nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2017‒10‒08
nine papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

  1. Childbearing Postponement, its Option Value, and the Biological Clock By David de la Croix; Aude Pommeret
  2. Parental Leave, (In)formal Childcare and Long-term Child Outcomes By Danzer, Natalia; Halla, Martin; Schneeweis, Nicole; Zweimüller, Martina
  3. Does early child care attendance influence children's cognitive and non-cognitive skill development? By Kuehnle, Daniel; Oberfichtner, Michael
  4. Early Life Health Interventions and Childhood Development: Evidence from Special Care Nursery Assignment in Australia’s Northern Territory By Schnepel, Kevin T.; Schurer, Stefanie
  5. Less is More? The child quantity-quality trade-off in early 20th century England and Wales By Fernihough, Alan
  6. Fertility and Economic Development: Quantile Regression Evidence on the Inverse J-shaped Pattern By Maricruz Lacalle-Calderon; Manuel Perez-Trujillo; Isabel Neira
  7. Do savings increase in response to salient information about retirement and expected pensions? By Stichnoth, Holger; Dolls, Mathias; Dörrenberg, Philipp; Peichl, Andreas
  8. Do People Avoid Morally Relevant Information? Evidence from the Refugee Crisis By Freddi, Eleonora
  9. Distributional National Accounts (DINA) Guidelines : Concepts and Methods used in By Facundo Alvaredo; Anthony Atkinson; Lucas Chancel; Thomas Piketty; Emmanuel Saez; Gabriel Zucman

