nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2018‒12‒17
six papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. A Lifetime of Changes: State Pensions and Work Incentives at Older Ages in the UK, 1948-2018 By James Banks; Carl Emmerson
  2. Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Reforms and Retirement Incentives – Introduction and Summary By Axel H. Börsch-Supan; Courtney Coile
  3. Redistribution from the Cradle to the Grave: A Unified Approach to Heterogeneity in Age, Income and Wealth By Pierre Emmanuel Weil
  4. Fertility and labor market responses to reductions in mortality By Bhalotra, Sonia; Venkataramani, Atheendar; Walther, Selma
  5. Job Displacement, Family Dynamics and Spousal Labor Supply By Martin Halla; Julia Schmieder; Andrea Weber
  6. Trustlab Italy: a New Dataset for the study of Trust, Family Demography and Personality By Arnstein Aassve; Letizia Mencarini; Francesco Chiocchio; Francesco Gandolfi; Arianna Gatta; Francesco Mattioli

  1. By: James Banks; Carl Emmerson
    Abstract: We describe the history of state pension policy in the UK since 1948 and calculate summary measures of the generosity of the system over time and the degree to which the it created implicit taxes on, or subsidies to, work at older ages. The time series of these measures, calculated separately for ’example-type’ individuals of different birth cohorts, education and sexes, are then related to the time-series of employment rates at older ages for the equivalent types of individual. The generosity of the system rose over the period as whole but has fallen in recent years, and in contrast to many countries there were generally never large implicit taxes on work arising from the state pension system. What implicit subsidies there were in the years immediately before the State Pension Age have been gradually eliminated and the system is now broadly neutral with regard to work incentives. Exploiting variation in pension wealth and work incentives across different cohort-education-sex groups, created by the timing and phasing of pension reforms, we show that both pension wealth and the implicit work disincentives in the pension system are correlated with employment outcomes for men, with the expected negative sign.
    JEL: H55 J26 J32
    Date: 2018–11
  2. By: Axel H. Börsch-Supan; Courtney Coile
    Abstract: This is the introduction and summary to the ninth phase of an ongoing project on Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World. This project, which compares the experiences of a dozen developed countries, was launched in the mid 1990s, following decades of decline in the labor force participation rate of older men. The first several phases of the project document that social security program provisions can create powerful incentives for retirement that are strongly correlated with the labor force behavior of older workers. Subsequent phases have explored how disability program provisions affect retirement, whether there is a link between older employment and youth unemployment, and whether older individuals are healthy enough to work longer. In the two decades since the project began, the dramatic decline in men’s labor force participation has been replaced by sharply rising participation rates. Older women’s participation has increased dramatically as well. Over this same period, countries have undertaken numerous reforms of their social security programs, disability programs, and other public benefit programs available to older workers. In this ninth phase of the project, we explore how the financial incentive to work at older ages has evolved from 1980 to the present. We highlight the important role of reforms in these changing incentives and examine how changing incentives may have affected retirement behavior.
    JEL: J14 J26
    Date: 2018–11
  3. By: Pierre Emmanuel Weil
    Abstract: This paper studies the macroeconomic and cross-sectional consequences of redistributive fiscal policy, with a focus on pensions. Evidence suggests that transfers crowd out private savings heterogeneously across household income, wealth, and age groups. These changes cumulate to dynamic effects on the wealth distribution, which must be taken into account for policymakers with distributional goals. To quantify these channels, I build an overlapping generations heterogeneous agent model based on continuous time methods, joining canonical mechanisms of lifecycle behavior and precautionary savings. Despite its parsimony, the model yields empirically realistic distributions of savings and of the cross-sectional impact of pension reform. I use it to make two main contributions. First, I quantify the cross-sectional impact on savings of pension reform. Adjustment is concentrated among workers in lower-middle wealth groups. Richer households are indifferent about transfers, while the poorest are constrained. Thus, the equilibrium real rate stays largely unchanged, supporting previous efforts which studied these effects in partial equilibrium. Second, in a transition experiment I show that raising social security benefits leads wealth inequality to fall in the short run, but to grow past its original level after fifteen years -- even if the accompanying tax increase is progressive. This follows from lower-middle workers reducing savings most strongly. Means-testing amplifies this effect. Progressive transfers to young workers have similar impact, but through different channels. Transfers encourage riskier portfolios, however crowding out is weaker since it is easier to save than to borrow.
    JEL: E21 E62 D31 H23
    Date: 2018–12–13
  4. By: Bhalotra, Sonia; Venkataramani, Atheendar; Walther, Selma
    Abstract: We investigate womenÂ’s fertility, labor, and marriage market responses to large declines in child mortality in the U.S. Fertility declined on the intensive margin as expected. However, despite the increasing value of having at least one child, a larger share of women remained childless. We explain these fiÂ…ndings with a new theory of fertility that includes fertility timing and labor force participation as choices. Consistent with the modelÂ’s predictions, we fiÂ…nd that reductions in child mortality led women to delay childbearing, increase their labor force participation, improve their occupational status, and to be less likely to have ever married.
    Date: 2018–12–03
  5. By: Martin Halla; Julia Schmieder; Andrea Weber
    Abstract: We study the effectiveness of intra-household insurance among married couples when the husband loses his job due to a mass layoff or plant closure. Empirical results based on Austrian administrative data show that husbands suffer persistent employment and earnings losses, while wives’ labor supply increases moderately due to extensive margin responses. Wives’ earnings gains recover only a tiny fraction of the household income loss and, in the short-term, public transfers and taxes are a more important form of insurance. We show that the presence of children in the household is a crucial determinant of the wives’ labor supply response.
    Keywords: Firm Events, Household Labor Supply, Intra-household Insurance, Added Worker Effect.
    JEL: D19 J22 J65
    Date: 2018–11
  6. By: Arnstein Aassve; Letizia Mencarini; Francesco Chiocchio; Francesco Gandolfi; Arianna Gatta; Francesco Mattioli
    Abstract: As more studies focus on social trust and link it to the working of economies and societies, measuring properly this concept is growing in importance. Indeed, as it is a complex construct, entangled to other notions such as reciprocity, it is hard to obtain reliable and accurate measures of it. To mend for this, the OECD has launched Trustlab: a project aimed at creating the first internationally comparable and nationally representative database on trust and social preferences using both survey and experimental approaches. As of March 2018, Trustlab surveys have been run in 6 countries. In this paper we present the data and peculiarities of Trustlab Italy, in which, in addition to the measures of trust, data on personality traits and fertility intentions have been collected.
    Keywords: Trust, Family demography, Personality, OECD
    Date: 2018–03

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