causal effects. We derive standard errors for causal effects using a generalization of randomization inference. Intuitively, these standard errors capture the fact that even if we observe outcomes for all units in the population of interest, there are for each unit missing potential outcomes for the treatment levels the unit was not exposed to. We show that our randomization-based standard errors in general are smaller than the conventional robust standard errors, and provide conditions under which they agree with them. More generally, correct statistical inference requires precise characterizations of the population of interest, the parameters that we aim to estimate within such population, and the sampling process. Estimation of causal parameters is one example where appropriate inferential methods may differ from conventional practice, but there are others.
    JEL: C01 C18
    Date: 2014–07
  8. By: Blau, David; Haurin, Donald
    Abstract: Housing subsidies are often justified by claims that high quality housing improves households’ economic and social outcomes. The goal of our research is to undertake a comprehensive empirical study of the causal impact of housing characteristics on the cognitive, behavioral, and health outcomes of children and young adults. The primary hypothesis is that the quality of a child’s dwelling has a positive effect on child outcomes in both the short and the long run, holding other factors constant. Other key hypotheses are that the effects of housing differ by race, ethnicity, and income. In particular, we expect that there are diminishing returns to housing quality, so housing effects will be more important for low income children. We study this issue using child production function models. There are few studies of the impact of the attributes of dwellings on child and young adult outcomes. Most existing studies have focused on the impact of homeownership compared with renting. Using mostly U.S. data they suggest there is a small positive impact on selected child and young adult outcomes of being a homeowner. But very few studies have measured the impact of crowding or building type on child outcomes.We merge rich longitudinal data on child outcomes (National Longitudinal Study of Youth and Child Supplements) with information on the respondents’ house characteristics (Zillow data). We then analyze both the short and long term effects of house characteristics experienced during childhood. Examples of child outcomes include math and reading cognition, health, and behavioral problems. Examples of young adult outcomes studied include graduation from high school, wages, employment, and criminal convictions. Examples of dwelling characteristics include the square footage of the dwelling and lot, number of bedrooms, type of structure (single or multifamily), location, whether owned or rented, persons per room, and interviewer observations of the home environment. The study will clarify whether housing policies should be directed towards encouraging homeownership, toward dwellings’ quality, or if there is no measureable effect on child outcomes. A particular focus will be on the outcomes experienced by the children of low income parents.
    Date: 2013

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