nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2020‒11‒16
three papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Who Married, (to) Whom, and Where? Trends in Marriage in the United States, 1850-1940 By Olivetti, Claudia; Paserman, M. Daniele; Salisbury, Laura; Weber, E. Anna
  2. Motherhood, Labor Market Trajectories, and the Allocation of Talent: Harmonized Evidence on 29 Countries By Inés Berniell; Lucila Berniell; Dolores de la Mata; María Edo; Yarine Fawaz; Matilde P. Machado; Mariana Marchionni
  3. Pension Reform in Sweden: Sustainability and Adequacy of Public Pensions By Hanna Aspegren; Jorge Durán; Maarten Masselink

  1. By: Olivetti, Claudia (Dartmouth College); Paserman, M. Daniele (Boston University); Salisbury, Laura (York University); Weber, E. Anna (Boston University)
    Abstract: We present new findings about the relationship between marriage and socioeconomic background in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Imputing socioeconomic status of family of origin from first names, we document a socioeconomic gradient for women in the probability of marriage and the socioeconomic status of husbands. This socioeconomic gradient becomes steeper over time. We investigate the degree to which it can be explained by occupational income divergence across geographic regions. Regional divergence explains about one half of the socioeconomic divergence in the probability of marriage, and almost all of the increase in marital sorting. Differences in urbanization rates and the share of foreign-born across states drive most of these differences, while other factors (the scholarization rate, the sex ratio and the share in manufacturing) play a smaller role.
    Keywords: marriage, assortative mating, gender, intergenerational mobility, regional convergence
    JEL: J12 J62 N31 N32 N91 N92
    Date: 2020–10
  2. By: Inés Berniell (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP); Lucila Berniell (CAF); Dolores de la Mata (CAF); María Edo (Universidad de San Andrés); Yarine Fawaz (CEMFI); Matilde P. Machado (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Mariana Marchionni (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP and CONICET)
    Abstract: In this paper we assess whether changes in labor market decisions upon motherhood lead to potential inefficient allocations of talent. Using an event study approach with retrospective data drawn from SHARE for 29 European countries we show that motherhood effects go beyond the well studied effects of labor market participation decisions: the arrival of the first child substantially affects the uptaking of alternative modes of employment, such as part-time and self-employment, that are characterized by flexible or reduced work schedules but also lower pay on average. We also show that the size of labor market responses to motherhood are larger in societies with more conservative social-norms or with weak policies regarding work-life balance. To assess the effects of motherhood over the allocation of talent, we explore how labor market responses to parenthood vary by alternative measures of talent or ability. We find that all women, even those with the highest level of ability and abler than their husbands face large motherhood effects, while men show virtually no changes in the labor market when becoming fathers. We also find that mothers who become self-employed after the birth of the first child are those that are less entrepreneurial-able according to cognitive ability and personality traits shown to impair business survival. Overall, our results suggest relevant changes in the allocation of talent caused by gender differences in nonmarket responsibilities that can have sizable impacts on aggregate market productivity.
    JEL: J13 J16 J24
    Date: 2020–11
  3. By: Hanna Aspegren; Jorge Durán; Maarten Masselink
    Abstract: The Swedish pension system was among the first to shift to a system of notional accounts. The aim was to render it fair, transparent, and sustainable and the reform enjoyed a broad consensus across the political spectrum. The reform was radical and complemented the public pension with an occupational pension. In addition, while the public pension remained pay-as-you-go, it became a defined-contribution scheme: contributions are fixed and benefits are later computed as a function of these contributions and life expectancy. This paper takes stock 20 years after the reform. It argues that the reform has rendered the system fiscally sustainable and politically stable but raises concerns about benefits' adequacy because the cost of ageing is shifted onto pensioners. Substandard pensions may lead to ad hoc interventions that go against the aim of automatism/transparency. These adjustments may be seen as hidden costs that could ultimately put pressure on the very sustainability the new scheme is supposed to guarantee.
    Keywords: Pension reform, Adequacy, Public pension, Occupational pension, Aspegren, Durán, Masselink.
    JEL: H55 J32
    Date: 2019–07

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