nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒07
nine papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. This Time It's Different: The Role of Women's Employment in a Pandemic Recession By Titan Alon; Matthias Doepke; Jane Olmstead-Rumsey; Michèle Tertilt
  2. Do Women Face a Glass Ceiling at Home? The Division of Household Labor among Dual-Earner Couples By Tomas Lichard; Filip Pertold; Samuel Skoda
  3. Early Fertility Decline in the United States: Tests of Alternative Hypotheses using New Complete-Count Census Microdata and Enhanced County-Level Data By Michael R. Haines; J. David Hacker; Matthew S. Jaremski
  4. Discrimination and Racial Disparities in Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from WWII By Anna Aizer; Ryan Boone; Adriana Lleras-Muney; Jonathan Vogel
  5. Demographic Origins of the Decline in Labor's Share By Andrew Glover; Jacob Short
  6. Missing a Nurse Visit By Hirani, Jonas Lau-Jensen; Sievertsen, Hans Henrik; Wüst, Miriam
  7. Sustainability of Social Security in the Aging Economy from the Perspective of Improving Health By Tomoaki Kotera
  8. Exploring the Relationship between Care Homes and Excess Deaths in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Italy By Alacevich, Caterina; Cavalli, Nicolò; Giuntella, Osea; Lagravinese, Raffaele; Moscone, Francesco; Nicodemo, Catia
  9. Internal migration and the spread of Covid-19 By Michele Valsecchi; Ruben Durante

  1. By: Titan Alon; Matthias Doepke; Jane Olmstead-Rumsey; Michèle Tertilt
    Abstract: In recent US recessions, employment losses have been much larger for men than for women. Yet, in the current recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the opposite is true: unemployment is higher among women. In this paper, we analyze the causes and consequences of this phenomenon. We argue that women have experienced sharp employment losses both because their employment is concentrated in heavily affected sectors such as restaurants, and due to increased childcare needs caused by school and daycare closures, preventing many women from working. We analyze the repercussions of this trend using a quantitative macroeconomic model featuring heterogeneity in gender, marital status, childcare needs, and human capital. Our quantitative analysis suggests that a pandemic recession will i) feature a strong transmission from employment to aggregate demand due to diminished within-household insurance; ii) result in a widening of the gender wage gap throughout the recovery; and iii) contribute to a weakening of the gender norms that currently produce a lopsided distribution of the division of labor in home work and childcare.
    JEL: D13 E32 J16 J20
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Tomas Lichard; Filip Pertold; Samuel Skoda
    Abstract: In this paper we ask how the division of household labor varies across heterosexual dual-earner couples with different relative wages with a focus on differences between Southern and Western Europe. Using the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions we first show that high income married or cohabiting women do twice as much housework as single women in Southern Europe. Further, their time spent in household production relative to their spouses’ time in Southern Europe is the same regardless of their relative wages, while in Western Europe we find positive elasticity of substitution in household production with respect to relative wages. We thus present positive evidence for the presence of a “second-shift” that women face in Southern Europe, which may stem from regional gender norms. Our findings hold after instrumenting for relative wages using the relative wages of similar socio-economic groups in other countries.
    Keywords: household production; division of labor; gender gap; elasticity of substitution;
    JEL: J12 J16 D13
    Date: 2020–08
  3. By: Michael R. Haines; J. David Hacker; Matthew S. Jaremski
    Abstract: The U.S. fertility transition in the nineteenth century is unusual. Not only did it start from a very high fertility level and very early in the nation’s development, but it also took place long before the nation’s mortality transition, industrialization, and urbanization. This paper assembles new county-level, household-level, and individual-level data, including new complete-count IPUMS microdata databases of the 1830-1880 censuses, to evaluate different theories for the nineteenth-century American fertility transition. We construct cross-sectional models of net fertility for currently-married white couples in census years 1830-1880 and test the results with subset of couples linked between the 1850-1860 and 1860-1870 censuses. We find evidence of marital fertility control consistent with hypotheses as early as 1830. The results indicate support for several different but complementary theories of the early U.S. fertility decline, including the land availability, conventional structuralist, ideational, child demand/quality-quantity trade-off, and life-cycle savings theories.
    JEL: J13 N21 N31
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Anna Aizer; Ryan Boone; Adriana Lleras-Muney; Jonathan Vogel
    Abstract: The 1940s witnessed substantial reductions in the Black-white earnings gap. We study the role that domestic WWII defense production played in reducing this gap. Exploiting variation across labor markets in the allocation of war contracts to private firms, we find that war production contracts resulted in significant increases in the earnings of Black workers and declines in the racial wage gap, with no effect on white workers. This was achieved via occupational upgrading among Black men to skilled occupations. The gains largely persisted through at least 1970. Using a structural model, we show that declines in discrimination (and not migration or changes in productivity) account for all of the occupational upgrading and half of the estimated wage gains associated with the war production effort. Additionally, the war production effort explains one quarter (one seventh) of the overall improvements in racial gaps in occupation allocations (wages) witnessed over this decade. Finally, war spending led to an increase in the high school graduation rate of Black children, suggesting important intergenerational spillovers associated with declines in labor market discrimination.
