nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2020‒04‒27
four papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Does postponing retirement affect cognitive function? A counterfactual experiment to disentangle life course risk factors By Jo Mhairi Hale; Maarten J. Bijlsma; Angelo Lorenti
  2. Differential Fertility, Intergenerational Mobility and the Process of Economic Development By Aso, Hiroki
  3. Survival of the Confucians: social status and fertility in China, 1400-1900 By Hu, Sijie
  4. The Impact of One Parent Family Payment Reforms on the Labour Market Outcomes of Lone Parents By Redmond, Paul; McGuinness, Seamus; Keane, Claire

  1. By: Jo Mhairi Hale (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Maarten J. Bijlsma (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Angelo Lorenti (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Life-course sociodemographic and behavioral factors affect later-life cognitive function. Some evidence suggests that contemporaneous labor force participation also affects cognitive function; however, it is unclear whether it is employment itself or endogenous factors related to individuals’ likelihood of employment that protects against cognitive decline. We exploit innovations in counterfactual causal inference to disentangle the effect of postponing retirement on later-life cognitive function from the effects of other life-course factors. With the U.S. Health and Retirement Study (1996-2014, n=20,469), we use the parametric g-formula to estimate the population-averaged effect (PAE) of postponing retirement to age 67, the average treatment on the treated (ATT), the moderating effect of gender, education, and occupation, and the mediating effect via depressive symptoms and comorbidities. We find that postponing retirement is protective against cognitive decline, accounting for other life-course factors (age 67 PAE: 0.34, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.20,0.47; ATT: 0.43, 95% CI: 0.26,0.60). The extent of the protective effect depends on subgroup, with the highest educated experiencing the greatest reduction in cognitive decline (age 67 ATT: 50%, 95% CI: 32%,71%). By using innovative models that better reflect the empirical reality of interconnected life-course processes, this work makes progress in understanding how retirement affects cognitive function.
    Keywords: America, age at retirement, ageing, labor, length of working life, retirement
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Aso, Hiroki
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of population dynamics with differential fertility between the educated and the uneducated on intergenerational mobility, income inequality and economic development in an overlapping generations framework. Population dynamics has two effects on the economy: the direct effect on the educated share through changing in population size of the economy as whole, and the indirect effect on the educated share through decreasing/increasing transfer per child. When population growth increases sufficiently, the mobility and income inequality exhibit cyclical behavior due to rapidly decreasing transfer per child and population size. In contrast, when population growth decreases sufficiently, the mobility and income inequality monotonically approach steady state and the economy has low steady state with high population growth and income inequality, and high steady state with low population growth and income inequality. As a result, population dynamics with economic development plays crucial role in the transitional dynamics of mobility.
    Keywords: Differential the fertility, Intergenerational mobility, Economic development, Income inequality
    JEL: I24 I25 J13 J62
    Date: 2020–03–23
  3. By: Hu, Sijie
    Abstract: This paper uses the genealogical records of 35,691 men to test one of the fundamental assumptions of the Malthusian model. Did higher living standards result in increased net reproduction? An empirical investigation of China between 1400 and 1900 finds a positive relationship between social status and fertility. The gentry scholars, the Confucians, produced three times as many sons as the commoners, and this status effect on fertility was stronger in the post-1600 period than in the pre-1600 period. The effect disappears once I control for the number of marriages. Increased marriages among upper-class males drove reproductive success in Imperial China. The results add a demographic perspective to explain the lack of modern economic growth in Imperial China.
    Keywords: fertility; social status; marriages; reproductive success; Malthusian mechanism; China
    JEL: J13 J12 N35
    Date: 2020–04–01
  4. By: Redmond, Paul (ESRI, Dublin); McGuinness, Seamus (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin); Keane, Claire (ESRI, Dublin)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of a reduction in the child qualifying age criteria for the One Parent Family Payment (OFP) in Ireland. From 2012 to 2015, the child qualifying age for OFP was reduced from 18 years to 7 years. Lone parents who no longer qualified for the payment, based on the age of their child, could avail of Jobseekers Transitional Payment (JST), which involves a labour activation component. While OFP recipients are subject to a maximum weekly earnings limit, there is no such limit for JST recipients, meaning that lone parents on JST had some capacity to increase their hours worked and thereby increase their income from employment. We find that these reforms led to an average increase in the hours worked of lone parents of between two and five hours per week. Two and a half years following the reform, lone parents impacted by the policy were 12 percentage points more likely to be working. In addition, we find an increase in household income of between 8 and 12 percent, and an increase of between 20 and 29 percent in earnings from employment. Finally, the policy was associated with a 10 to 13 percentage point reduction in the poverty rate of lone parents.
    Keywords: lone parents, policy reform, employment
    JEL: H20 H31 J01 J68
    Date: 2020–04

This nep-dem issue is ©2020 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.