nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒28
eight papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Modern Infectious Diseases: Macroeconomic Impacts and Policy Responses By Bloom, David E.; Kuhn, Michael; Prettner, Klaus
  2. Female entrepreneurship: business, marriage and motherhood in England and Wales, 1851–1911 By van Lieshout, Carry; Smith, Harry; Montebruno, Piero; Bennett, Robert
  3. Pandemics, Poverty, and Social Cohesion: Lessons from the Past and Possible Solutions for COVID-19 By Remi Jedwab; Amjad M. Khan; Richard Damania; Jason Russ; Esha D. Zaveri
  4. Misinformation During a Pandemic By Leonardo Bursztyn; Aakaash Rao; Christopher Roth; David Yanagizawa-Drott
  5. Wages, Experience and Training of Women over the Lifecycle By Richard Blundell; Monica Costa Dias; David Goll; Costas Meghir
  6. The Impact of the Length of Schooling on the Timing of Family Formation By Josefine Koebe; Jan Marcus
  7. The Power to Protect: Household Bargaining and Female Condom Use By Rachel Cassidy; Marije Groot Bruinderink; Wendy Janssens; Karlijn Morsink
  8. The EITC and Maternal Time Use: More Time Working and Less Time with Kids? By Jacob Bastian; Lance Lochner

  1. By: Bloom, David E. (Harvard University); Kuhn, Michael (Vienna Institute of Demography); Prettner, Klaus (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: We discuss and review literature on the macroeconomic effects of epidemics and pandemics since the late 20th century. First, we cover the role of health in driving economic growth and well-being and discuss standard frameworks for assessing the economic burden of infectious diseases. Second, we sketch a general theoretical framework to evaluate the tradeoffs policymakers must consider when addressing infectious diseases and their macroeconomic repercussions. In so doing, we emphasize the dependence of economic consequences on (i) disease characteristics; (ii) inequalities among individuals in terms of susceptibility, preferences, and income; and (iii) cross-country heterogeneities in terms of their institutional and macroeconomic environments. Third, we study pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical policies aimed at mitigating and preventing infectious diseases and their macroeconomic repercussions. Fourth, we discuss the health toll and economic impacts of five infectious diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, and COVID-19. Although major epidemics and pandemics can take an enormous human toll and impose a staggering economic burden, early and targeted health and economic policy interventions can often mitigate both to a substantial degree.
    Keywords: inequality, pandemics, epidemics, COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, infectious disease, economic burden of disease, economic growth, health, economic epidemiology, SIR Model, general equilibrium macroeconomic models, welfare, human capital, health policy
    JEL: D58 E10 E20 I12 I15 I18 I31 O40
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: van Lieshout, Carry; Smith, Harry; Montebruno, Piero; Bennett, Robert
    Abstract: This article offers a new perspective on what it meant to be a business proprietor in Victorian Britain. Based on individual census records, it provides an overview of the full population of female business proprietors in England and Wales between 1851 and 1911. These census data show that around 30% of the total business population was female, a considerably higher estimate than the current literature suggests. Female entrepreneurship was not a uniform experience. Certain demographics clustered in specific trades and within those sectors employers and own-account proprietors had strikingly different age, marital status and household profiles. A woman’s life cycle event such as marriage, motherhood and widowhood played an important role in her decision whether to work, the work available to her and the entrepreneurial choices she could make. While marriage and motherhood removed women from the labour force, they had less of an effect on their levels of entrepreneurship. Women who had young children were more entrepreneurial than those who had none, and entrepreneurship rates rose with the arrival of one child and continued to rise the more children were added to the family.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; women; gender; Victorian Britain; nineteenth century; life cycle; motherhood
    JEL: B54 D1 D91 L26 M13 N83
    Date: 2019–04–09
  3. By: Remi Jedwab (George Washington University); Amjad M. Khan (The World Bank); Richard Damania (The World Bank); Jason Russ (The World Bank); Esha D. Zaveri (The World Bank)
    Abstract: Since COVID-19 broke out, there has been renewed interest in understanding the economic and social dynamics of historical and more recent pandemics and epidemics, from the plagues of Antiquity to modern-day outbreaks like Ebola. These events can have significant impacts on the interplay between poverty and social cohesion, i.e. how different groups in society interact and cooperate to survive and prosper. To that effect, this survey paper provides an overview of how social responses to past pandemics and epidemics were determined by the epidemiological and non-epidemiological characteristics of these outbreaks, with a particular focus on the scapegoating and persecution of minority groups, including migrants. More precisely, we discuss existing theories as well as historical and quantitative studies, and highlight the cases and contexts where pandemics may lead to milder or more severe forms of scapegoating. Finally, we conclude with a summary of priorities for future research on pandemics and social cohesion and discuss the possible effects and policy implications of COVID-19.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemics, Epidemics, Disasters, Social Cohesion, Stigmatization, Minority Persecution, Conflict, Poverty, Migration, Social Capital, Trust
    JEL: O15 O18 I15 I19 J61 J71
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Leonardo Bursztyn (University of Chicago and NBER); Aakaash Rao (Harvard University); Christopher Roth (University of Warwick, CAGE Warwick, CESifo, CEPR, briq); David Yanagizawa-Drott (University of Zurich and CEPR)
    Abstract: We study the effects of news coverage of COVID-19 by the two most widely-viewed cable news shows in the United States ÑHannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight, both on Fox News Ñ on viewersÕ behavior and downstream health outcomes. Carlson warned viewers about the threat posed by COVID-19 from early February, while Hannity originally dismissed the associated risks before gradually adjusting his position starting late February. We first validate these differences in content with independent coding of show transcripts and present new survey evidence that HannityÕs viewers changed behavior in response to COVID-19 later than other Fox News viewers, while CarlsonÕs viewers changed behavior earlier. We then document a robust association between viewership of Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight and COVID-19 cases and deaths, both through a selection-on-observables strategy and through a novel instrumental variable approach exploiting variation in when shows are broadcast relative to local Òprime-timeÓ viewing hours. We assess effect sizes through a simple epidemiological model and provide additional evidence that misinformation is an important mechanism driving the observed effects.
