nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2021‒09‒20
six papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. The Great Transition: Kuznets Facts for Family-Economists By Jeremy Greenwood; Nezih Guner; Ricardo Marto
  2. Work-family typologies and mental health among women in early working ages By Karen van Hedel; Heta Moustgaard; Mikko Myrskylä; Pekka Martikainen
  3. On the Family Origins of Human Capital Formation: Evidence from Donor Children By Lundborg, Petter; Plug, Erik; Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz
  4. Pension design and the failed economics of squirrels By Barr, Nicholas
  5. Economics of Marriage Bars By Mosca, Irene; Wright, Robert E.
  6. The casual effect of fertility: The multiple problems with instrumental variables for the number of children in families By Öberg, Stefan

  1. By: Jeremy Greenwood (University of Pennsylvania); Nezih Guner (CEMFI, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros); Ricardo Marto (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: The 20th century beheld a dramatic transformation of the family. Some Kuznets style facts regarding structural change in the family are presented. Over the course of the 20th century in the United States fertility declined, educational attainment waxed, housework fell, leisure increased, jobs shifted from blue to white collar, and marriage waned. These trends are also observed in the cross-country data. A model is developed, and then calibrated, to address the trends in the US data. The calibration procedure is closely connected to the underlying economic logic. Three drivers of the great transition are considered: neutral technological progress, skilled-biased technological change, and drops in the price of labor-saving household durables.
    Keywords: Average weekly hours, blue-collar jobs, calibration, college premium, education, family economics, fertility, housework, Kuznets, leisure, market work, marriage, neutral technological progress, price of labor-saving household durables, skilled-biased technological change, white-collar jobs.
    JEL: D10 E13 J10 O10
    Date: 2021–09
  2. By: Karen van Hedel (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Heta Moustgaard; Mikko Myrskylä (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Pekka Martikainen (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Better mental health is observed among women with a partner, children, or employment as compared with women without a partner, children, or employment, respectively. Moreover, women who fulfill all three roles are generally healthier than those with fewer roles. Because of significant changes in work-family life constellations over age, understanding these health differentials requires a life course approach. We linked work-family trajectories to mental health in mid-life for Finnish women using longitudinal registry data. Panel data from an 11% random sample of the population residing in Finland in any year between 1987 and 2007 and followed up until 2013 were used. Work-family combinations were based on partnership status, motherhood status, and employment status. Purchases of prescribed psychotropic medication were used as a measure of mental health. We used sequence analysis to identify 7 distinct groups of women based on their work-family trajectories between ages 20 to 42 years. The associations of typologies of trajectories with mental health at age 43 years were estimated with logistic regression models. Compared to employed mothers with a partner, all other women were more likely to have purchased any psychotropic medication at age 43; especially women without a partner, children or employment and lone mothers had worse mental health. These disadvantages remained after controlling for psychotropic medication purchases earlier in life (to account for potential health selection). Adjusting for age at motherhood did not contribute to the better mental health of employed mothers with a partner. Women combining partnership, motherhood, and employment during early working ages had better mental health later in life than women with other work-family trajectories even after adjusting for mental health earlier in life. Interventions to improve the mental health of women living alone in mid-life, including lone mothers, and individuals without employment, may be needed. Keywords: Work-family life; Mental health; Finland; Life course approach; Sequence analysis; Psychotropic medication use
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Lundborg, Petter (Lund University); Plug, Erik (University of Amsterdam); Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: We introduce a novel strategy to study the intergenerational transmission of human capital, net of genetic skill transfers. For this purpose, we use unique data on children conceived through sperm and egg donation in IVF treatments in Denmark. Because the assignment of donors is not selective, the intergenerational human capital estimates allow for a causal nurture interpretation. Once we take account of genes, we find that only the education of mothers matters: the association between mother's education and child test scores is significant and large, whereas the association between father's education and child test scores is insignificant and practically zero.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, human capital, donor children
    JEL: I24 J62
    Date: 2021–09
  4. By: Barr, Nicholas
    Abstract: This paper explores the nature of reciprocity between workers and pensioners, starting from the observation that what pensioners consume has mostly to be produced by younger workers, and therefore reciprocity in some form is inherent. The opening section argues that a worker can try to arrange consumption in retirement by (a) storing current production or (b) building claims on future production. However, storing current production (the squirrels model) does not work well, so that the main vehicle is building claims on future production. There are two approaches to doing so – through promises (which lie at the core of Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) plans), or by accumulating financial assets which can be exchanged for goods and services (the basis of funded plans). The second part of the paper establishes that a central element in assessing pension arrangements is the extent to which investment is in productive assets. The third part considers the durability of different pension regimes. The paper’s central conclusions are (a) that reciprocity is inherent in pension plans, (b) that the specifics of pension design are in many ways secondary, and (c) that what really matters are economic growth (increasing what is available to share between workers and pensioners) and good government (which will manage PAYG pensions responsibly and/or sustain the economic stability and regulatory capacity that underpin funded pensions).
    Keywords: pensions; funding; pay-as-you-go; reciprocity; social security; saving; investment
    JEL: D63 E21 E22 E24 J14 J18
    Date: 2021–09–06
  5. By: Mosca, Irene; Wright, Robert E.
    Abstract: A Marriage Bar is the requirement that women working in certain jobs must leave that job when they marry. In the twentieth century, Marriage Bars were not unusual internationally. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, legislative provisions that required women to resign at marriage were introduced in several countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK. Spill-overs to jobs not strictly covered by the Marriage Bar were also common. This chapter critically reviews, from an economics perspective, the background, the history and the impacts of Marriage Bars. This chapter has four aims. The first is to summarise the arguments provided by government officials and employers to justify both the introduction and the retention of Marriage Bars. The second is to provide a cross-country comparison of Marriage Bars. The third is to investigate the potential impacts of the Marriage Bar on women's behavior with respect to employment, marriage and education. The fourth is to highlight potential avenues for future research. Although Marriage Bars do not exist anymore, they are still a serious topic of current debate. Much more can be learned about important topics, such as discrimination, from carrying out research focused on Marriage Bars.
    Keywords: Marriage Bar,international,women,behavior
    JEL: J2 J4 J7
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Öberg, Stefan
    Abstract: Studies investigating how the number of children in a family affects the parents or the children face problems because the variable of interest is endogenous in the model. The currently accepted solution to this problem is to use instrumental variables (IVs), for example, based on twin births. In this paper, I review and add to the critique of IVs based on twin births and show that that there are so many issues—major and minor—with these IVs that results based on them are not reliable or interpretable. I also review other IVs used in the literature, for example IVs based on the sexes of the firstborn children, and conclude that there are, as of yet, no credible IVs for the number of children. We need to disregard results from studies applying these IVs, reevaluate the current state of knowledge, and develop new, more credible methods.
    Date: 2021–09–14

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