nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2015‒06‒20
eight papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
ifo Institut

  1. Child care before age two and the development of language and numeracy. Evidence from a lottery By Nina Drange; Tarjei Havnes
  2. Education, Marriage and Fertility: Long-Term Evidence from a Female Stipend Program in Bangladesh By Youjin Hahn; Asadul Islam; Kanti Nuzhat; Russell Smyth; Hee-Seung Yang
  3. Does It Matter Where You Came From? Ancestry Composition and Economic Performance of U.S. Counties, 1850-2010 By Scott Fulford; Ivan Petkov; Fabio Schiantarelli
  4. Number of Siblings and Educational Choices of Immigrant Children: Evidence from First- and Second- Generation Immigrants By Dominique Meurs; Patrick Puhani; Friederiki Von Haaren
  5. Globalization: A Woman's Best Friend? Exporters and the Gender Wage Gap By Esther Ann Bøler; Beata Javorcik; Karen Helene Ulltveit-Moe
  6. Towards an ethnographic understanding of the European Marriage Pattern: Global correlates and links with female status By Sarah Carmichael; Jan Luiten van Zanden
  7. The effect on mental health of retiring during the economic crisis By Liudmila Antonova; Michele Belloni; Elena Meschi; Giacomo Pasini
  8. Women as ‘gold dust’: gender diversity in top boards and the performance of Italian banks By Silvia Del Prete; Maria Lucia Stefani