    Keywords: Media, Health, Coronavirus
    JEL: D1 I31 Z13
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Richard Blundell (University College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Monica Costa Dias (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Porto); David Goll (University College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Costas Meghir (Cowles Foundation, Yale University, NBER, IZA, CEPR, and Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We investigate the role of training in reducing the gender wage gap using the UK-BHPS. Based on a lifecycle model and using tax and welfare benefit reforms as a source of exogenous variation we evaluate the role of formal training and experience in defining the evolution of wages and employment careers, conditional on education. Training is potentially important in compensating for the e?ects of children, especially for women who left education after completing high school, but does not fundamentally change the wage gap resulting from labor market interruptions following child birth.
    Keywords: Workplace training, On the job training, Female labor supply, Gender wage differentials, Human capital, Fertility and the gender wage gap, Lifecycle labor supply
    JEL: E24 H24 I26 I28 J16 J22 J24 J31 J71
    Date: 2019–04
  6. By: Josefine Koebe; Jan Marcus
    Abstract: Individuals typically traverse several life phases before forming a family. We analyse whether changing the duration of one of these phases, the education phase, affects the timing of marriage and childbearing. For this purpose, we exploit the introduction of short school years in Germany in 1966-67, which compressed the education phase without affecting the curriculum. Based on difference-in-differences regressions and German Micro Census data, we find that earlier graduation due to short school year exposure affects the timing of marriage for individuals in all secondary school tracks and shifts forward the birth of the first child mainly for academic-track graduates. This highlights that education policies might not only affect family formation through human capital accumulation, but also through changing the duration of earlier life phases. This is important as not only age at marriage and first birth increases in many countries, but also the duration of the education phase.
    Keywords: family formation, instruction time, fertility, marriage
    JEL: I26 J12 J13 J24
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Rachel Cassidy (World Bank); Marije Groot Bruinderink (University of Amsterdam); Wendy Janssens (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Karlijn Morsink (Utrecht University)
    Abstract: Women may face systematically greater benefits than men from adopting certain technologies. Yet women often hold lower bargaining power, meaning that men's preferences may constrain household adoption when decisions are joint. When low female bargaining power constrains adoption of the first-best technology, introducing a version of the technology that is second-best in terms of cost or effectiveness, but more acceptable to men, may increase adoption and welfare. This paper contributes the first explicit model and test of the trade-offs when introducing a second-best technology in such a setting. We conduct a field experiment introducing female condoms (which are less effective and more expensive than male condoms, but often preferred by men) in an area with high HIV prevalence. We observe an increase in the likelihood that women have sex and find strongest adoption of female condoms among women with lower bargaining power, who were previously having unprotected sex.
    JEL: C78 O33 C93 J16 I12
    Date: 2020–09–15
  8. By: Jacob Bastian; Lance Lochner
    Abstract: Parents spend considerable sums investing in their children's development, with their own time among the most important forms of investment. Given well-documented effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on maternal labor supply, it is natural to ask how the EITC affects other time allocation decisions, especially time with children. We use the American Time Use Surveys to study the effects of EITC expansions since 2003 on time devoted to a broad array of activities, with considerable attention to the amount and nature of time spent with children. Our results confirm prior evidence that the EITC increases maternal work and reduces time devoted to home production and leisure. More novel, we show that the EITC also reduces time spent with children; however, almost none of the reduction comes from time devoted to ``investment'' activities. Effects are concentrated among socioeconomically disadvantaged mothers, especially those that are unmarried. Results are also most apparent for mothers of young children. Altogether, our results suggest that the increased work associated with EITC expansions over time has done little to reduce the time mothers devote to active learning and development activities with their children.
    JEL: D13 H24 H31 H53 I31 I38 J13 J22
    Date: 2020–08

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