nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2017‒05‒28
eight papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
ifo Institut

  1. Parental Work Hours and Childhood Obesity: Evidence using Instrumental Variables Related to Sibling School Eligibility By Charles Courtemanche; Rusty Tchernis; Xilin Zhou
  2. Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes By Natalia Danzer; Martin Halla; Nicole Schneeweis; Martina Zweimüller
  3. Gender Differences in the Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program By García, Jorge Luis; Heckman, James J.; Ziff, Anna
  4. Evaluation of the Reggio Approach to Early Education By Biroli, Pietro; Del Boca, Daniela; Heckman, James; Koh, Yu Kyung; Kuperman, Sylvi; Moktan, Sidhardth; Pettler Heckman, Lynne; Pronzato, Chiara; Ziff, Anna
  5. The Dynamics of Gender Earnings Differentials: Evidence from Establishment Data By Erling Barth; Sari Pekkala Kerr; Claudia Olivetti
  6. The Effects of Youth Labor Market Reforms: Evidence from Italian Apprenticeships By Albanese, Andrea; Cappellari, Lorenzo; Leonardi, Marco
  7. Career dynamics and gender gaps among employees in the microfinance sector By Ina Ganguli; Ricardo Hausmann; Martina Viarengo
  8. How Do Peers Impact Learning? An Experimental Investigation of Peer-to-Peer Teaching and Ability Tracking By Erik O. Kimbrough; Andrew D. McGee; Hitoshi Shigeoka

