nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2016‒08‒14
eight papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
ifo Institut

  1. Bride Price and Female Education By Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
  2. Gender Differences in Cooperative Environments? Evidence from the U.S. Congress By Stefano Gagliarducci; M. Daniele Paserman
  3. Is poor sanitation killing more children in rural Zimbabwe? Results of propensity score matching method By Makate, Marshall; Makate, Clifton
  4. Does Rosie Like Riveting? Male and Female Occupational Choices By Grace Lordan; Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  5. Consumption during the Great Recession in Italy By Martina Celidoni; Michele De Nadai; Guglielmo Weber
  6. Increasing the credibility of the Twin birth instrument By Farbmacher, Helmut; Guber, Raphael; Vikström, Johan
  7. Experimenting with Entrepreneurship: The Effect of Job-Protected Leave By Joshua D. Gottlieb; Richard R. Townsend; Ting Xu
  8. Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments By Lergetporer, Philipp; Schwerdt, Guido; Werner, Katharina; Woessmann, Ludger

  1. By: Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: Traditional cultural practices can play an important role in development, but can also inspire condemnation. The custom of bride price, prevalent throughout sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia as a payment by the groom to the family of the bride, is one example. In this paper, we show a perhaps surprising economic consequence of this practice. We revisit one of the best-studied historical development projects, the INPRES school construction program in Indonesia, and show that previously found small effects on female enrollment mask heterogeneity by bride price tradition. Ethnic groups that traditionally engage in bride price payments at marriage increased female enrollment in response to the program. Within these ethnic groups, higher female education at marriage is associated with a higher bride price payment received, providing a greater incentive for parents to invest in girls' education and take advantage of the increased supply of schools. However, we see no increase in education following school construction for girls from ethnicities without a bride price tradition. We replicate these findings in Zambia, where we exploit a similar school expansion program that took place in the early 2000s. While there may be significant downsides to a bride price tradition, our results suggest that any change to this cultural custom should likely be considered alongside additional policies to promote female education.
    JEL: I21 I25 O53 O55 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2016–07
  2. By: Stefano Gagliarducci; M. Daniele Paserman
    Abstract: This paper uses data on bill sponsorship and cosponsorship in the U.S. House of Representatives to estimate gender differences in cooperative behavior. We employ a number of econometric methodologies to address the potential selection of female representatives into electoral districts with distinct preferences for cooperativeness, including regression discontinuity and matching. After accounting for selection, we find that among Democrats there is no significant gender gap in the number of cosponsors recruited, but women-sponsored bills tend to have fewer cosponsors from the opposite party. On the other hand, we find robust evidence that Republican women recruit more cosponsors and attract more bipartisan support on the bills that they sponsor. This is particularly true on bills that address issues more relevant for women, over which female Republicans have possibly preferences that are closer to those of Democrats. We interpret these results as evidence that cooperation is mostly driven by a commonality of interest, rather than gender per se.
    JEL: D70 D72 H50 J16 M50
    Date: 2016–08
  3. By: Makate, Marshall; Makate, Clifton
    Abstract: Abstract: While studies in developing countries have examined the role of maternal and socio-demographic factors on child mortality, the role of poor sanitation (open defecation) on child mortality outcomes in rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa has received less attention. This study sought to examine the link between poor sanitation and child mortality outcomes in rural Zimbabwe. The analysis uses data from four rounds of the nationally representative Demographic and Health Survey for Zimbabwe conducted in 1994, 1999, 2005/06, and 2010/11. Using propensity score matching, we find that children living in households with no toilet facilities are 2.43 percentage points more liable to be observed dead by the survey date, 1.3, and 2.24 percentage points more likely to die before reaching the age of one and five years respectively. We also examined the possible differences in survival among female and male children. Our results indicate that male children are more liable to be observed dead by the survey date than female children. Also, female children have a slight survival advantage over boys during the under-five period. Our results suggest the need for more investments in basic sanitary facilities in Zimbabwe’s rural areas to mitigate the potential devastating impacts of poor sanitation on child survival.
    Keywords: Keywords: Poor sanitation; propensity score matching; child mortality outcomes; Zimbabwe
    JEL: I14 I15 I18
    Date: 2016–06–10
  4. By: Grace Lordan; Jörn-Steffen Pischke