    JEL: J24 J3 J7 N12 N4
    Date: 2020–08
  5. By: Andrew Glover; Jacob Short
    Abstract: Since 1980, the earnings share of older workers has risen in the United States, simultaneous with a historic decline in labor's share of income. We hypothesize that an aging workforce has contributed to the decline in labor's share. We formalize this hypothesis in an on-the-job search model, in which employers of older workers may have substantial monopsony power due to the decline in labor market dynamism that accompanies age. This manifests as a rising wedge between a worker's earnings and marginal product over the life-cycle. We estimate the age profile of these wedges using cross-industry responses of labor shares to changes in the age-distribution of earnings. We find that a sixty-year-old worker receives half of her marginal product relative to when she was twenty, which, together with recent demographic trends, can account for 59% of the recent decline in the U.S. labor share. Industrial heterogeneity in this age profile is consistent with the monopsony-power mechanism: highly unionized industries exhibit no relationship between age and payroll shares.
    Keywords: demographics, labor share, earnings distribution, income distribution
    JEL: J11 J31 E25
    Date: 2020–08
  6. By: Hirani, Jonas Lau-Jensen (VIVE - The Danish Centre for Applied Social Science); Sievertsen, Hans Henrik (University of Bristol); Wüst, Miriam (University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: While a large literature studies the impact of exposure to early-life investment policies, this paper examines the impact of changes within a program, the Danish nurse home visiting program, on child and maternal health. We exploit variation induced by a nurse strike, which resulted in families missing one of the four universally-provided nurse visit. Using variation in children's age at strike start, we show that early, but not later, strike exposure increases child and mother contacts to health professionals in the first four years after birth. Forgoing an early nurse visit also increases the probability of maternal contacts to mental health specialists in the first four years after childbirth. We highlight two potential channels for these results: screening and information provision. We show that–in non-strike years–nurses perform well in detecting maternal mental health risks during early visits, and that effects of early strike exposure are strongest for families that we expect to benefit most from information provided by nurses shortly after birth. A stylized calculation confirms that short-run health benefits from early universal home visiting outweigh costs.
    Keywords: early-life health, early interventions, nurse home visiting, parental investments
    JEL: I11 I12 I14 I18 I21
    Date: 2020–07
  7. By: Tomoaki Kotera (Economist, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan (currently, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University, E-mail:
    Abstract: An aging economy is widely believed to increase the recipients of Social Security and thus increase the fiscal burden. However, since the health condition of the elderly today is better than before and may continue to improve in the future, the number of elderly workers may increase. This paper studies the quantitative role of old workers in the sustainability of Social Security in an aging economy by developing a computable overlapping generations model with heterogeneous agents in a general equilibrium framework. The distinctive feature of the model is the incorporation of health status linked to survival probability, medical expenditures, and disutility of labor. The model simulation shows that old workers play a significant role in mitigating the fiscal cost and the effect remains pronounced when Social Security reform is implemented. It also highlights the crucial role of the projected future health status of the population in quantifying the fiscal cost.
    Keywords: Elderly Workers, Health, Social Security Reform, Benefit Claim, Overlapping Generations
    JEL: H55 I13 J22
    Date: 2020–08
  8. By: Alacevich, Caterina (Pompeu Fabra University); Cavalli, Nicolò (Bocconi University); Giuntella, Osea (University of Pittsburgh); Lagravinese, Raffaele (University of Bari); Moscone, Francesco (Brunel University); Nicodemo, Catia (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: We explore the relationship between the spatial distributions of excess deaths and care home facilities during the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy. Using registry-based mortality data (January 1st- March 31st, 2015-2020) for Lombardy, one of the areas hit most severely, we estimate that municipalities with care homes present significantly higher excess death rates among the elderly (+41%). We find that this effect is not driven by the size of care homes and of the vulnerable population that they host. Rather, our results suggest that the excess deaths did not occur only within care homes and these facilities acted as one of the possible catalysts in the diffusion of COVID-19 in the whole elderly population of their surrounding territory.
    Keywords: care homes, COVID-19, excess mortality
    JEL: I10 I18 I30
    Date: 2020–07
  9. By: Michele Valsecchi (New Economic School); Ruben Durante (Barcelona School of Economics and CEPR)
    Abstract: How does internal migration affect the spread of a pandemic? Looking at the case of Italy and using data on the province of origin of migrants located in outbreak areas, we document that provinces more exposed to the virus experience higher mortality in post-outbreak weeks, even when comparing provinces within the same region. We calculate that, had all non-outbreak provinces been as exposed as the one at the lowest decile of the exposure distribution, they would have experienced 60% fewer COVID-19 deaths. Additional evidence from phone records data confirms that the effect is mainly driven by increased mobility from outbreak areas.
    Keywords: internal migration, mobility, health, epidemic, Covid-19
    JEL: J61 R23 H12 I10
    Date: 2020–08

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