nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2019‒09‒09
four papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Does Unemployment Worsen Babies' Health? A Tale of Siblings, Maternal Behaviour and Selection By De Cao, Elisabetta; McCormick, Barry; Nicodemo, Catia
  2. Does Halting Refugee Resettlement Reduce Crime? Evidence from the United States Refugee Ban By Masterson, Daniel; Yasenov, Vasil
  3. Consequences of Parental Job Loss on the Family Environment and on Human Capital Formation: Evidence from Plant Closures By Mörk, Eva; Sjögren, Anna; Svaleryd, Helena
  4. Do Private Household Transfers to the Elderly Respond to Public Pension Benefits? Evidence from Rural China By Plamen Nikolov; Alan Adelman

  1. By: De Cao, Elisabetta (London School of Economics); McCormick, Barry (Nuffield College, Oxford); Nicodemo, Catia (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: We study the effect of unemployment on birth outcomes by exploiting geographical variation in the unemployment rate across local areas in England, and comparing siblings born to the same mother via family fixed effects. Using rich individual data from hospital administrative records between 2003 and 2012, babies' health is found to be strongly pro-cyclical. A one-percentage point increase in the unemployment rate leads to an increase in low birth weight and preterm babies of respectively 1.3 and 1.4%, and a 0.1% decrease in foetal growth. We find heterogenous responses: unemployment has an effect on babies' health which varies from strongly adverse in the most deprived areas, to mildly favourable in the most prosperous areas. We provide evidence of three channels that can explain the overall negative effect of unemployment on new-born health: maternal stress; unhealthy behaviours - namely excessive alcohol consumption and smoking; and delays in the take-up of prenatal services. While the heterogenous effects of unemployment by area of deprivation seem to be explained by maternal behaviour. Most importantly, we also show for the first time that selection into fertility is the main driver for the previously observed, opposite counter-cyclical results, e.g., Dehejia and Lleras-Muney (2004). Our results are robust to internal migration, different geographical aggregation of the unemployment rate, the use of gender-specific unemployment rates, and potential endogeneity of the unemployment rate which we control for by using a shift-share instrumental variable approach.
    Keywords: unemployment rate, birth outcomes, birth weight, fertility, England
    JEL: E24 I10 I12 J13
    Date: 2019–08
  2. By: Masterson, Daniel (Stanford University); Yasenov, Vasil (University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: Many countries have reduced refugee admissions in recent years, in part due to fears that refugees and asylum seekers increase crime rates and pose a national security risk. Existing research presents ambiguous expectations about the consequences of refugee resettlement on crime. We leverage a natural experiment in the United States, where an Executive Order by the president in January 2017 halted refugee resettlement. This policy change was sudden and significant – it resulted in the lowest number of refugees resettled on US soil since 1977 and a 66% drop in resettlement from 2016 to 2017. We find that there is no discernible effect on county-level crime rates. These null effects are consistent across all types of crime and precisely estimated. Overall, the results suggest that crime rates would have been similar had refugee arrivals continued at previous levels.
    Keywords: refugees, immigration, crime
    JEL: F22 J15 K42
    Date: 2019–08
  3. By: Mörk, Eva (Uppsala University); Sjögren, Anna (IFAU); Svaleryd, Helena (Uppsala University)
    Abstract: We study the consequences of mothers' and fathers' job loss for parents, families, and children. Rich Swedish register data allow us to identify plant closures and account for non-random selection of workers to closing plants by using propensity score matching and controlling for pre-displacement outcomes. Our overall conclusion is positive: childhood health, educational and early adult outcomes are not adversely affected by parental job loss. Parents and families are however negatively affected in terms of parental health, labor market outcomes and separations. Limited effects on family disposable income suggest that generous unemployment insurance and a dual-earner norm shield families from financial distress, which together with universal health care and free education is likely to be protective for children.
    Keywords: parental unemployment, workplace closure, family environment, child health, human capital formation
    JEL: I12 J1
    Date: 2019–08
  4. By: Plamen Nikolov; Alan Adelman
    Abstract: Aging populations in developing countries have spurred the introduction of public pension programs to preserve the standard of living for the elderly. The often-overlooked mechanism of intergenerational transfers, however, can dampen these intended policy effects, as adult children who make income contributions to their parents could adjust their behavior in response to changes in their parents’ income. Exploiting a unique policy intervention in China, we examine using a difference-in-difference-in-differences (DDD) approach how a new pension program impacts inter vivos transfers. We show that pension benefits lower the propensity of adult children to transfer income to elderly parents in the context of a large middle-income country, and we also estimate a small crowd-out effect. Taken together, these estimates fit the pattern of previous research in high-income countries, although our estimates of the crowd-out effect are significantly smaller than previous studies in both middle- and high-income countries.
    Keywords: life cycle, retirement, pensions, inter vivos transfers, middle-income countries, developing countries, China, crowd-out effect, aging
    JEL: D64 O15 O16 J14 J22 H55 R20
    Date: 2019–08

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