nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2017‒10‒01
six papers chosen by
Michele Battisti
ifo Institut

  1. Teenage Daughters as a Cause of Divorce By Jan Kabátek; David C. Ribar
  2. Sibling Gender Composition and Women's Wages By Cools, Angela; Patacchini, Eleonora
  3. The Effect of Fertility on Mothers’ Labor Supply over the Last Two Centuries By Dehejia, Rajeev; Dehejia, Rajeev; Jordan, Andrew; Pop-Eleches, Cristian; Samii, Cyrus; Schulze, Karl
  4. Is There Still Son Preference in the United States? By Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn; Peter Brummund; Jason Cook; Miriam Larson-Koester
  5. The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills on Migration Decisions By Bütikofer, Aline; Peri, Giovanni
  6. Grandmothers' labor supply By Frimmel, Wolfgang; Halla, Martin; Schmidpeter, Bernhard; Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

  1. By: Jan Kabátek (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne; ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course; IZA Institute of Labor Economists; CentER, Tilburg University; and Netspar); David C. Ribar (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne; ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course; IZA Institute of Labor Economists)
    Abstract: Evidence from the U.S. that couples with daughters are more likely to divorce than couples with sons has not been found for other Western countries. Using 1995-2015 Dutch marriage registry data, we show that daughters are associated with higher divorce risks, but only when they are 13 to 18 years old. There are no detectable gender differences before or after those ages. These age-specific findings are at odds with son-preference and selection explanations for differences in divorce risks. Instead, the findings point to explanations which involve family relationship dynamics associated with teenage sons and daughters. We find supporting evidence of relationship explanations in supplemental analyses of Dutch survey data. We also find that teenage daughters are associated with higher divorce in the U.S. in analyses of the Current Population Survey Marriage and Fertility Supplements.
    Keywords: Marriage, divorce, gender, son preference, Netherlands, registry data
    JEL: J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2017–09
  2. By: Cools, Angela (Cornell University); Patacchini, Eleonora (Cornell University)
    Abstract: We examine the impact of sibling gender composition on women's adult earnings. Using data from Add Health, we find that women with any brothers earn roughly 10 percent less than women with no brothers in their late 20s and early 30s. This effect is primarily due to lower earnings within broadly defined education and occupation groups. We then explore mechanisms that may explain this result. We do not find strong evidence that differences in parental investment, cognitive ability, self-reported personality traits, or parental expectations drive our results. However, we find that more family-centered behavior (including family responsibilities, being in a committed relationship, and intention to have children) among those with brothers partially explains the result. We then confirm our results with data from the NLSY-CYA.
    Keywords: sibling sex composition, gender gap, gender roles, earnings
    JEL: J12 J13 J16 J31
    Date: 2017–09
  3. By: Dehejia, Rajeev (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago); Dehejia, Rajeev (New York University); Jordan, Andrew (University of Chicago); Pop-Eleches, Cristian (Columbia University); Samii, Cyrus (New York University); Schulze, Karl (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper documents the evolving impact of childbearing on the work activity of mothers. Based on a compiled dataset of 441 censuses and surveys between 1787 and 2015, representing 103 countries and 48.4 million mothers, we document three main findings: (1) the effect of fertility on labor supply is small and typically indistinguishable from zero at low levels of development and economically large and negative at higher levels of development; (2) this negative gradient is remarkably consistent across histories of currently developed countries and contemporary cross-sections of countries; and (3) the results are strikingly robust to identification strategies, model specification, data construction, and rescaling. We explain our results within a standard labor-leisure model and attribute the negative labor supply gradient to changes in the sectoral and occupational structure of female jobs as countries develop.
    Keywords: Twins; instrumental variables; development; economic history; fertility; labor supply
    JEL: J00 J13 N00
    Date: 2017–09–17
  4. By: Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn; Peter Brummund; Jason Cook; Miriam Larson-Koester
