nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2019‒12‒23
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Measuring Well-Being and Lives Worth Living By Marc Fleurbaey; Grégory Ponthière
  2. Demographic Obstacles to European Growth By Thomas F. Cooley; Espen Henriksen; Charlie Nusbaum
  3. How the provision of childcare affects attitudes towards maternal employment By Roth, Anja
  4. Are Social Security’s Actuarial Adjustments Still Correct? By Alicia H. Munnell; Anqi Chen
  5. Gender Equality as an Enforcer of Individuals’ Choice between Education and Fertility: Evidence from 19th Century France. By Claude Diebolt; Tapas Mishra; Faustine Perrin

  1. By: Marc Fleurbaey (Princeton University); Grégory Ponthière (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, ERUDITE - Equipe de Recherche sur l’Utilisation des Données Individuelles en lien avec la Théorie Economique - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée - UPEC UP12 - Université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne - Paris 12)
    Abstract: We study the measurement of well-being when individuals have hetero- geneous preferences, including di_erent conceptions of a life worth living. When individuals di_er in the conception of a life worth living, the equivalent income can regard an individual whose life is not worth living as being better o_ than an individual whose life is worth living. In order to avoid that paradoxical result, we reexamine the ethical foundations of well-being measures in such a way as to take into account heterogeneity in the conception of a life worth living. We derive, from simple axioms, an alternative measure of well-being, which is an equivalent income net of the income threshold making lifetime neutral. That new well-being index always ranks an individual whose life is not worth living as worse-o_ than an individual with a life worth living.
    Keywords: Well-being,measurement,equivalent income,lifetime,value of life
    Date: 2019–12
  2. By: Thomas F. Cooley; Espen Henriksen; Charlie Nusbaum
    Abstract: Since the early 1990’s the growth rates of the four largest European economies—France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom—have slowed. This persistent slowdown suggests a low-frequency structural change is at work. A combination of longer individual life expectancies and declining fertility have led to gradually ageing populations. Demographic change affects economic growth directly through households savings and labor supply decisions and also growth indirectly through the pension systems and the need to fund them. Tax increases to balance budgets will impose additional distortions to individual factor-supply choices. We quantify the growth effects from aging and from the financing of public pensions, and we estimate the welfare gains from pension reforms.
    JEL: E6 O4 O52
    Date: 2019–11
  3. By: Roth, Anja
    Abstract: Do childcare institutions affect gender norms of individuals? I examine the introduction of childcare services and their impact on voters' support of policies promoting maternal employment. I address the inherent endogeneity between institutions and attitudes by exploiting regional variation in the regulations and provision of childcare for school children outside of regular school hours. My results show that the expansion of childcare for school children increases voters' support of policies promoting maternal employment. This indicates a direct effect of local institutions on voters' attitudes. I additionally show that as public costs of the new facilities increase, support of additional policies promoting maternal employment decreases.
    Keywords: Childcare ; gender norms ; maternal employment ; policy evaluation
    JEL: H23 H31 J13
    Date: 2019–11–26
  4. By: Alicia H. Munnell; Anqi Chen
    Abstract: The option to claim Social Security benefits at any age from 62 to 70 – with actuarial adjustments designed o keep lifetime benefits constant for an individual ith average life expectancy – is a key feature of the rogram. The actuarial adjustments, however, are decades old and do not reflect improvements in longevity or other important developments over that time. The option to claim early was introduced over 60 years ago, when Congress set 62 as the program’s Earliest Age of Eligibility. Those claiming at 62 receive 20 percent less in monthly benefits than if they had waited until 65 to claim. The option to claim between 65 and 70 on an actuarially fair basis stems from the 1983 Social Security amendments, which gradually increased the annual “delayed retirement credit” from 3 percent to 8 percent. Much has changed since these actuarial adjustments were introduced: interest rates have declined; life expectancy has increased; and longevity improvements have been much greater for higher earners than lower earners. In the wake of these developments, this brief explores whether the historical adjustments are still actuarially correct. The discussion proceeds as follows. The first section provides a brief history of the Social Security benefit adjustments. The second section explains how increasing life expectancy and declining interest rates would call for smaller reductions for early claiming and a smaller delayed retirement credit for later claiming. The third section explores the extent to which existing adjustments deviate from actuarially fair magnitudes, finding that the reduction for early claiming – initially about right – is now too large, while the delayed retirement credit – initially too small – is now about right. The fourth section moves from the average worker to explore the impact of the actuarial adjustments on workers at various earnings levels given the disparity in longevity improvements. The final section concludes that the adjustment factors now favor delayed claiming and, as a result, increasingly benefit higher earners.
    Date: 2019–11
  5. By: Claude Diebolt; Tapas Mishra; Faustine Perrin
    Abstract: Recent theoretical developments of growth models, especially on unified theories of growth, suggest that the child quantity-quality trade-off has been a central element of the transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained growth. Using a unique census-based dataset, this article explores the role of gender on the trade-off between education and fertility across 86 French counties during the nineteenth century, as an empirical extension of Diebolt and Perrin (2013, 2019a). We first test the existence of the child quantity-quality trade-off in 1851. Second, we explore the long-run effect of education on fertility from a gendered approach. Two important results emerge: (i) significant and negative association between education and fertility is found, and (ii) such a relationship is non-uniform over the distribution of education/fertility. While our results suggest the existence of a negative and significant effect of the female endowments in human capital on the fertility transition, the effects of negative endowment almost disappear at a low level of fertility.
    Keywords: Gender difference; Cliometrics; Individuals’ choice; Education; Fertility; ; Quantile regression; Unified growth theory; Nineteenth century France; Quality-Quantity trade-off.
    JEL: C22 C26 C32 C36 C81 C82 I20 J13 N01 N33
    Date: 2019

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