nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2018‒04‒30
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

  1. Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women By Bertrand, Marianne; Cortes, Patricia; Olivetti, Claudia; Pan, Jessica
  2. The Impact of a Permanent Income Shock on the Situation of Women in the Household: the case of a pension reform in Argentina By Inés Berniell; Dolores de la Mata; Matilde Pinto Machado
  3. Crisis at Home: Mancession-induced Change in Intrahousehold Distribution By Olivier Bargain; Laurine Martinoty
  4. Point Estimates of Household Bargaining Power Using Outside Options By Klein, Matthew J.; Barham, Bradford L.
  5. On the Quantity and Quality of Girls: Fertility, Parental Investments, and Mortality By S Anukriti; Sonia Bhalotra; Hiu Tam

  1. By: Bertrand, Marianne (University of Chicago); Cortes, Patricia (Boston University); Olivetti, Claudia (Boston College); Pan, Jessica (National University of Singapore)
    Abstract: In most of the developed world, skilled women marry at a lower rate than unskilled women. We document heterogeneity across countries in how the marriage gap for skilled women has evolved over time. As labor market opportunities for women have improved, the marriage gap has been growing in some countries but shrinking in others. We discuss the comparative statics of a theoretical model in which the (negative) social attitudes toward working women might contribute to the lower marriage rate of skilled women, and might also induce a non-monotonic relationship between their labor market prospects and their marriage outcomes. The model delivers predictions about how the marriage gap for skilled women should react to changes in their labor market opportunities across economies with more or less conservative attitudes toward working women. We verify the key predictions of this model in a panel of 26 developed countries, as well as in a panel of US states.
    Keywords: social norms, marriage gap, labor market opportunities
    JEL: J12 J16
    Date: 2018–03
  2. By: Inés Berniell (CEDLAS-UNLP); Dolores de la Mata (CAF); Matilde Pinto Machado (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: Income transfers from social programs are often not gender neutral and should, according to the vast literature on intra-household decision making and allocation, affect the distribution of bargaining power within the household. This result, however, was by and large established under the assumption of marriage stability. If this assumption does not hold, then the positive response of bargaining power to income found in the empirical research may be the artefact of sample selection. One may postulate, however, that when restricted to certain groups in the population, such as seniors, the assumption may hold since their probability of divorce is close to zero. In this paper we prove that the assumption is wrong, even when applied to seniors. We use a non-contributory pension reform in Argentina, that resulted in an unexpected and substantial increase in permanent income for around 1.8 million women, to study its effects on outcomes related to both marital stability and women’s bargaining power within the household. We find that the reform increased the probability of divorce/separation among senior highly educated women but had no impact on the low-educated. Instead, the latter gained considerable bargaining power within the household by decreasing the probability of being the only one in charge of household chores in tandem with an increase in their husbands’ participation in these chores.
    JEL: J12 J16 J26 H55
    Date: 2017–11
  3. By: Olivier Bargain (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales); Laurine Martinoty (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: The Great Recessions was essentially a 'mancession' in countries like Spain, the UK or the US, i.e. it hit men harder than women for they were disproportionately represented in heavily affected sectors. We investigate how the mancession, and more generally women's relative opportunities on the labor market, translate into within-household redistribution. Precisely, we estimate the spouses' resource shares in a collective model of consumption, using Spanish data over 2006-2011. We exploit the gender-oriented evolution of the economic environment to test two original distribution factors: first the regional-time variation in spouses' relative unemployment risks, then the gender-differentiated shock in the construction sector (having a construction sector husband after the outburst of the crisis). Both approaches conclude that the resource share accruing to Spanish wives increased by around 7-9 percent on average, following the improvement of their relative labor market positions. Among childless couples, we document a 5-11 percent decline in individual consumption inequality following the crisis, which is essentially due to intrahousehold redistribution.
    Keywords: mancession,intrahousehold allocation,unemployment risk
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Klein, Matthew J. (University of Wisconsin); Barham, Bradford L. (University of Wisconsin)
    Abstract: We propose measuring household bargaining power with partners' relative outside options. Our estimate of outside options is the sum of predicted earnings and observed unearned income. This estimation approach allows researchers to generate level estimates of bargaining power for each household, and in each period or state of the world, without making assumptions about utility functional forms. Instead, the main assumption we make is on the functional relationship between bargaining power and outside options. Our primary contribution is to provide researchers with a new measurement option that complements the existing suite of techniques. Paired with the contemporary household models presented in Chiappori and Mazzocco (2017), this new measurement approach opens the door to new analyses of household bargaining. After developing the measure, we present an application that demonstrates the nature of questions that can be answered with our approach. We present the first causal evidence on important outstanding policy questions: the extent to which the Government of Mexico's Progresa empowered women, and the subsequent impact of that empowerment on diet. We estimate that Progresa increased women's bargaining power by 35% from 1998 to 1999. We find that this empowerment caused a 10% increase in household demand for fruits and vegetables and an 8% increase in demand for animal products. We show that the marginal effect of power on diet has an inverse-U shape, with household nutritional attainment maximized when partners are relatively equal, and that this marginal effect is an increasing function of household income.
    JEL: D13 I15 I38
    Date: 2018–03
  5. By: S Anukriti (Boston College; IZA); Sonia Bhalotra (University of Essex); Hiu Tam (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: The introduction of prenatal sex-detection technologies in India has led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. We examine fertility and investment responses to these technologies. We find a moderation of son-biased fertility stopping, erosion of gender gaps in parental investments in breastfeeding and immunization, and convergence in the under-5 mor- tality rates of boys and girls. For every three aborted girls, roughly one additional girl survives to age five. We also find a shift in the distribution of girls in favor of low-socioeconomic status families. Our findings have implications not only for counts of missing girls but also for the later life outcomes of girls conditioned by greater early life investments in them.
    Keywords: abortion, child mortality, fertility, gender, health, India, missing girls, parental investments, prenatal sex detection, sex-selection, ultrasound
    JEL: I15 J13 J16
    Date: 2018–01–15

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