nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2016‒07‒16
six papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
ifo Institut

  1. The Gender Gap in Mathematics Achievement: Evidence from Italian Data By Di Tommaso, Maria Laura; Mendolia, Silvia; Contini, Dalit
  2. Selling daughters: age of marriage, income shocks and the bride price tradition By Lucia Corno; Alessandra Voena
  3. Commitment in the Household: Evidence from the Effect of Inheritances on the Labor Supply of Older Married Couples By Blau, David M.; Goodstein, Ryan
  4. Aggregation with two-member households and home production By Vasilev, Aleksandar
  5. Like Mother, Like Father? Gender Assortative Transmission of Child Overweight By Costa-Font, J.; Jofre-Bonet, M.
  6. Illegal Migration and Consumption Behavior of Immigrant Households By Dustmann, Christian; Fasani, Francesco; Speciale, Biagio

  1. By: Di Tommaso, Maria Laura (University of Turin); Mendolia, Silvia (University of Wollongong); Contini, Dalit (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Gender differences in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines are widespread in most OECD countries and mathematics is the only subject where typically girls tend to underperform with respect to boys. This paper describes the gender gap in math test scores in Italy, which is one of the countries displaying the largest differential between boys and girls according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), we use data from an Italian national level learning assessment, involving children in selected grades from second to tenth. We first analyse the magnitude of the gender gap using OLS regression and school fixed-effect models for each grade separately. Our results show that girls systematically underperform boys, even after controlling for an array of individual and family background characteristics, and that the average gap increases with children's age. We then study the gender gap throughout the test scores distribution, using quantile regression and metric-free methods, and find that the differential is small at the lowest percentiles of the grade distribution, but large among top performing children. Finally, we estimate dynamic models relating math performance at two consecutive assessments. Lacking longitudinal data, we use a pseudo panel technique and find that girls' average test scores are consistently lower than those of boys at all school years, even conditional on previous scores.
    Keywords: math gender gap, education, school achievement, inequalities, cross-sectional data, pseudo panel estimation, quantile regression
    JEL: J16 I24 C31
    Date: 2016–07
  2. By: Lucia Corno (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Queen Mary, University of London); Alessandra Voena (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Chicago)
    Abstract: When markets are incomplete, cultural norms may play an important role in shaping economic behavior. In this paper, we explore whether income shocks increase the probability of child marriages in societies that engage in bride price payments – transfers from the groom to the bride’s parents at marriage. We develop a simple model in which households are exposed to income volatility and have no access to credit markets. If a daughter marries, the household obtains a bride price and has fewer members to support. In this framework, girls have a higher probability of marrying early when their parents have higher marginal utility of consumption because of adverse income shocks. We test the prediction of the model by exploiting variation in rainfall shocks over a woman’s life cycle, using a survey dataset from rural Tanzania. We find that adverse shocks during teenage years increase the probability of early marriages and early fertility among women.
    Keywords: Child marriage, marriage payments, income shocks, consumption smoothing.
    Date: 2016–06–17
  3. By: Blau, David M. (Ohio State University); Goodstein, Ryan
    Abstract: We study the effect of receiving an inheritance on the labor force participation (LFP) of both the recipient and the recipient's spouse in a population of older married couples. An inheritance is not subject to laws governing division of marital property at divorce, because it is not acquired with income earned during marriage. Hence it plays the role of a "distribution factor" in the intrahousehold allocation of resources, increasing bargaining power of the recipient. Controlling for inheritance expectations, we interpret the receipt of an inheritance as a shock to wealth. Our results indicate that receiving an inheritance reduces LFP of the recipient by four percentage points, comparable in magnitude to the effect of a decline in health. However, an inheritance has little or no effect on LFP of the spouse. These estimates are inconsistent with a dynamic, collective model of the household in which spouses have the ability to commit to an ex ante efficient allocation. The results are consistent with a model of limited commitment in which a shock to household resources can alter bargaining power. We discuss the implications for reform of Social Security spouse and survivor benefits.
    Keywords: inheritances, commitment, labor force participation, retirement, collective model of household
    JEL: J22 J26
    Date: 2016–07
  4. By: Vasilev, Aleksandar
    Abstract: This note explores the problem of family labor supply decision in an economy with two-member households, joint home production, and fixed cost of joint labor supply. Even though the labor supply decisions are not indivisible per se, the presence of such fixed cost and partners with unequal labor productivity create non-convexities. The note shows how lotteries as in Rogerson (1988) can again be used to convexify consumption sets, and we perform aggregation over individual preferences. The main result demonstrated in the paper is that aggregate preferences of males do not differ from individual level ones. However, for females, the disutility of non-market work at the aggregate becomes separable from market work, but keeps its original (logarithmic) form, while the female labor elasticity of the market hours supply increases from unity to infinity.
    Keywords: family labor supply,home production,aggregation
    JEL: E1 J22
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Costa-Font, J.; Jofre-Bonet, M.
    Abstract: Parental influences on children health related behaviours are argued to be gender assortative (e.g., that maternal behaviour is more important for daughters), but research devoted to disentangling such effects is still at its infancy. We take advantage of a unique dataset (Health Survey for England) containing records of clinically measured weight and height for a representative sample of English children and their parents for the period 1996-2009. We examine the magnitude and change of the association between maternal and paternal overweight and that of their offspring by gender, alongside the combined parental effect. We aim at identifying the existence and the magnitude of a gender-assortative transmission of overweight after controlling for a long list of covariates, including time and survey-wave fixed effects. Our findings point out that the intergenerational transmission is most significant when both parents are obese or overweight, and the effects size increases with child age 0.7 percentage point among infants to 1.3-1.4 percentage points among schooled children and teenagers. However, we find weak evidence of a specific maternal effect on girls’ overweight, and more generally gender assortative intergenerational transmission of overweight and obesity.
    Keywords: Gender Assortative Parental Transmission; child obesity; child overweight; role models; inter-generational transmission;
    Date: 2016–06
  6. By: Dustmann, Christian (University College London); Fasani, Francesco (Queen Mary, University of London); Speciale, Biagio (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: We analyze the effect of immigrants' legal status on their consumption behavior using unique survey data that samples both documented and undocumented immigrants. To address the problem of sorting into legal status, we propose two alternative identification strategies as exogenous source of variation for current legal status: First, transitory income shocks in the home country, measured as rainfall shocks at the time of emigration. Second, amnesty quotas that grant legal residence status to undocumented immigrants. Both sources of variation create a strong first stage, and – although very different in nature – lead to similar estimates of the effects of illegal status on consumption, with undocumented immigrants consuming about 40% less than documented immigrants, conditional on background characteristics. Roughly one quarter of this decrease is explained by undocumented immigrants having lower incomes than documented immigrants. Our findings imply that legalization programs may have a potentially important effect on immigrants' consumption behavior, with consequences for both the source and host countries.
    Keywords: consumption behavior, weather shocks, legal status
    JEL: F22 D12 K42
    Date: 2016–06

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