  1. By: David de la Croix (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Aude Pommeret (SEE, City University of Hong Kong and IREGE Université Savoie Mont Blanc)
    Abstract: Having children is like investing in a risky project. Postponing birth is like delaying an irreversible investment. It has an option value, which depends on its costs and benefits, and in particular on the additional risks motherhood brings. We develop a parsimonious theory of childbearing postponement along these lines. We derive its implications for asset accumulation, income, optimal age at first birth, and childlessness. The structural parameters are estimated by matching the predictions of the model to data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth NLSY79. The uncertainty surrounding income growth is shown to increase with childbearing, and this increase is stronger for more educated people. This effect alone can explain why the age at first birth and the childlessness rate both increase with education. We use the model to simulate two hypothetical policies. Providing free medically assisted reproduction technology does not affect the age at first birth much, but lowers the childlessness rate. Insuring mothers against income risk is powerful in lowering the age at first birth.
    Keywords: Childlessness, Late parenthood, Real option, Career uncertainty, Assisted reproduction technology
    JEL: J13 D91
    Date: 2017–10–01
  2. By: Danzer, Natalia; Halla, Martin; Schneeweis, Nicole; Zweimüller, Martina
    Abstract: There is a strong debate about who should provide care to young children. Governments offer two alternative types of institutions: formal childcare and parental leave. We assess the effectiveness of these two competing institutions in promoting child development by comparing how a major parental leave extension from one to two years affected Austrian children's long-term outcomes in communities with and without formal childcare facilities for under-3-year-olds. Empirical identification of treatment effects is based on a sharp birthday cutoff-based discontinuity in the eligibility for extended parental leave and geographical variation in formal childcare. We find evidence that the counterfactual mode of care is decisive. If formal childcare is available, the reform induced a replacement of formal childcare by maternal care and had zero (or negative effects) on child outcomes. Whereas if formal childcare is not available, informal childcare was replaced by maternal care, and the reform improved child outcomes. This heterogeneity is driven by the additional time with the mother in the second year of the child's life and not by a change in maternal income. 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,maternal labor supply,fertility
    JEL: J13 H52 J22 J12 I38
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Kuehnle, Daniel; Oberfichtner, Michael
    Abstract: While recent studies mostly find that attending child care earlier improves the skills of children from low socio-economic and non-native backgrounds in the short-run, it remains unclear whether such positive effects persist. We identify the short- and medium-run effects of early child care attendance in Germany using a fuzzy discontinuity in child care starting age between December and January. This discontinuity arises as children typically start formal child care in the summer of the calendar year in which they turn three. Combining rich German survey and administrative data, we follow one cohort from age five to 15 and examine standardised cognitive test scores, non-cognitive skill measures, and school track choice. We find no evidence that starting child care earlier affects children's outcomes in the short- or medium-run. Our precise estimates rule out large effects for children whose parents have a strong preference for sending them to early child care.
    Keywords: child care,child development,skill formation,cognitive skills,non-cognitive skills,fuzzy regression discontinuity
    JEL: J13 I21 I38
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Schnepel, Kevin T.; Schurer, Stefanie
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of improved early-life health care, through assignment to a special care nursery (SCN), on childhood development and school achievement. We use linked administrative data in the Northern Territory of Australia and exploit the fact that assignment to SCN is largely based on rules of thumb involving low birth weight thresholds. We find large positive effects of SCN assignment on development at age five and some persistent improvements in test scores. Our results suggest that costly early-life health interventions, that are shown to increase survival probabilities of children in the short run, can also substantially boost cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
    Keywords: Early-life health treatments,special care nurseries,school achievements,noncognitive skills,school readiness
    JEL: J13 I14 I18 I24
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Fernihough, Alan
    Abstract: Whilst the child quantity-quality (QQ) model is theoretically well-established, the empirical literature offers only partial support. Motivated by the limited causal empirical evidence in both historic and contemporary societies, this study examines the relationship connecting fertility and child quality for individual families in England and Wales at the start of the 20th century. Using data from the 1911 census returns, I estimate whether reductions in family size reduce the probability of leaving school. To account for the endogenous nature of fertility decisions, I use the sex composition of the first two births in families with at least two children as an instrumental variable (IV) for family size. Overall, I find evidence in support of a child QQ effect, as children in the 13-15 age cohort born into smaller families were more likely remain in school. Whilst the IV results are very similar to the non-IV ones, one drawback is that the IV estimates are quite imprecise.
    Keywords: Quantity-Quality,Human Capital,Demographic Transition
    JEL: J10 N3 O10
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Maricruz Lacalle-Calderon (Department of Economics and Economic Development, School of Economics and Business, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); Manuel Perez-Trujillo (Department of Economics and Instituto de Economía Aplicada Regional (IDEAR), Universidad Católica del Norte); Isabel Neira (Econometrics Department, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela)
    Abstract: This paper analyses empirically the relationship between economic development and fertility. Through a new sample selection and quantile regression, it investigates whether there is an inverse J-shaped pattern between these two variables, and, if so, whether it depends on development and fertility levels. Our results confirm that the inverse J-shaped pattern exists, but only when a certain level of economic development is attained. Results also suggest an innovative finding: the J-shape depends not only on the development but also on the fertility level. The higher the fertility rate, the higher the GDP per capita needed to reverse fertility decline, and the faster the negative and positive segments of the J-shape fall and grow.
    Keywords: J-shaped pattern, Fertility rate, Economic development, Quantile regression
    JEL: C21 J11 J13
  7. By: Stichnoth, Holger; Dolls, Mathias; Dörrenberg, Philipp; Peichl, Andreas
    Abstract: How can retirement savings be increased? We explore a unique policy change in the context of the German pension system to study this question. In 2004, pension authorities started to send out annual letters providing information about the pension system and expected pension payments. Using German tax return data, we exploit two discontinuities in the age cutoffs of receiving such a letter to study their effects on private retirement savings.
    JEL: H55 H24 J26 D14
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Freddi, Eleonora (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: Combining click data from a Swedish newspaper and administrative data on asylum seekers in Sweden, I examine whether a larger presence of refugees in a municipality induces people to avoid news that may encourage welcoming the newcomers. Exploiting the unexpected inflow of refugees to Sweden during 2015 and their exogenous allocation across Swedish municipalities, I find that people living in municipalities where the relative number of refugees has been larger read fewer articles about asylum seekers. I then identify articles that may raise feelings of compassion towards the refugees. The decrease in information acquisition is 36 larger for such empathic articles.
    Keywords: information avoidance; refugee crisis; motivated beliefs; click data
    JEL: A13 D64 D83 J15 L82
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Facundo Alvaredo (Paris School of Economics); Anthony Atkinson (Oxford University); Lucas Chancel (Paris School of Economics); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Emmanuel Saez (University of California at Berkeley); Gabriel Zucman (University of California at Berkeley)
    Date: 2016–12

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