    Abstract: Occupational segregation and pay gaps by gender remain large while many of the constraints traditionally believed to be responsible for these gaps have weakened over time. Here, we explore the possibility that women and men have different tastes for the content of the work they do. We run regressions of job satisfaction on the share of males in an occupation. Overall, there is a strong negative relationship between female satisfaction and the share of males. This relationship is fairly stable across different specifications and contexts, and the magnitude of the association is not attenuated by personal characteristics or other occupation averages. Notably, the effect is muted for women but largely unchanged for men when we include three measures that proxy the content and context of the work in an occupation, which we label ‘people,’ ‘brains,’ and ‘brawn.’ These results suggest that women may care more about job content, and this is a possible factor preventing them from entering some male dominated professions. We continue to find a strong negative relationship between female satisfaction and the occupation level share of males in a separate analysis that includes share of males in the firm. This suggests that we are not just picking up differences in the work environment, although these seem to play an independent and important role as well.
    JEL: J16 J4
    Date: 2016–08
  5. By: Martina Celidoni (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Michele De Nadai (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Guglielmo Weber (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Padua)
    Abstract: We use Italian micro data to investigate how consumers reacted to the Great Recession. In particular, we study the age profiles of non-durable consumption, durable purchases and wealth over the 2008-2012 period for different year-of-birth cohorts, and how they departed from the way they would have been had consumer behavior been the same as it was over the 1995-2006 period. We find that consumption dropped most for younger households - only part of these drops can be explained by the increase in unemployment. We also investigate whether the crisis had an impact on the way consumers allocate their spending among broad consumption bundles. We find that the budget elasticity of the demand for food changed during the recession period, particularly among the young.
    Keywords: Great Recession, consumption
    Date: 2016–07–20
  6. By: Farbmacher, Helmut (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging, Max Planck Society); Guber, Raphael (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging, Max Planck Society); Vikström, Johan (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)
    Abstract: Twin births are an important instrumental variable for the endogenous fertility decision. However, in many economic settings, twins are not exogenous as dizygotic twinning is known to be correlated with maternal characteristics and fertility treatments. Following the medical literature, we assume that monozygotic twins are exogenous, and construct a new instrument, which corrects for the selection bias although monozygotic twinning is usually unobserved. We use longitudinal administrative data from Sweden and US census data and show that the usual twin instrument is not only related to observed but also to unobserved determinants of economic outcomes, while our new instrument is not. We demonstrate the relevance of our new instrument in two labor market applications and find that the classical twin instrument underestimates the true negative effect of fertility on labor force participation and earnings.
    Keywords: Twin birth instrument;
    JEL: C26 J13 J22
    Date: 2016–06–09
  7. By: Joshua D. Gottlieb; Richard R. Townsend; Ting Xu
    Abstract: Do potential entrepreneurs remain in wage employment because of the danger that they will face worse job opportunities should their entrepreneurial ventures fail? Using a Canadian reform that extended job-protected leave to one year for women giving birth after a cutoff date, we study whether the option to return to a previous job increases entrepreneurship. A regression discontinuity design reveals that longer job-protected leave increases entrepreneurship by 1.8 percentage points. The results are driven by more educated entrepreneurs, starting firms that survive at least five years and hire paid employees, in industries where experimentation is more valuable.
    JEL: H50 J13 J16 J65 J88 L26
    Date: 2016–07
  8. By: Lergetporer, Philipp (University of Munich); Schwerdt, Guido (University of Konstanz); Werner, Katharina (University of Munich); Woessmann, Ludger (University of Munich)
    Abstract: The electorates’ lack of information about the extent of public spending may cause misalignments between voters’ preferences and the size of government. We devise a series of representative survey experiments in Germany that randomly provide treatment groups with information on current spending levels. Results show that such information strongly reduces support for public spending in various domains from social security to defense. Data on prior information status on school spending and teacher salaries shows that treatment effects are strongest for those who initially underestimated spending levels, indicating genuine information effects rather than pure priming effects. Information on spending requirements also reduces support for specific education reforms. Preferences on spending across education levels are also malleable to information.
    Keywords: public spending, information, preferences, education spending, survey experiment JEL Classification: H11, D83, D72, H52, I22, P16
    Date: 2016

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