nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2015‒12‒28
eight papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
ifo Institut

  1. Child care, maternal employment, and children’s school outcomes. An analysis of Italian data. By Del Boca, Daniela; Pasqua, Silvia; Suardi, Simona
  2. Paid Family Leave, Fathers’ Leave-Taking, and Leave-Sharing in Dual-Earner Households By Ann Bartel; Maya Rossin-Slater; Christopher Ruhm; Jenna Stearns; Jane Waldfogel
  3. Human Capital Development and Parental Investment in India By Orazio Attanasio; Costas Meghir; Emily Nix
  5. Body Weight and Gender: Academic Choice and Performance By Barone, Adriana; Nese, Annamaria
  6. How Strong are Ethnic Preferences? By Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge; Kjetil Bjorvatn; Simon Galle; Edward Miguel; Daniel N. Posner; Bertil Tungodden; Kelly Zhang
  7. The New World of Retirement Income Security in America By Joseph F. Quinn; Kevin E. Cahill
  8. Social rate of return: A new tool for evaluating social programs By Nanak Kakwani; Hyun H. Son

  1. By: Del Boca, Daniela; Pasqua, Silvia; Suardi, Simona (University of Turin)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the impact of mothers' employment status and formal child care attendance during early childhood on children’s school grades later in life, controlling for socio-demographic factors. We use the year 2008 of the Italian ISFOL-PLUS dataset. The dataset provides information on each respondent’s demographic characteristics, as well as a set of retrospective information on the individual’s school grades at the end of junior high school, high school, and university; along with (in the 2008 wave only) information about the respondent’s formal child care attendance and mother’s employment status when he or she was under age of three. We estimate the effects of maternal employment and child care attendance on the probability that the respondent would have high grades at the end of high school. Since maternal employment and child care attendance are likely to be endogenously determined, we use an Instrumental Variable (IV) approach. Our empirical results show that while having a mother who was working (during early childhood) had no significant effect on an individual’s high school grades, child care attendance had a positive and significant effect. These results have potential policy implications. As maternal employment does not seem to negatively affect the development process of children, while child care attendance appears to have a positive impact on academic achievement, policy makers should consider expanding the availability of child care, and promoting women's participation in the labour market.
    Date: 2015–12
  2. By: Ann Bartel; Maya Rossin-Slater; Christopher Ruhm; Jenna Stearns; Jane Waldfogel
    Abstract: This paper provides quasi-experimental evidence on the impact of paid leave legislation on fathers’ leave-taking, as well as on the division of leave between mothers and fathers in dual-earner households. Using difference-in-difference and difference-in-difference-in-difference designs, we study California’s Paid Family Leave (CA-PFL) program, which is the first source of government-provided paid parental leave available to fathers in the United States. Our results show that fathers in California are 0.9 percentage points—or 46 percent relative to the pre-treatment mean—more likely to take leave in the first year of their children’s lives when CA-PFL is available. We also examine how parents allocate leave in households where both parents work. We find that CA-PFL increases father-only leave-taking (i.e., father on leave while mother is at work) by 50 percent and joint leave-taking (i.e., both parents on leave at the same time) by 28 percent. These effects are much larger for fathers of sons than for fathers of daughters, and almost entirely driven by fathers of first-born children and fathers in occupations with a high share of female workers.
    JEL: J08 J13 J18 J2
    Date: 2015–11
  3. By: Orazio Attanasio; Costas Meghir; Emily Nix
    Abstract: In this paper we estimate production functions for cognition and health throughout four stages of childhood from 5-15 years of age using two cohorts of children drawn from the Young Lives Survey for India. The inputs into the production function include parental background, prior child cognition and health and child investments. We allow investments to be endogenous and they depend on local prices and household income, as well as on the exogenous determinants of cognition and health. We find that investments are very important determinants of child cognition and of health at an earlier age. We also find that inputs are complementary and crucially that health is very important in determining cognition. Our paper contributes in understanding how early health outcomes are important in child development.
    JEL: I14 I15 I25 I32 J13 J24 O15
    Date: 2015–11
  4. By: Maria De Paola; Vincenzo Scoppa (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: Using data on about 35,000 professional tennis matches, we test whether men and women react differently to psychological pressure arising from the outcomes of sequential stages in a competition. We show that, with respect to males, females losing the first set are much more likely to play poorly the second set, choking under the pressure of falling behind and receiving negative feedback. The gender differential is stronger in high stakes matches. On the other hand, when players are tied in the third set we do not find any gender difference in players’ reactions: this suggests that females do not tend to choke if they do not lag behind. These results are robust controlling for measures of abilities and fitness of players, such as players’ rankings, players’ ex-ante winning probability, players’ rest, players’ and tournaments’ fixed effects.
    Keywords: Gender Differences, Psychological Pressure, Choking under Pressure, Feedback, Tennis
    JEL: J16 D03 L83
    Date: 2015–12
  5. By: Barone, Adriana; Nese, Annamaria