    Abstract: In this paper, we use 2008-2013 American Community Survey data to update and further probe Dahl and Moretti’s (2008) son preference results, which found evidence that having a female first child increased the probability of single female headship and raised fertility. In light of the substantial increase in immigration, we examine this question separately for immigrants and natives. Among the population in the aggregate, as well as among the native-born separately, consistent with Dahl and Moretti (2008), we find that having a female first child raises the likelihood that the mother is a single parent. However, in sharp contrast to Dahl and Moretti (2008), we find that having a female first child is actually associated with lower fertility. Thus, by the 2008-2013 period, any apparent son preference among natives in their fertility decisions appears to be outweighed by factors such as cost concerns in raising girls. This change may be plausible in light of the reversal of the gender gap in college attendance beginning in the 1980s (Goldin, Katz and Kuziemko 2006), making girls more costly. For immigrants, we also find evidence that having a female first child contributes to female headship, with an effect that has the same magnitude as that for natives although is not statistically significant. However, in contrast to natives, we do find a positive fertility effect, suggesting son preference in fertility among this group. This interpretation is further supported by evidence that, for both first and second generation immigrants (second generation immigrants were examined using the Current Population Surveys) having a girl has a more positive effect on fertility for those whose source countries have lower values of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equity Index, or lower female labor force participation rates and higher sex (boy-to-girl) ratios among births. We also examine sex selection and find no evidence that sex selection has spread beyond the race groups identified in previous work (e.g., Almond and Edlund 2008).
    JEL: J1 J11 J12 J13 J15 J16
    Date: 2017–09
  5. By: Bütikofer, Aline (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Peri, Giovanni (UC Davis)
    Abstract: There is growing evidence that cognitive and noncognitive skills affect the economic and social outcomes of individuals. In this paper, we analyze how they affect the migration decisions of individuals during their lifetimes. We use data that combine military enlistment and administrative records for the male population born in 1932 and 1933 in Norway. Records of interviews with a psychologist at age 18 allow us to construct an index of `sociability' and `adaptability' for each individual, as well as an index of cognitive ability, the intelligence quotient. We find that adaptability and cognitive ability have significant and positive impacts on the probability of an individual migrating out of his area, whether this involves rural{urban, long distance, or international migration. Adaptability has a particularly strong impact on migration for individuals with low cognitive skills, implying a strong positive selection of less educated migrants with respect to the (previously unobserved) adaptability skill. We also show that cognitive skills have a strong positive effect on the pre- and post-migration wage differential, whereas adaptability has no significant effect. Moreover, individuals with high cognitive ability migrate to areas with large wage returns to cognitive abilities, whereas this is not true for individuals with high adaptability. This evidence suggests that adaptability reduces the psychological cost of migrating, whereas cognitive skills increase the monetary returns associated with migration.
    Keywords: Noncognitive Skills; Mobility Costs; Returns to Migration
    JEL: J24 J61 R23
    Date: 2017–09–19
  6. By: Frimmel, Wolfgang; Halla, Martin; Schmidpeter, Bernhard; Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf
    Abstract: The labor supply effects of becoming a grandmother are not well established in the empirical literature. We estimate the effect of becoming a grandmother on the labor supply decision of older workers. Under the assumption that grandmothers cannot predict the exact date of conception of their grandchild, we identify the effect of the first grandchild on employment (extensive margin). Our Timing-of-Events approach shows that having a first grandchild increases the probability of leaving prematurely the labor market. This effect is stronger when informal child care is more valuable to the mother. To estimate the effect of an additional grandchild (intensive margin), we assume that the incidence of a twin birth among the second generation is not correlated with unobserved determinants of the grandmother's labor supply (first generation). Our respective 2SLS estimation shows a significant effect of further grandchildren. Our results highlight the important in uence of the extended family on the decisions of older workers and point to mediating effects of different institutional settings.
    Date: 2017–09–20

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