nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2014‒12‒08
twelve papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
ifo Institut

  1. Cultural Values and Decision to Work of Immigrant Women in Italy By Scoppa, Vincenzo; Stranges, Manuela
  2. Completed fertility effects of family policy measures: Evidence from a life-cycle model By Abiry, Raphael; Reuss, Karsten; Stichnoth, Holger
  3. Parental background matters: Intergenerational mobility and assimilation of Italian immigrants in Germany By Bönke, Timm; Neidhöfer, Guido
  4. Labour Market Progression of Canadian Immigrant Women By Adsera, Alicia; Ferrer, Ana
  5. Mixed-Nativity Marriages: a Marker of Immigrants' Integration or Marginality in the Host Countries? Evidence from Italy By Davide Azzolini; Raffaele Guetto
  6. Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the US than in Europe? By Alice Chen; Emily Oster; Heidi Williams
  7. Inequality and trust: new evidence from panel data By Guglielmo Barone; Sauro Mocetti
  8. Relative Concerns for Consumption at the Top: An Intertemporal Analysis for the UK By Quintana-Domeque, Climent; Wohlfart, Johannes
  9. Understanding the Role of Immigrants' Legal Status: Evidence from Policy Experiments By Fasani, Francesco
  10. Unconditional and Conditional Wage Polarization in Europe By Naticchioni, Paolo; Ragusa, Giuseppe; Massari, Riccardo
  11. Economic Returns to Speaking the Right Languages)? Evidence from Kazakhstan's Shift in State Language and Language of Instruction By Alisher Aldashev; Alexander M. Danzer
  12. Norms Make Preferences Social By Erik Kimbrough; Alexander Vostroknutov

  1. By: Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria); Stranges, Manuela (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: We investigate the role of culture in explaining economic outcomes at individual level analyzing how cultural values from the home country affect the decision to work of immigrants in Italy, using the National Survey of Households with Immigrants. Following the “epidemiological approach”, we relate the probability of being employed in Italy for immigrant women with the female labor force participation (LFP) in their country of origin, taken as a proxy of cultural heritage and gender role model. Controlling for a number of individual and household characteristics, we show that participation in the labor market is affected both by the culture of females' and by their husband's origin countries. We also show that the relationship between own decisions in the host country and home country LFP cannot be attributed to human capital quality or discrimination and it turns out to be stronger for immigrants that maintained more intense ties with their origin countries. Finally, we investigate to what extent cultural influence is driven by religious beliefs: we find that religion is a key determinant of differences in female labor decisions, but, besides religion, other cultural values exert additional influence.
    Keywords: culture, immigration, labor force participation, epidemiological approach, gender, Italy
    JEL: Z10 Z13 J10 J15 J16 J20
    Date: 2014–10
  2. By: Abiry, Raphael; Reuss, Karsten; Stichnoth, Holger
    Abstract: We estimate a structural life-cycle model of fertility and female labour supply and use it to evaluate the effects of a number of key family policy measures based on data for Germany. Parental leave benefits, child benefits and subsidized childcare are found to have substantial fertility effects. Without these measures, completed fertility is estimated to be lower by 6%, 7%, and 10%, respectively. Income tax splitting, which is fiscally expensive, reduces female labour supply but has a negligible effect on fertility.
    Keywords: Fertility,female labour supply,family policy,dynamic programming
    JEL: C25 C53 J13 J22
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Bönke, Timm; Neidhöfer, Guido
    Abstract: We investigate the hypothesis of failed integration and low social mobility of immigrants. For this purpose, an intergenerational assimilation model is tested empirically on household survey data and validated against administrative data provided by the Italian Embassy in Germany. In line with previous studies, we confirm substantial inequality of educational achievements between immigrants and natives. However, we find that the children of Italian immigrants exhibit fairly high intergenerational mobility. Furthermore, holding parental education constant, Italian second generation immigrants show no less opportunities than natives to achieve high schooling degrees. These findings suggest a rejection of the failed integration hypothesis.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility,education,integration and assimilation of immigrants
    JEL: I24 J61 J62
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Adsera, Alicia (Princeton University); Ferrer, Ana (University of Waterloo)
    Abstract: We use the confidential files of the 1991-2006 Canadian Census, combined with information from O*NET on the skill requirements of jobs, to explore whether Canadian immigrant women behave as secondary workers, remaining marginally attached to the labour market and experiencing little career progression over time. Our results show that the labor market patterns of female immigrants to Canada do not fit the profile of secondary workers, but rather conform to patterns recently exhibited by married native women elsewhere, with rising participation (and wage assimilation). At best, only relatively uneducated immigrant women in unskilled occupations may fit the profile of secondary workers, with slow skill mobility and low-status job-traps. Educated immigrant women, on the other hand, experience skill assimilation over time: a reduction in physical strength and an increase in analytical skills required in their jobs relative to those of natives.
