nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2021‒06‒28
seven papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. From early life BMI to later life childlessness: consistency across race/ethnicity and mediation by union formation dynamics in the US NLSY79 cohort By D. Susie Lee; Natalie Nitsche; Kieron J. Barclay
  2. Generational Distribution of Fiscal Burdens: A Positive Analysis By Uchida, Yuki; Ono, Tetsuo
  3. Family Background, Neighborhoods and Intergenerational Mobility By Magne Mogstad; Gaute Torsvik
  4. The Family as a Social Institution By Natalie Bau; Raquel Fernández
  5. How Does Social Security Reform Indecision Affect Younger Cohorts? By John B. Shoven; Sita Slavov; John G. Watson
  6. Gender Differences in Peer Recognition by Economists By David Card; Stefano DellaVigna; Patricia Funk; Nagore Iriberri
  7. Early-life Famine Exposure, Hunger Recall and Later-life Health By Zichen Deng; Maarten Lindeboom

  1. By: D. Susie Lee (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Natalie Nitsche (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Kieron J. Barclay (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Demographic studies on childlessness have typically focused on the social underpinnings of fertility behaviors. However, growing evidence indicates that health during early adulthood, as measured by indicators including body mass index (BMI), predicts population level variation in lifetime fertility. Using the NLSY79 data, we examine the association between BMI during early adulthood and childlessness at age 40+ by race/ethnicity, a major social axis for differences in both BMI and childbearing contexts in the United States. We find that being obese or underweight was consistently linked to higher lifetime childlessness in both sexes, compared to their healthy BMI counterparts, and that this pattern was broadly similar across Hispanic, black and non-Hispanic and non-black groups. Among the obese, but not the underweight, much of the BMI-childlessness association was driven by lower chances to ever marry, and marrying at older ages if marriage occurred. Finally, obese women were more likely to deviate from the common preference for two children, but this difference in fertility preferences played a minor role in the early BMI differentials for childlessness. This study suggests that the influence of early life BMI on childlessness and fertility manifests itself through complex intersections of physiological, psychological, and social/behavioral mechanisms.
    Keywords: USA, body weight, completed fertility, desired family size, ethnicity, health, marital union, races, sex differentials
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Uchida, Yuki; Ono, Tetsuo
    Abstract: This study presents a political economy model with overlapping generations to analyze the effects of population aging on fiscal policy formation and the resulting distribution of the fiscal burden across generations. The analysis focuses on the role of endogenous labor supply and shows that increased political weight of the old, arising from population aging, leads to an increase in the ratios of public debt and labor income tax revenue to GDP and an initial decrease followed by an increase in the ratio of capital income tax revenue to GDP. The result fits well with the evidence in OECD countries.
    Keywords: Generational burden; Overlapping generations; Political economy; Population aging; Public debt
    JEL: D70 E24 E62 H60
    Date: 2021–05–14
  3. By: Magne Mogstad; Gaute Torsvik
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on intergenerational mobility. While our review is centered around the large empirical literature on this topic, we also give a brief discussion of some of the relevant theory. We consider three strands of the empirical literature. First, we discuss how to measure intergenerational persistence in various socio-economic outcomes. We discuss both measurement challenges and some notable findings. We then turn to quantifying the importance of family environment and genetic factors for children's outcomes. We describe the pros and cons of various approaches as well as key findings. The third strand is concerned with drawing causal inferences about how children's outcomes are affected by specific features of their family environment. We discuss a wide range of environmental features, including the neighborhoods in which children grow up. We critically assess what conclusions one may and may not draw from certain celebrated studies of neighborhoods and intergenerational mobility.
    JEL: D1 J13 J24 J62
    Date: 2021–05
  4. By: Natalie Bau; Raquel Fernández
    Abstract: This handbook chapter focuses on important interactions between the family and culture. We discuss the wide range of global variation in family institutions, variation which is in part sustained by cultural differences, and important recent changes in family structures. The chapter discusses why different family institutions arise, when they persist, and what forces may lead them to change. Furthermore, it examines changes in key family outcomes, such as the rise of female labor force participation, the decline in marriage, and the increase in divorce. These changes have been accompanied by and interact with cultural change. Finally, we show how cultural institutions related to the family, such as son preference, co-residence traditions, polygyny, and marriage payments, affect decision-making within the family and interact with policy. We conclude that studying the family in a vacuum, without accounting for the role of culture, may lead to misleading conclusions regarding the effects of policies, macroeconomic shocks, or technological change.
    JEL: I0 J11 J12 J13 J14 J16 O11 O12
    Date: 2021–06
  5. By: John B. Shoven; Sita Slavov; John G. Watson
    Abstract: The Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in the early 2030s. The U.S. government will need to make a choice about how to address the impending trust fund exhaustion, but it is unclear what it will choose to do. This indecision leaves young and middle-aged workers not knowing whether they will face Social Security benefit cuts, payroll tax increases, or an increase in the full retirement age. This uncertainty about what will happen in the future causes young and middle-aged cohorts who are saving for retirement to make mistakes that could be avoided if the government decided earlier what will happen when the trust fund runs dry. This paper examines the cost of government indecision on Social Security reform. We calculate the value that people in different income classes and different birth cohorts would receive if the government decided now what it will do when the trust funds are exhausted. We find that the cost of indecision can be large. In some cases, the value of knowing today what the policy change will be in 2035 is worth more than two months of labor market earnings.
    JEL: G5 G51 H55 J26
    Date: 2021–05
  6. By: David Card; Stefano DellaVigna; Patricia Funk; Nagore Iriberri
    Abstract: We study the selection of Fellows of the Econometric Society, using a new data set of publications and citations for over 40,000 actively publishing economists since the early 1900s. Conditional on achievement, we document a large negative gap in the probability that women were selected as Fellows in the 1933-1979 period. This gap became positive (though not statistically significant) from 1980 to 2010, and in the past decade has become large and highly significant, with over a 100% increase in the probability of selection for female authors relative to males with similar publications and citations. The positive boost affects highly qualified female candidates (in the top 10% of authors) with no effect for the bottom 90%. Using nomination data for the past 30 years, we find a key proximate role for the Society's Nominating Committee in this shift. Since 2012 the Committee has had an explicit mandate to nominate highly qualified women, and its nominees enjoy above-average election success (controlling for achievement). Looking beyond gender, we document similar shifts in the premium for geographic diversity: in the mid-2000s, both the Fellows and the Nominating Committee became significantly more likely to nominate and elect candidates from outside the US. Finally, we examine gender gaps in several other major awards for US economists. We show that the gaps in the probability of selection of new fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences closely parallel those of the Econometric Society, with historically negative penalties for women turning to positive premiums in recent years.
    JEL: J16
    Date: 2021–06
  7. By: Zichen Deng (Norwegian School of Economics); Maarten Lindeboom (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We use newly collected individual-level hunger recall information from the China Family Panel Survey to estimate the causal effect of undernourishment on later-life health. We develop a Two-Sample Instrumental Variable (TSIV) estimator that can deal with heterogeneous samples. We find a non-linear relationship between the Great Chinese Famine and hunger recall. The non-linearity in famine exposure may explain the variation in the famine’s effect on later life health found in previous studies. We also find that exposure to famine-induced hunger early in life leads to worse health among females fifty years later. This effect is larger than the reduced-form effect found in previous studies. For males, we find no impact.
    Keywords: famine, hunger, developmental origins, two-sample instrumental variable
    JEL: I12 J11 C21 C26
    Date: 2021–06–19

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