  1. By: Charles Courtemanche; Rusty Tchernis; Xilin Zhou
    Abstract: This study exploits plausibly exogenous variation from the youngest sibling’s school eligibility to estimate the effects of parental work on the weight outcomes of older children in the household. Data come from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth linked to the Child and Young Adult Supplement. We first show that mothers’ work hours increase gradually as the age of the youngest child rises, whereas mothers’ spouses’ work hours exhibit a discontinuous jump at kindergarten eligibility. Leveraging these insights, we develop an instrumental variables model that shows that parents’ work hours lead to larger increases in children’s BMI z-scores and probabilities of being overweight and obese than those identified in previous studies. We find no evidence that the impacts of maternal and paternal work are different. Subsample analyses find that the effects are concentrated among advantaged households, as measured by an index involving education, race, and mother’s marital status.
    JEL: I12 J22
    Date: 2017–05
  2. By: Natalia Danzer; Martin Halla; Nicole Schneeweis; Martina Zweimüller
    Abstract: We provide a novel interpretation of the estimated treatment effects from evaluations of parental leave reforms. Accounting for the counterfactual mode of care is crucial in the analysis of child outcomes and potential mediators. We evaluate a large and generous parental leave extension in Austria exploiting a sharp birthday cutoff-based discontinuity in the eligibility for extended parental leave and geographical variation in formal childcare. We find that estimated treatment effects on long-term child outcomes differ substantially according to the availability of formal childcare and the mother's counterfactual work behavior. We show that extending parental leave has significant positive effects on children's health and human capital outcomes only if the reform induces a replacement of informal childcare with maternal care. We conclude that care provided by mothers (or formal institutions) is superior to informal care-arrangements.
    Keywords: Parental leave, formal childcare, informal childcare, child development, mater- nal labor supply, fertility
    JEL: J13 H52 J22 J12 I38
    Date: 2017–05
  3. By: García, Jorge Luis (University of Chicago); Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Ziff, Anna (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper estimates gender differences in life-cycle impacts across multiple domains of an influential enriched early childhood program targeted toward disadvantaged children that was evaluated by the method of random assignment. We assess the impacts of the program on promoting or alleviating population differences in outcomes by gender. For many outcomes, boys benefit relatively more from high-quality center childcare programs compared to low-quality programs. For them, home care, even in disadvantaged environments, is more beneficial than lower-quality center childcare for many outcomes. This phenomenon is not found for girls. We investigate the sources of the gender differentials in impacts.
    Keywords: gender differences, childcare, early childhood education, health, randomized trials, substitution bias
    JEL: J13 I28 C93
    Date: 2017–05
  4. By: Biroli, Pietro; Del Boca, Daniela; Heckman, James; Koh, Yu Kyung; Kuperman, Sylvi; Moktan, Sidhardth; Pettler Heckman, Lynne; Pronzato, Chiara; Ziff, Anna
    Abstract: We evaluate the Reggio Approach using non-experimental data on individuals from the cities of Reggio Emilia, Parma and Padova belonging to one of five age cohorts: ages 50, 40, 30, 18, and 6 as of 2012. The treated were exposed to municipally offered infant-toddler (ages 0-3) and preschool (ages 3-6) programs. The control group either did not receive formal childcare or were exposed to programs offered by the state or religious systems. We exploit the city-cohort structure of the data to estimate treatment effects using three strategies: difference-in-differences,matching, and matched-difference-in-differences. Most positive and significant effects are generated from comparisons of the treated with individuals who did not receive formal childcare. Relative to not receiving formal care, the Reggio Approach significantly boosts outcomes related to employment, socio-emotional skills, high school graduation, election participation, and obesity. Comparisons with individuals exposed to alternative forms of childcare do not yield strong patterns of positive and significant effects. This suggests that differences between the Reggio Approach and other alternatives are not sufficiently large to result in significant differences in outcomes. This interpretation is supported by our survey, which documents increasing similarities in the administrative and pedagogical practices of childcare systems in the three cities over time.
    Keywords: childcare; early childhood education; evaluation; Italian education; Reggio approach
    JEL: I21 I26 I28 J13
    Date: 2017–05
  5. By: Erling Barth; Sari Pekkala Kerr; Claudia Olivetti
    Abstract: We use a unique match between the 2000 Decennial Census of the United States and the Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics (LEHD) data to analyze how much of the increase in the gender earnings gap over the lifecycle comes from shifts in the sorting of men and women across high- and low-pay establishments and how much is due to differential earnings growth within establishments. We find that for the college educated the increase is substantial and, for the most part, due to differential earnings growth within establishment by gender. The between component is also important. Differential mobility between establishments by gender can explain 27 percent of the widening of the pay gap for this group. For those with no college, the, relatively small, increase of the gender gap over the lifecycle can be fully explained by differential moves by gender across establishments. The evidence suggests that, for both education groups, the between-establishment component of the increasing wage gap is due almost entirely to those who are married.
    JEL: J16 J31
    Date: 2017–05
  6. By: Albanese, Andrea (Ghent University); Cappellari, Lorenzo (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Leonardi, Marco (University of Milan)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the causal effects of the 2003 reform of the Italian apprenticeship contract which aimed at introducing the "dual system" in Italy by allowing on-the-job training. The reform also increased the age eligibility of the apprenticeship contract and introduced a minimum floor to apprentices' wages. Using administrative data and balancing techniques we find that five years after hiring, the new contract improves the chances of moving to a permanent job in the same firm, yet this happens mostly in large firms. There are also sizeable long-run wage effects of the reform, well beyond the legal duration of apprenticeships, compatible with increased human capital accumulation probably due to the training provisions of the reform.
    Keywords: apprenticeship, permanent work, youth employment, covariate balancing, propensity score
    JEL: J24 J41 C21
    Date: 2017–05
  7. By: Ina Ganguli; Ricardo Hausmann; Martina Viarengo
    Abstract: While microfinance institutions (MFIs) are increasingly important as employers in the eveloping world, there is little micro-level evidence on gender differences among MFI employees nd MFIs’ relation to economic development. We use a unique panel dataset of employees from atin America’s largest MFI to show that gender gaps favouring men for promotion exist primarily n the sales division, while there is a significant gender wage gap in the administrative division. mong loan officers in the sales division, the gender gap in promotion and wages reverses. Finally, emale employees tend to work with clients with better loan terms and a history of loans with the nstitution.
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Erik O. Kimbrough (Simon Fraser University); Andrew D. McGee (University of Alberta); Hitoshi Shigeoka (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: Classroom peers are believed to influence learning by teaching each other, and the efficacy of this teaching likely depends on classroom composition in terms of peers’ ability. Unfortunately, little is known about peer-to-peer teaching because it is never observed in field studies. Furthermore, identifying how peer-to-peer teaching is affected by ability tracking—grouping students of similar ability—is complicated by the fact that tracking is typically accompanied by changes in curriculum and the instructional behavior of teachers. To fill this gap, we conduct a laboratory experiment in which subjects learn to solve logic problems and examine both the importance of peer-to-peer teaching and the interaction between peer-to-peer teaching and ability tracking. While peer-to-peer teaching improves learning among low-ability subjects, the positive effects are substantially offset by tracking. Tracking reduces the frequency of peer-to-peer teaching, suggesting that low-ability subjects suffer from the absence of high-ability peers to teach them.
    Keywords: Peer-to-peer Teaching, Ability Tracking, Peer Effects, Group Composition, Education and Inequality, Laboratory Experiment
    JEL: H32 H26 K42
    Date: 2017–05

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