nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2020‒08‒24
nine papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Home Prices, Fertility, and Early-Life Health Outcomes By Daysal, N. Meltem; Lovenheim, Michael; Siersbæk, Nikolaj; Wasser, David N.
  2. Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage By de la Croix, David; Schneider, Eric B.; Weisdorf, Jacob
  3. Effective Boost to Fertility: Evidence from Operation of Nuclear Power Plants in Japan By Hiroyuki Egami; Jorge Luis Garcia; Wang Tong
  4. The education gender gap and the demographic transition in developing countries By Nguyen Thang Dao; Julio Dávila; Angela Greulich
  5. Has Mortality Risen Disproportionately for the Least Educated? By Adam Leive; Christopher J. Ruhm
  6. Linking Changes in Inequality in Life Expectancy and Mortality: Evidence from Denmark and the United States By Gordon B. Dahl; Claus Thustrup Kreiner; Torben Helen Nielsen; Benjamin Ly Serena
  7. Social Security Reforms and the Changing Retirement Behavior in Germany By Axel H. Börsch-Supan; Johannes Rausch; Nicolas Goll
  8. Mass Gatherings Contributed to Early COVID-19 Mortality: Evidence from US Sports* By Alexander Ahammer; Martin Halla; Mario Lackner
  9. How the COVID-19 Lockdown Affected Gender Inequality in Paid and Unpaid Work in Spain By Farré, Lídia; Fawaz, Yarine; Gonzalez, Libertad; Graves, Jennifer

  1. By: Daysal, N. Meltem (University of Southern Denmark); Lovenheim, Michael (Cornell University); Siersbæk, Nikolaj (Copenhagen Economics); Wasser, David N. (Cornell University)
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of housing price changes on fertility and early-life child health in Denmark. Using rich population register data among women aged 20-44 who own a home, we find that for each 100,000 DKK increase in home prices (equivalent to $12,000), the likelihood of giving birth increases by 0.27 percentage points or 2.32%. These estimates are similar to findings from the US per dollar of home price change, which is surprising given the strong pro-natalist policies and generous government programs in Denmark. We also present the first estimates of the effect of home prices on infant health. Our findings indicate that housing price increases lead to better child health at birth in terms of low birth weight and prematurity, however most of these effects reflect changes in the composition of births. There is no evidence of an effect on health during the first five years of life. These findings are consistent with a lack of credit constraints among homeowner families and with both children and child health being normal goods that are similarly-valued in the US and Denmark.
    Keywords: housing wealth, fertility, child health, birth outcomes
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2020–06
  2. By: de la Croix, David; Schneider, Eric B.; Weisdorf, Jacob
    Abstract: This paper reconsiders the fertility of historical social groups by accounting for singleness and childlessness. We find that the middle class had the highest reproductive success during England's early industrial development. In light of the greater propensity of the middle class to invest in human capital, the rise in the prevalence of these traits in the population could have been instrumental to England's economic success. Unlike earlier results about the survival of the richest, the paper shows that the reproductive success of the rich (and also the poor) were lower than that of the middle class, once accounting for singleness and childlessness. Hence, the prosperity of England over this period can be attributed to the increase in the prevalence of middle-class traits rather than those of the upper (or lower) class.
    Keywords: fertility; marriage; childlessness; European marriage patter; industrial revolution; evolutionary advantage; social class
    JEL: J12 J13 N33
    Date: 2019–09–01
  3. By: Hiroyuki Egami (Graduate School of Policy Studies, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Japan); Jorge Luis Garcia (Clemson University, Atlanta, USA); Wang Tong (Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Japan)
    Abstract: We provide evidence of a boost to fertility caused by nuclear power plants' operation as such power plants create jobs in the surrounding area. We use household-level data from the Japanese population census (1980-2010) and link each household to granular location information. We exploit—plausibly exogenous—geographical variations in distance to a nuclear power plant from each household to identify the job creation effect. We find that the operation of a nuclear power plant leads to a 10% increase in fertility in the surrounding areas—which is an underpopulated area. We also find that marriage and employment increase in areas close to a nuclear power plant. The estimates of instrumented difference-in-difference method suggest that an additional employment leads to a higher probability of having children born. On top of that, this work sets out to investigate the effect of large subsidies provided to local governments after the constructions of nuclear power plants. We utilize observations of households located close to the borders of the municipality to identify the causal impact of local government spending on fertility decision. The results suggest that having a larger local government’s budget and subsequent provision of better-quality public services contribute to higher fertility.