    Keywords: skill assimilation, labour market outcomes of immigrant women, wage gaps, female labor force participation, Canadian migration
    JEL: J01 J61 F22
    Date: 2014–08
  5. By: Davide Azzolini (FBK-IRVAPP); Raffaele Guetto (University of Trento)
    Abstract: Taking up an assimilation hypothesis, the growth of mixed-nativity marriages documented in many developed countries is often regarded as an indicator of immigrants' integration in the receiving societies. We contend that an alternative theoretical approach could enrich our understanding of the complex link between integration (or, assimilation) and intermarriages. Precisely, we build on theories on assortative mating to investigate the salience of status exchange in the formation of mixed-nativity unions in Italy. The country is a new destination of international migration characterised by particularly poor immigrants' socioeconomic integration. In line with recent empirical evidence emerging from other countries, like Australia, the US and Spain, we provide sound evidence in support of the status exchange hypothesis in Italy. Exploiting Italian Labor Force Survey data and unique register microdata on marriages, we find mixed-nativity marriages to be more likely when less educated older men marry better educated younger women, especially when the latter originate from non-Western countries. Foreign women are also more likely to marry an Italian man if they are not employed. These patterns become more similar when women possess the Italian citizenship at the moment of marriage, confirming the salience of status exchange when immigrants' integration is low.
    Keywords: Assimilation, Integration, Mixed-nativity marriages
    JEL: J12 F22 I24
    Date: 2014–11
  6. By: Alice Chen; Emily Oster; Heidi Williams
    Abstract: The US has a substantial - and poorly understood - infant mortality disadvantage relative to peer countries. We combine comprehensive micro-data on births and infant deaths in the US from 2000 to 2005 with comparable data from Austria and Finland to investigate this disadvantage. Differential reporting of births near the threshold of viability can explain up to 40% of the US infant mortality disadvantage. Worse conditions at birth account for 75% of the remaining gap relative to Finland, but only 30% relative to Austria. Most striking, the US has similar neonatal mortality but a substantial disadvantage in postneonatal mortality. This postneonatal mortality disadvantage is driven almost exclusively by excess inequality in the US: infants born to white, college-educated, married US mothers have similar mortality to advantaged women in Europe. Our results suggest that high mortality in less advantaged groups in the postneonatal period is an important contributor to the US infant mortality disadvantage.
    JEL: I0 I14
    Date: 2014–09
  7. By: Guglielmo Barone (Bank of Italy, Regional Economic Research Division, Bologna Branch, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy); Sauro Mocetti (Bank of Italy, Regional Economic Research Division, Bologna Branch)
    Abstract: The relationship between inequality and trust has attracted the interest of many scholars who have found a negative relationship between the two variables. However, the causal link from inequality to trust is far from being identified and the existing empirical evidence admittedly remains weak, as the omitted variable bias, reverse causation and/or measurement error might be at work. In this paper, we reconsider the country-level evidence to address this issue. First, we exploit the panel dimension of the data, thus controlling for any country unobservable time-invariant variables. Second, we provide instrumental variable estimates using the predicted exposure to technological change as an exogenous driver of inequality. According to our findings, income inequality significantly and negatively affects generalised trust. However, this result only holds for developed countries. We also explore new insights on the effects of different dimensions of inequality, exploiting measures of both static inequality – such as the Gini index and top income shares – and dynamic inequality – proxied by intergenerational income mobility.
    Date: 2014–11
  8. By: Quintana-Domeque, Climent (University of Oxford); Wohlfart, Johannes (European Central Bank)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the consumption of rich households provides a reference point in the consumption choices of non-rich households from an intertemporal perspective. Using UK household data on food consumption, we estimate the Euler equation implied by a life-cycle model incorporating relative concerns for the consumption of rich households. According to both our OLS and GMM estimates, for the population of non-rich individuals as a whole, there is no evidence of such relative concerns. These results are robust to alternative definitions of the reference group, the presence of exogenous effects and liquidity constraints, and the interval censoring nature of our food consumption data. However, we find some (correlational) evidence of heterogeneous effects across county and household characteristics, which is robust to simultaneous estimation. In particular, there are relative concerns (for consumption at the top) in counties with relatively low income inequality or relatively high population density. Households whose head has relatively low educational attainment are also subject to relative concerns for consumption at the top.
