nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2019‒05‒27
eight papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Motherhood Timing and the Child Penalty: Bounding the Returns to Delay By Bíró, Anikó; Dieterle, Steven; Steinhauer, Andreas
  2. The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime over the Last Two Decades By John J. Donohue; Steven D. Levitt
  3. The Illusion of Stable Preferences over Major Life Decisions By Maximilian W. Mueller; Joan Hamory Hicks; Jennifer Johnson-Hanks; Edward Miguel
  4. The Gender Dimension of Intergenerational Transfers in Europe By Bernhard Hammer; Sonja Spitzer; Lili Vargha; Tanja IsteniÄ
  5. The Effects of Conflict on Fertility: Evidence from the Genocide in Rwanda By Kraehnert, Kati; Brück, Tilman; Di Maio, Michele; Nistico, Roberto
  6. The Impact of Climate Change on Fertility By Gregory Casey; Soheil Shayegh; Juan Moreno-Cruz; Martin Bunzl; Oded Galor; Ken Caldeira
  7. Demographics and Automation By Daron Acemoglu; Pascual Restrepo
  8. Gender gaps in wages and mortality rates during industrialization: the case of Alcoy, Spain, 1860-1914 By Pilar Beneito; José Joaquin García-Gómez

  1. By: Bíró, Anikó; Dieterle, Steven; Steinhauer, Andreas
    Abstract: We use administrative data from Austria to analyze labor market returns to delaying motherhood. We exploit delays due to pregnancy loss to provide bounds on the returns that account for imperfect instruments and selection into the sample for mothers that suffer a loss. Our results suggest small effects of delay on earnings, employment, and firm quality--- in contrast with the prior literature. The lower bounds suggest little difference in earnings trajectories around the first birth. This raises the possibility that much of the return may come from delaying the "child penalty" rather than changing how the career responds to children.
    Keywords: Female Earnings; fertility timing; imperfect instrument
    JEL: C26 J13 J31
    Date: 2019–05
  2. By: John J. Donohue; Steven D. Levitt
    Abstract: Donohue and Levitt (2001) presented evidence that the legalization of abortion in the early 1970s played an important role in the crime drop of the 1990s. That paper concluded with a strong out-of-sample prediction regarding the next two decades: “When a steady state is reached roughly twenty years from now, the impact of abortion will be roughly twice as great as the impact felt so far. Our results suggest that all else equal, legalized abortion will account for persistent declines of 1 percent a year in crime over the next two decades.” Estimating parallel specifications to the original paper, but using the seventeen years of data generated after that paper was written, we find strong support for the prediction. The estimated coefficient on legalized abortion is actually larger in the latter period than it was in the initial dataset in almost all specifications. We estimate that crime fell roughly 20% between 1997 and 2014 due to legalized abortion. The cumulative impact of legalized abortion on crime is roughly 45%, accounting for a very substantial portion of the roughly 50-55% overall decline from the peak of crime in the early 1990s.
    JEL: J13 K42
    Date: 2019–05
  3. By: Maximilian W. Mueller; Joan Hamory Hicks; Jennifer Johnson-Hanks; Edward Miguel
    Abstract: We examine the stability of preferences over time using panel data from Kenya on fertility intentions, realizations, and recall of intentions. We find that desired fertility is very unstable, but that most people perceive their desires to be stable. Under hypothetical scenarios, few expect their desired fertility to increase over time. Moreover, when asked to recall past intentions, most respondents report previously wanting exactly as many children as they desire today. Biased recall of preferences over a major life decision could have important implications for measuring excess fertility, the evolution of norms, and the perceived need for family planning programs.
    JEL: D83 D84 D91 I12 J12 J13 O12
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Bernhard Hammer; Sonja Spitzer; Lili Vargha; Tanja IsteniÄ
    Abstract: This paper analyses the gender dimension of intergenerational transfers in European countries using National Transfer Accounts data on age- and gender-specific transfers in 2010. We combine data on public and private transfers with demographic information to estimate gender-specific net transfer benefits by life stage and over the whole life course. Furthermore, public old-age benefits are decomposed into yearly averages as well as the number of years that individuals can expect to be net recipients of public transfers. The results show remarkable differences between genders, especially in old age. Yearly net public benefits in old age are considerably smaller for women. However, the total public benefits over the whole retirement period are higher for women due to their higher life expectancy.
    Keywords: Gender inequalities, intergenerational transfers, National Transfer Accounts, unpaid work.
