nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2021‒01‒04
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. When the Great Equalizer Shuts Down: Schools, Peers, and Parents in Pandemic Times By Francesco Agostinelli; Matthias Doepke; Giuseppe Sorrenti; Fabrizio Zilibotti
  2. The increasing influence of siblings in social mobility. A long-term historical view (Barcelona area, 16th-19th centuries) By Pujadas-Mora, Joana-Maria; Brea-Martinez, Gabriel
  3. How Important Is Health Inequality for Lifetime Earnings Inequality? By Roozbeh Hosseini; Karen A. Kopecky; Kai Zhao
  4. Immigration, Political Ideologies and the Polarization of American Politics By Axel Dreher; Sarah Langlotz; Johannes Matzat; Anna Maria Mayda; Christopher Parsons
  5. Recessions and mortality: a global perspective By Sebastian Doerr; Boris Hofmann

  1. By: Francesco Agostinelli (University of Pennsylvania); Matthias Doepke (Northwestern University); Giuseppe Sorrenti (University of Amsterdam); Fabrizio Zilibotti (Yale University)
    Abstract: What are the effects of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s education? Online education is an imperfect substitute for in-person learning, particularly for children from low-income families. Peer effects also change: schools allow children from different socio-economic backgrounds to mix together, and this effect is lost when schools are closed. Another factor is the response of parents, some of whom compensate for the changed environment through their own efforts, while others are unable to do so. We examine the interaction of these factors with the aid of a structural model of skill formation. We find that school closures have a large and persistent effect on educational outcomes that is highly unequal. High school students from poor neighborhoods suffer a learning loss of 0.4 standard deviations, whereas children from rich neighborhoods remain unscathed. The channels operating through schools, peers, and parents all contribute to growing educational inequality during the pandemic.
    Keywords: COVID-19, skill acquisition, peer effects, parenting, parenting style, neighborhood effects, pandemic
    JEL: I24 J13 J24 R20
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Pujadas-Mora, Joana-Maria; Brea-Martinez, Gabriel
    Abstract: Parental influence over children’s status attainment has historically been argued to be key. However, the cross-sibling influence has been scarcely studied for historical periods and for steam family societies, being the most long-lasting relationship across individuals’ lives once childhood was surpassed. We investigate how intra-generational family relationships determine the social destiny of siblings taking a long-term perspective (16th and the 19th centuries) for Barcelona and its hinterland, using the unique data compiled in the Barcelona Historical Marriage Database. This region was one of the most dynamic economic area in Southern Europe. We found the emergence of the figure of first-married siblings as determinants in the status attainment of other brothers and sisters and a decline in parental influence from the 18th century onwards for all social groups, denying a sibling competing model. This influence worked differently over time depending on sex. First-born sisters with exogamous marriages had a higher influence than first-married brothers on the social mobility of the rest of siblings along the 16th and 17th century. Conversely, from the 18th century onwards, first-married brothers had a higher ascendancy than first-married sisters. Sibship size and the siblings’ marriage order did not contribute to explain these effects. These results can be interpreted in light of an increase in life expectancy of adult population and a change in the occupational structure due to an early industrialization and in affectivity in the18th century.
    Date: 2020–12–16
  3. By: Roozbeh Hosseini (University of Georgia); Karen A. Kopecky (Emory University); Kai Zhao (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Using a dynamic panel approach, we provide empirical evidence that negative health shocks reduce earnings. The effect is primarily driven by the participation margin and is concentrated in less educated and poor health individuals. We build a dynamic, gen-eral equilibrium, lifecycle model that is consistent with these findings. In the model, individuals, whose health is risky and heterogeneous, choose to either work, or not work and apply for social security disability insurance (SSDI). Health impacts individuals’ productivity, SSDI access, disutility from work, mortality, and medical expenses. Cali-brating the model to the United States, we find that health inequality is an important source of lifetime earnings inequality: nearly 29 percent of the variation in lifetime earnings at age 65 is due to the fact that Americans face risky and heterogeneous life-cycle health profiles. A decomposition exercise reveals that the primary reason why individuals in the United States in poor health have low lifetime earnings is because they have a high probability of obtaining SSDI benefits. In other words, the SSDI program is an important contributor to lifetime earnings inequality. Despite this, we show that it is ex ante welfare improving and, if anything, should be expanded.
    Keywords: earnings, health, frailty, inequality, disability, dynamic panel estimation, life-cycle models
    JEL: D52 D91 E21 H53 I13 I18
    Date: 2020–12
  4. By: Axel Dreher; Sarah Langlotz; Johannes Matzat; Anna Maria Mayda; Christopher Parsons
    Abstract: We study the extent to which migrant inflows to the United States affect the political polarization of campaign donors and the ideology of politicians campaigning for the House of Representatives in the 1992-2016 period. Implementing various polarization measures based on ideology data derived from 16 million campaign finance contributors, our results show that migrant inflows causally increase the polarization of both campaign donations and leading political candidates. Our estimates hold over the medium-run, although the effects decline over time. The effects of migration are stronger if counties host migrants from more distant cultures, or if incoming migrants are similarly educated. Our main results hold when we focus on refugees as opposed to all immigrants on aggregate.
    Keywords: migration, refugees, polarization, political ideology, United States
    JEL: J15 F52 F63
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Sebastian Doerr; Boris Hofmann
    Abstract: Using panel data covering 180 countries over six decades, this paper shows that recessions are systematically associated with higher mortality rates. During years when GDP falls, death rates rise, primarily in emerging market and developing economies and there among children in particular. In advanced economies, death rates increase only slightly. We further nd that the scarring effects of recessions persist for several years and that deeper recessions lead to larger increases in mortality. In contrast, booms or periods of subdued growth are not associated with a marked decline in death rates. Our ndings have implications for the policy response to Covid-19 and suggest that the eventual death toll of the pandemic may be understated if the impact of the coronavirus recession is neglected.
    Keywords: recession, mortality, pandemic, virus containment, lockdown, Covid-19
    JEL: H12 I10 I18 E32
    Date: 2020–12

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