  1. By: Nina Drange; Tarjei Havnes (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: Young children are thought to be vulnerable to separation from the primary caregiver/s. This raises concern about whether early child care enrollment may harm children's development. We use child care assignment lotteries to estimate the effect of child care starting age on early cognitive achievement in Oslo, Norway. Getting a lottery offer lowers starting age by about four months, from a mean of about 19 months in the control group. Lottery estimates show significant score gains for children at age seven. Survey evidence and an increase in employment of both mothers and fathers following the offer, suggest that parental care is the most relevant alternative mode of care. We document that the assignment lottery generates balance in observable characteristics, supporting our empirical approach.
    Keywords: early child care; child development
    JEL: J13 J21
    Date: 2015–05
  2. By: Youjin Hahn; Asadul Islam; Kanti Nuzhat; Russell Smyth; Hee-Seung Yang
    Abstract: In 1994, Bangladesh introduced the Female Secondary School Stipend Program, which made secondary education free for rural girls. This paper examines the long-term effects of the stipend program on education, marriage, fertility and labor market outcomes of women. We find that the stipend increased years of education for eligible girls by 14 to 25 percent. These girls were more likely to get married later and have fewer children. They also had more autonomy in making decisions about household purchases, health care and visiting relatives. They were more likely to work in the formal sector than the agricultural or informal sector. Eligible girls were likely to marry more educated husbands, who had better occupations and were closer in age to their own. Their children’s health outcomes also improved. These results imply that school-based stipend programs can increase female empowerment through positive effects on schooling and marriage market outcomes over the long-term.
    Keywords: Stipend program, female education, age of marriage, marital match, fertility, Bangladesh
    JEL: I25 J12 J13 O12
    Date: 2015–05
  3. By: Scott Fulford (Boston College); Ivan Petkov (Boston College); Fabio Schiantarelli (Boston College; IZA)
    Abstract: The United States provides a unique laboratory for understanding how the cultural, institutional, and human capital endowments of immigrant groups shape economic outcomes. In this paper, we use census micro-sample information to reconstruct the country-of-ancestry distribution for US counties from 1850 to 2010. We also develop a county-level measure of GDP per capita over the same period. Using this novel panel data set, we investigate whether changes in the ancestry composition of a county matter for local economic development and the channels through which the cultural, institutional, and educational legacy of the country of origin affects economic outcomes in the US. Our results show that the evolution of the country-of-origin composition of a county matters. Moreover, the culture, institutions, and human capital that the immigrant groups brought with them and pass on to their children are positively associated with local development in the US. Among these factors, measures of culture that capture attitudes towards cooperation play the most important and robust role. Finally, our results suggest that while fractionalization of ancestry groups is positively related with county GDP, fractionalization in attributes such as trust is negatively related to local economic performance.
    Keywords: Immigration, Ethnicity, Ancestry, Economic Development, Culture, Institutions
    JEL: J15 N31 N32 O10 Z10
    Date: 2015–05–15
  4. By: Dominique Meurs (EconomiX, Université Paris-Ouest); Patrick Puhani (Leibniz Universität Hannover); Friederiki Von Haaren (Niedersächsisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (NIW))
    Abstract: We document the educational integration of immigrant children with a focus on the link between family size and educational decisions and distinguishing particularly between firstand second-generation immigrants and between source country groups. First, for immigrant adolescents, we show family-size adjusted convergence to almost native levels of higher education track attendance from the first to the second generation of immigrants. Second, we find that reduced fertility is associated with higher educational outcomes for immigrant children, possibly through a quantity-quality trade-off. Third, we show that between one third and the complete difference in family-size adjusted educational outcomes between immigrants from different source countries or immigrant generations can be explained by parental background. This latter holds true for various immigrant groups in both France and Germany, two major European economies with distinct immigration histories.
    Keywords: migration, integration, quantity-quality trade-off, decomposition
    JEL: J13 J15 J24
    Date: 2015–06
  5. By: Esther Ann Bøler; Beata Javorcik; Karen Helene Ulltveit-Moe
    Abstract: While the impact of globalization on income inequality has received a lot of attention, little is known about its effect on the gender wage gap (GWG). This study argues that there is a systematic difference in the GWG between exporting firms and non-exporters. By the virtue of being exposed to higher competition, exporters require greater commitment and flexibility from their employees. If commitment is not easily observable and women are perceived as less committed workers than men, exporters will statistically discriminate against female employees and will exhibit a higher GWG than non-exporters. We test this hypothesis using matched employer-employee data from the Norwegian manufacturing sector from 1996 to 2010. Our identification strategy relies on an exogenous shock, namely, the legislative changes that increased the length of the parental leave that is available only to fathers. We argue that these changes have narrowed the perceived commitment gap between the genders and show that the initially higher GWG observed in exporting firms relative to non-exporters has gone down after the changes took place.
    Keywords: Exporters, Globalization, Gender Wage Gap
    JEL: F10 F14 F16 J16
    Date: 2015–06
  6. By: Sarah Carmichael; Jan Luiten van Zanden
    Abstract: This contribution compares the EMP, and the associated Western European family system (inheritance practices, intergenerational co-residence and exogamy), with what is known about family systems and marriage patterns in the rest of the world, with a special focus on the consequences of these family systems for human capital formation (in view of recent interpretations that interpret the EMP as a step in the 'quantity-quality' switch in demographic behaviour). This is done in the following ways: first the EMP is defined as a family system characterized by monogamy, exogamy, consensus (no arranged marriages), neo-locality, and a relatively strong position of women in marriage. Next we compare these criteria with ethnographic data from other Eurasian societies (mainly based on George Murdock's ethnographic world atlas), and with global classifications of family systems presented by academics (anthropologists, political scientists and demographic and family historians) such as Emmanuel Todd. We present maps of the institutions determining marriage behavior, and show which features of the EMP can be found elsewhere. In the margin of the Eurasian landmass, marriage systems can be found with certain similarities to the EMP. In the ‘core’ of the continent, in China, Northern India, the Middle East, and Russia, institutions are diametrically opposed to those of the EMP. Finally, we briefly sketch the ‘similar’ marriage systems in Japan, Sumatra, Kerala, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and try to find out if these relatively female-friendly systems produced high levels of human capital (as the EMP is supposed to have done).
    Keywords: Marriage patterns, Ethnography, Female empowerment, Eurasia, Family, Inheritance, Kinship, Development
    Date: 2015–06
  7. By: Liudmila Antonova (Department of Economics, University of Venice Cà Foscari); Michele Belloni (Department of Economics, University of Venice Cà Foscari); Elena Meschi (Department of Economics, University of Venice Cà Foscari); Giacomo Pasini (Department of Economics, University of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal impact of retirement on late life depression, a growing concern for public health as major depressive disorders are the second leading cause of disability. We shed light on the role of economic conditions in shaping the effect of retirement on mental health by exploiting the time and regional variation in the severity of the economic crisis across ten European countries over the 2004-2013 period. We use data from four waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and address the potential endogeneity of retirement decision to mental health by applying a fixed-effect instrumental variable approach. Results indicate that retirement improves mental health of men, but not of women. This effect is stronger for those men working in regions that are severely hit by the economic crisis and in blue-collar jobs. These findings may be explained by the worsening of working conditions and the rise in job insecurity stemming from the economic downturn: In these circumstances, the exit from the labor force is perceived as a relief.
    Keywords: depression, stress, retirement, crisis
    JEL: I10 J26 J28
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Silvia Del Prete (Bank of Italy); Maria Lucia Stefani (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: European comparisons for the 2000s show that Italy was among the EU countries where women were least represented in bank boardrooms. Using a unique dataset on Italian banks over the period 1995-2010, this paper investigates the effects of gender diversity in boards on bank riskiness and economic performance. Taking account of omitted variables and reverse causality problems, as a source of endogeneity, our main econometric findings suggest that gender diversity may have a positive impact on the quality of credit and, to a lesser extent, on profitability. Both results may be driven by women’s higher risk aversion and their attitude to monitoring activities. Our study therefore suggests that women are ‘gold dust’ for Italian banks and that increasing their presence may be beneficial to economic performance.
    Keywords: banking, corporate governance, gender diversity, board of directors
    JEL: G21 G34 J16
    Date: 2015–06

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