    Date: 2019–05
  5. By: Kraehnert, Kati (DIW Berlin); Brück, Tilman (ISDC - International Security and Development Center); Di Maio, Michele (University of Naples Parthenope); Nistico, Roberto (University of Naples Federico II)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the fertility effects of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We study the effects of violence on both the hazard of having a child in the early post-genocide period and on the total number of post-genocide births up to 15 years following the conflict. We use individual-level data from Demographic and Health Surveys to estimate survival and count data models. The paper contributes to the literature on the demographic effects of violent conflict by testing two channels through which conflict influences fertility. First, the type of violence exposure as measured by the death of a woman's child or sibling. Second, the conflict-induced change in local demographic conditions as captured by the change in the district-level sex ratio. Results indicate that the genocide had heterogeneous effects on fertility, depending on the type of violence experienced by the woman, her age cohort, parity, and the time horizon (5, 10 and 15 years after the genocide). There is strong evidence of a replacement effect. Having experienced the death of a child during the genocide increases both the hazard of having a child in the five years following the genocide and the total number of post-genocide births. Experiencing sibling death during the genocide significantly lowers post-genocide fertility in both the short run and the long run. Finally, a reduction in the local sex ratio negatively impacts the hazard of having a child in the five years following the genocide, particularly for older women.
    Keywords: child death, fertility, genocide, Rwanda, sex ratio, sibling death
    JEL: J13 N47 O12
    Date: 2019–05
  6. By: Gregory Casey (Williams College); Soheil Shayegh (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy); Juan Moreno-Cruz (School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo); Martin Bunzl (Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University); Oded Galor (Brown University); Ken Caldeira (Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA)
    Abstract: We examine the potential for climate change to impact fertility via adaptations in human behavior. We start by discussing a wide range of economic channels through which climate change might impact fertility, including sectoral reallocation, the gender wage gap, longevity, and child mortality. Then, we build a quantitative model that combines standard economic- demographic theory with existing estimates of the economic consequences of climate change. In the model, increases in global temperature affect agricultural and non-agricultural sectors differently. Near the equator, where many poor countries are located, climate change has a larger negative effect on agriculture. The resulting scarcity in agricultural goods acts as a force towards higher agricultural prices and wages, leading to a labor reallocation into this sector. Since agriculture makes less use of skilled labor, climate damage decreases the return to acquiring skills, inducing parents to invest less resources in the education of each child and to increase fertility. These patterns are reversed at higher latitudes, suggesting that climate change may exacerbate inequities by reducing fertility and increasing education in richer northern countries, while increasing fertility and reducing education in poorer tropical countries. While the model only examines the role of one specific mechanism, it suggests that climate change could have an impact on fertility, indicating the need for future work on this important topic. Classification-
    Date: 2019–02
  7. By: Daron Acemoglu (MIT and CIFAR); Pascual Restrepo (Boston University)
    Abstract: We argue theoretically and document empirically that aging leads to greater (industrial) automation, and in particular, to more intensive use and development of robots. Using US data, we document that robots substitute for middle-aged workers (those between the ages of 36 and 55). We then show that demographic change—corresponding to an increasing ratio of older to middle-aged workers—is associated with greater adoption of robots and other automation technologies across countries and with more robotics-related activities across US commuting zones. We also provide evidence of more rapid development of automation technologies in coun- tries undergoing greater demographic change. Our directed technological change model further predicts that the induced adoption of automation technology should be more pronounced in industries that rely more on middle-aged workers and those that present greater opportunities for automation. Both of these predictions receive support from country-industry variation in the adoption of robots. Our model also implies that the productivity implications of aging are ambiguous when technology responds to demographic change, but we should expect produc- tivity to increase and labor share to decline relatively in industries that are most amenable to automation, and this is indeed the pattern we find in the data.
    Keywords: aging, automation, demographic change, economic growth, directed technological change, productivity, robots, tasks, technology
    JEL: J11 J23 J24 O33 O47 O57
    Date: 2018–03
  8. By: Pilar Beneito (University of Valencia. ERI-CES); José Joaquin García-Gómez (University of Almeria)
    Abstract: What role did women play during industrialization? Interpretations of this key period of our history have been largely based on analyses of male work. In this paper, we offer evidence of the effects of women's involvement in the industrialization process that took place in Alcoy, Spain, over the period 1860-1914. Using data drawn from historical sources, we analyse labour-force participation rates and wage series for women and men in the textile industry and three other sectors of activity (education, health and low-skill services). We then connect the gender pay gaps with life expectancy indicators. Our results suggest that women's contribution to household income might have favoured the female life-expectancy advantage, an effect that seems to have been channelled through a reduction in the relative mortality rates of female infants and girls, at the expense of a higher mortality rate of working-age women.
    Keywords: Industrialization, gender wage gap, female mortality advantage
    JEL: J16 J31 N33 O14
    Date: 2019–05

This nep-dem issue is ©2019 by Héctor Pifarré i Arolas. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.