    Keywords: Fertility, Employment, Subsidy, Japan, Nuclear power plan
    Date: 2020–07
  4. By: Nguyen Thang Dao; Julio Dávila; Angela Greulich
    Abstract: This paper explores, theoretically and empirically, the role of the declining gender gap in education in the demographic transition and the emergence of modern economic growth. Specifically, the paper develops a model in the tradition of the unified growth theory that captures and interconnects the key empirical features of the demographic transition, the decline in gender gap in education, and the transition to sustained growth across less-developed economies. The mechanism on which the model relies comprises several interplaying components. First, technological progress reduces housework time through the creation and diffusion of labor-saving home appliances, which frees women’s time for childrearing, resulting in an initial increase in fertility, as well as in labor-force participation. Second, due to the possibly higher female labor-force participation as housework time decreases, households invest relatively more in their daughters’ education, given its higher return following the initial imbalance. This improves gender equality in education and increases the opportunity cost of childrearing, which leads to a subsequent decrease in fertility. Third and finally, the decrease in the education gender gap through higher investment in daughters’ education increases average human capital, thus accelerating technological progress in turn. This reinforcing loop results in the transition to a new fertility regime and accelerated economic growth. We provide the empirical confirmation of the model’s predictions using data from developing countries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
    Date: 2019–12
  5. By: Adam Leive; Christopher J. Ruhm
    Abstract: We examine whether the least educated population groups experienced the worst mortality trends during the 21st century by measuring changes in mortality across education quartiles. We document sharply differing gender patterns. Among women, mortality trends improved fairly monotonically with education. Conversely, male trends for the lowest three education quartiles were often similar. For both sexes, the gap in average mortality between the top 25 percent and the bottom 75 percent is growing. However, there are many groups for whom these average patterns are reversed – with better experiences for the less educated – or where the differences are statistically indistinguishable.
    JEL: I10 I12 I24 J10
    Date: 2020–07
  6. By: Gordon B. Dahl; Claus Thustrup Kreiner; Torben Helen Nielsen; Benjamin Ly Serena
    Abstract: We decompose changing gaps in life expectancy between rich and poor into differential changes in age-specific mortality rates and differences in “survivability”. Declining age-specific mortality rates increases life expectancy, but the gain is small if the likelihood of living to this age is small (ex ante survivability) or if the expected remaining lifetime is short (ex post survivability). Lower survivability of the poor explains half of the recent rise in life expectancy inequality in the US and the entire rise in Denmark. Cardiovascular mortality declines favored the poor, but differences in lifestyle-related survivability led inequality to rise.
    Keywords: life expectancy inequality, mortality inequality
    JEL: I14
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Axel H. Börsch-Supan; Johannes Rausch; Nicolas Goll
    Abstract: As much like other industrialized countries, in recent decades the employment rate in Germany for those aged 55 to 69 had been declining first to considerably rise again afterwards. This paper investigates the role of structural policy changes, in particular reforms of the pension system, since 1980 in explaining this trend reversal. We summarize the institutional changes and pension reforms that may account for the trend reversal, and calculate an “implicit tax on working longer”. We find that for both men and women the increase in the employment rate coincides with a reduction in the early retirement incentive. The reduction of incentives mainly stems from the introduction of actuarial deductions for early retirement and from the abolishment of specific early retirement pathways.
    JEL: H55 J26
    Date: 2020–07
  8. By: Alexander Ahammer; Martin Halla; Mario Lackner
    Abstract: Social distancing is important to slow the community spread of infectious disease, but it creates enormous economic and social cost. Thus, it is important to quantify the benefits of different measures. We study the ban of mass gatherings, an intervention with comparably low cost. We exploit exogenous spatial and temporal variation in NBA and NHL games—which arise due to the leagues’ predetermined schedules—and the suspension of the 2019-20 seasons. This allows us to estimate the impact of indoor mass gatherings on COVID-19 mortality in affected US counties. One additional mass gathering increased the cumulative number of COVID-19 deaths in affected counties by 9 percent.
    Keywords: Social distancing, mass gatherings, Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19.
    JEL: I18 H12 I10
    Date: 2020–06
  9. By: Farré, Lídia (University of Barcelona); Fawaz, Yarine (CEMFI, Madrid); Gonzalez, Libertad (Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Graves, Jennifer (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
    Abstract: The covid-19 pandemic led many countries to close schools and declare lockdowns during the Spring of 2020, with important impacts on the labor market. We document the effects of the covid-19 lockdown in Spain, which was hit early and hard by the pandemic and suffered one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. We collected rich household survey data in early May of 2020. We document large employment losses during the lockdown, especially in "quarantined" sectors and non-essential sectors that do not allow for remote work. Employment losses were mostly temporary, and hit lower-educated workers particularly hard. Women were slightly more likely to lose their job than men, and those who remained employed were more likely to work from home. The lockdown led to a large increase in childcare and housework, given the closing of schools and the inability to outsource. We find that men increased their participation in housework and childcare slightly, but most of the burden fell on women, who were already doing most of the housework before the lockdown. Overall, we find that the covid-19 crisis appears to have increased gender inequalities in both paid and unpaid work in the short-term.
    Keywords: COVID-19, gender roles, labor market, household work, childcare
    JEL: D13 J13 J16
    Date: 2020–07

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