nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2018‒09‒10
three papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

  1. Fertility and Labor Market Responses to Reductions in Mortality By Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Venkataramani, Atheendar; Walther, Selma
  2. The Politics of Aging and Retirement: Evidence from Swiss Referenda By Piera Bello; Vincenzo Galasso
  3. Violent Conflict and the Child Quantity-Quality Tradeoff By Nepal, Apsara Karki; Halla, Martin; Stillman, Steven

  1. By: Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Essex); Venkataramani, Atheendar (Massachusetts General Hospital); Walther, Selma (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We investigate women's fertility, labor and marriage market responses to large declines in child and maternal mortality that occurred following a major medical innovation in the US. In response to the decline in child mortality, women delayed childbearing and had fewer children overall. Fewer women had three or more children, and a larger share remained childless. We present a new theory of the extensive margin response, premised upon improvements in child survival reducing the time women need to achieve their target number of children. This prompts fertility delay and labor market entry which, coupled with wage or fecundity shocks, can result in childlessness. Consistent with these predictions, we find that reductions in child mortality increased women's labor force participation, improved their occupational status and reduced their chances of ever having married. Maternal mortality decline had opposing effects on all of these outcomes.
    Keywords: women's labor force participation, fertility timing, childlessness, child mortality, maternal mortality, medical innovation
    JEL: J13 I18
    Date: 2018–07
  2. By: Piera Bello; Vincenzo Galasso
    Abstract: Aging creates financial troubles for PAYG pension systems, since the share of retirees to workers increases. An often advocated policy response is to increase retirement age. Ironically, however, the political support for this policy may actually be hindered by population aging. Using Swiss administrative voting data at municipal level (and individual survey data) from pension reforms referenda, we show in fact that individuals close to retirement tend to oppose policies that postpone retirement, whereas young and elderly individuals are more favorable. The current process of population aging, and the associated increase in the size of the cohort of individuals close to retirement, may partially explain why a pension reform, which increased retirement age for females, was approved in two referenda in 1995 and 1998, while a reform, which proposed a similar increase in female retirement age, was defeated in a 2017 referendum.
    Keywords: social security reforms, voting behavior, retirement age
    JEL: H55 D72 J18
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Nepal, Apsara Karki (International Center for Integrated Mountain Development); Halla, Martin (University of Linz); Stillman, Steven (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)
    Abstract: We show that the exposure to war-related violence increases the quantity of children temporarily, with permanent negative consequences for the quality of the current and previous cohort of children. Our empirical evidence is based on Nepal, which experienced a ten year long civil conflict of varying intensity. Our difference-in-differences analysis shows that women in villages affected by civil conflict increased their actual and desired fertility during the conflict by 22 percent, while child height-for-age declined by 11 to 13 percent. Supporting evidence suggests that the temporary fertility increase was the main pathway leading to reduced child height, as opposed to direct impacts of the conflict. This likely occurred because there were more mouths to feed in these households.
    Keywords: conflict, violence, quantity-quality model of fertility, height-for-age, Nepal
    JEL: D74 H56 J13 O10
    Date: 2018–07

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