    Keywords: keeping up with the Joneses, inequality, trickle-down consumption, UK
    JEL: D12 D91
    Date: 2014–09
  9. By: Fasani, Francesco (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: Programs aimed at reducing the presence of unauthorised immigrants are often at the core of the migration policy debate in host countries. In recent years, a growing body of empirical literature has attempted to understand the effect of lacking legal status on immigrants' outcomes and behaviour. The main difficulties in this field are the scarcity of data and the identification challenge posed by endogenous selection into legal status. The vast majority of these articles have therefore used amnesty programs (or similar policy changes) to establish causal relationships. In this paper, we propose a first systematic review of the empirical literature for the US and Europe on the impact of legal status on different immigrants' outcomes. We then present some new evidence of the relationship between labour market outcomes and legal status in the Italian context. In our empirical analysis, we first provide some descriptive evidence on differences in the outcomes for groups with different residence statuses, and we then exploit a specific amnesty programme to produce causal estimates of the impact of legal status. Our results confirm previous findings in the literature and show that the design of the specific amnesty analysed matters in shaping its effects.
    Keywords: illegal migration, amnesty, migration policy
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2014–10
  10. By: Naticchioni, Paolo (University of Rome 3); Ragusa, Giuseppe (LUISS Guido Carli University); Massari, Riccardo (Sapienza University of Rome)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the dynamics of the distribution of unconditional and conditional – on technology – wages in Europe, using both industry and individual level data for the period 1995-2007. We find that the unconditional wage distribution shows scant signs of polarization in Europe. On the other hand, the effect of technology is more nuanced. At the industry level, technological changes have an effect on polarization of jobs, but not on polarization of wages. At the individual level, we use a counterfactual distributional analysis which accounts for the heterogeneity of tasks across occupations, and we find only mild evidence of wage polarization. Technology affects the lower and upper part of the wage distribution in different ways, with service tasks affecting the lower quantiles and abstract tasks affecting the higher ones.
    Keywords: wage inequality, polarization, occupational tasks, offshoring, RIF-regressions
    JEL: J3 J5
    Date: 2014–09
  11. By: Alisher Aldashev (International School of Economics, Almaty); Alexander M. Danzer (Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the economic returns to language skills and bilingualism. The analysis is staged in Kazakhstan, a multi-ethnic country with complex ethnic settlement patterns that has switched its official state language from Russian to Kazakh. Using two newly assembled data sets, we find negative returns to speaking Kazakh and a negative effect of bilingualism on earnings while Russian was the official state language in the 1990s. Surprisingly, the Kazakh language continues to yield a negative wage premium 13 years after it has been made official state language. While we do neither find evidence for an ethnically segmented labor market nor for reverse causality, the low economic value of the Kazakh language can be explained by the comparatively poor quality of schools with Kazakh as language of instruction. Based on PISA data, we illustrate that scholastic achievements are substantially lower for pupils taught in Kazakh, despite the official support for the titular language. Our results suggest that switching the official state language without appropriate investments in school resources is unlikely to cure the economic disadvantage of a previously marginalized language.
    Keywords: Bilingualism, returns to language skills, wage premium, language policy, language of instruction
    JEL: J24 I21 P23 O15
    Date: 2014–11
  12. By: Erik Kimbrough (Simon Fraser University); Alexander Vostroknutov (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: We explore the idea that prosocial behavior in experimental games is driven by social norms imported into the laboratory. Under this view, differences in behavior across subjects is driven by heterogeneity in sensitivity to social norms. We introduce an incentivized method of eliciting individual norm-sensitivity, and we show how it relates to play in public goods, trust, dictator and ultimatum games. We show how our observations can be rationalized in a stylized model of norm-dependent preferences under reasonable assumptions about the nature of social norms. Then we directly elicit norms in these games to test the robustness of our interpretation.
    Keywords: experimental economics, norms, social preferences, conditional cooperation, reciprocity
    JEL: C91 C92 D03
    Date: 2014–10

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