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship between body weight and academic choice and performance, focusing on gender differences and using survey data from students at the University of Salerno in Italy.Our findings indicate a significant negative relationship between body weight and academic performance,particularly for female students.In our examination of BMI and field of study (i.e.,science vs.the humanities),our results indicate that overweight/obese females are less likely than those of average weight to pursue scientific studies, and hence, more remunerative careers.The asymmetry of the findings between males and females suggests that during late adolescence physicality plays different roles according to gender.
    Keywords: Human capital; Body weight; Educational economics; Microeconometrics
    JEL: C25 D01 I12 I21 J24
    Date: 2015–10
  6. By: Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge; Kjetil Bjorvatn; Simon Galle; Edward Miguel; Daniel N. Posner; Bertil Tungodden; Kelly Zhang
    Abstract: Ethnic divisions have been shown to adversely affect economic performance and political stability, especially in Africa, but the underlying reasons remain contested, with multiple mechanisms potentially playing a role. We utilize lab experiments to isolate the role of one such mechanism—ethnic preferences—which have been central in both theory and in the conventional wisdom about the impact of ethnic differences. We employ an unusually rich research design, collecting multiple rounds of experimental data with a large sample of 1,300 subjects in Nairobi; employing within-lab priming conditions; and utilizing both standard and novel experimental measures, including implicit association tests. The econometric approach was pre-specified in a registered pre-analysis plan. Most of our tests yield no evidence of coethnic bias. The results run strongly against the common presumption of extensive ethnic bias among ordinary Kenyans, and suggest that other mechanisms may be more important in explaining the negative association between ethnic diversity and economic and political outcomes.
    JEL: C90 H41 O43
    Date: 2015–11
  7. By: Joseph F. Quinn (Boston College); Kevin E. Cahill (Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College)
    Abstract: We have entered a new world of retirement income security in America, with older individuals more exposed to market risk and more vulnerable to financial insecurity than prior generations. This reflects an evolution that has altered the historical vision of a financially-secure retirement supported by Social Security, a defined-benefit pension plan, and individual savings. Today, two of these three retirement income sources — pensions and savings — are absent or of modest importance for many older Americans. Retirement income security now often requires earnings from continued work later in life, which exacerbates the economic vulnerability of certain segments of the population, including persons with disabilities, the oldest-old, single women, and individuals with intermittent work histories. Because of the unprecedented aging of our society, further changes to the retirement income landscape are inevitable, but policymakers do have options to help protect the financial stability of older Americans. We can begin by promoting savings at all (especially younger) ages and by removing barriers that discourage work later in life. For individuals already on the cusp of retirement, more needs to be done to educate the public about the value of delaying the receipt of Social Security benefits. Inaction now could mean a return to the days when old age and poverty were closely linked. The negative repercussions of this outcome would extend well beyond traditional economic measures, as physical and mental health outcomes are closely tied to financial security.
    Keywords: Retirement Income Security, Economics of Aging, Gradual Retirement, Vulnerable Populations, Work and Retirement
    Date: 2015–12–01
  8. By: Nanak Kakwani (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia); Hyun H. Son (Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines)
    Abstract: This study proposes the method of social rate of return (SRR) to evaluate safety net programs such as conditional cash transfer (CCT) schemes. Two types of SRRs are derived in the study: one based on the poverty social welfare function that focuses on the poorest 20\% of the population and the other based on the Gini social welfare function that focuses on inequality as measured by Gini. Defined as the social welfare generated by a program as a percentage of the cost of the program, the SRR is used in this study to conduct a comparative evaluation of CCT programs in Brazil ({\it Bolsa Familia} Program) and the Philippines ({\it Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino} Program or 4Ps). The findings reveal that the targeting of {\it Bolsa Familia} has improved substantially during 2001–2012, with the poor comprising almost two-thirds of the beneficiaries in 2012. Meanwhile, the 4Ps has rapidly expanded to cover 21\% of the population in 2013, but at the expense of increased leakage of beneficiaries from 45.33\% in 2011 to 52.20\% in 2013. The study finds that both programs have become more efficient in alleviating poverty and inequality – albeit {\it Bolsa Familia} is deemed more efficient given its better targeting system and lower operational cost. Nevertheless, the 4Ps’ targeting efficiency and administrative costs associated with the delivery of transfers have improved within a short period. The findings also indicate that both programs contribute more to the reduction in poverty than inequality.
    Keywords: Social rate of return, Gini social welfare function, poverty social welfare function, inequality, targeting, beneficiary and benefit analysis, cost effectiveness, poverty, education, conditional cash transfer program, Bolsa Familia, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, social assistance.
    JEL: D61 D63 I24 I32 I38
    Date: 2015–11

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