nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2018‒11‒05
four papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Pauvreté, Egalité, Mortalité: Mortality (In)Equality in France and the United States By Janet CURRIE; Hannes SCHWANDT; Josselin THUILLIEZ
  2. The Limits (and Human Costs) of Population Policy: Fertility Decline and Sex Selection in China under Mao By Kimberly Singer Babiarz; Paul Ma; Grant Miller; Shige Song
  3. China’s Selective Two-Child Policy and Its Impact on the Marriage Market By Lu, Di
  4. Can Economic Pressure Overcome Social Norms? The Case of Female Labor Force Participation By Cardoso, Ana Rute; Morin, Louis-Philippe

  1. By: Janet CURRIE (FERDI); Hannes SCHWANDT (FERDI); Josselin THUILLIEZ (CNRS-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: We develop a method to compare levels and trends in inequality in mortality in the United States and France in a similar framework. The comparison shows that while income inequality has increased in both the United States and France, inequality in mortality in France remained remarkably low and stable. In the United States, inequality in mortality increased for older groups (especially women) while it decreased for children and young adults. These patterns highlight the fact that despite the strong cross-sectional relationship between income and health, there is no necessary connection between changes in income inequality and changes in health inequality.
    Date: 2018–05
  2. By: Kimberly Singer Babiarz; Paul Ma; Grant Miller; Shige Song
    Abstract: The vast majority of China’s fertility decline predates the famous One Child Policy – and instead occurred under its predecessor, the Later, Longer, Fewer (LLF) fertility control policy. In this paper, we first study LLF’s contribution to marriage and fertility behavior, finding that the policy reduced China’s total fertility rate by about 0.9 births per woman, explaining only 28% of China’s modern fertility decline. Given son preference, we then consider the parallel issue of sex selection, which also emerged prior to the One Child Policy (when prenatal selection was not technologically feasible). We find that LLF increased the use of male-biased fertility stopping rules from 3.25% to 6.3% of couples – and that it contributed to the early emergence of postnatal neglect of girls in modern China, rising from none to 0.3% of births (implying 210,000 previously unrecognized missing girls). Considering Chinese population policy to be extreme in global experience, our results demonstrate the limits of population policy’s ability to reduce fertility – and its potential for unintended consequences.
    JEL: J1 J12 J13 J18
    Date: 2018–10
  3. By: Lu, Di
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of the earlier selective two-child policy (TCP) in the 1990s (both parents have to be only children) to explore the impacts of this relaxation on the marriage market as well as the fertility effect due to the marriage choice distortion. By using a difference in differences (DID) design in a subhazard model with competing risks, the results show that the subhazard ratio is 355.06% higher and this treatment effect is significant at a 1% level. The results suggest that the selective TCP increased the probability of the treatment group of choosing an only-child spouse rather than marrying a spouse with siblings or a spouse belonging to an ethnic minority. The marriage effect is stronger in urban areas where OCP was previously implemented more rigorously. The probability of giving birth to a second child is also positive and significant in a DID design, which implies that the fertility preference is binding under the OCP.
    Keywords: China’s two-child policy,marriage distortion,subhazard model,fertility effect
    JEL: J12 J13 C41
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Cardoso, Ana Rute (IAE Barcelona (CSIC)); Morin, Louis-Philippe (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: We investigate the potential channels that drive female labor force participation to rise in response to unbalanced sex ratios, in the presence of strong social norms against female employment. One such channel is women's desired labor supply, operating through the marriage market, and the other is employers' demand for female labor. If faced with a reduction in male workforce, do employers turn to women to fill in the gap? Do women enter traditionally male occupations and industries, so that segregation decreases? Does the gender pay gap decline? We exploit exogenous variation in sex ratios across cohorts and regions, by using instruments based on casualties from the Portuguese Colonial War and massive emigration in the 1960s combined with its historical regional patterns. We find that as the sex ratio declined, female participation increased, women entered traditionally male-dominated occupations and industries, and the gender pay gap declined. These findings are consistent with a demand shock. Our estimated impact of sex ratios on marriage market points to a muted supply channel. We complement the quantitative analysis with an archival case. Our findings help to explain an apparent puzzle, a decades-long high female participation in Portugal, as opposed to the other Southern European countries.
    Keywords: labor demand, labor force participation, gender segregation, pay gap
    JEL: J21 J23 N34 J22
    Date: 2018–09

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