nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2021‒12‒13
nine papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Understanding the Rise in Life Expectancy Inequality By Dahl, Gordon B.; Kreiner, Claus Thustrup; Nielsen, Torben Heien; Serena, Benjamin Ly
  2. Demographic Transitions Across Time and Space By Matthew J. Delventhal; Jesús Fernández-Villaverde; Nezih Guner
  3. Inequality in Early Care Experienced by U.S. Children By Flood, Sarah; McMurry, Joel; Sojourner, Aaron; Wiswall, Matthew
  4. Does paternity leave promote gender equality within households? By Libertad González Luna; Hosny Zoabi
  5. Gene-Environment Effects on Female Fertility By Barban, Nicola; De Cao, Elisabetta; Francesconi, Marco
  6. The Differential Impacts of Contingent Employment on Fertility: Evidence from Australia By Wooden, Mark; Trinh, Trong-Anh; Mooi-Reci, Irma
  7. Evolution Of Sex Gap In Life Expectancy Across High-Income Countries: Universal Patterns And Country-Specific Attributes By Marina Vergeles
  8. What is the child-related compensational pension system good for and what is not? By Németh, Petra; Szabó-Bakos, Eszter
  9. Population Growth, Immigration and Labour Market Dynamics By Elsby, Michael; Smith, Jennifer C.; Wadsworth, Jonathan

  1. By: Dahl, Gordon B. (University of California, San Diego); Kreiner, Claus Thustrup (University of Copenhagen); Nielsen, Torben Heien (University of Copenhagen); Serena, Benjamin Ly (University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We provide a novel decomposition of changing gaps in life expectancy between rich and poor into differential changes in age-specific mortality rates and differences in "survivability". Declining age-specific mortality rates increases life expectancy, but the gain is small if the likelihood of living to this age is small (ex ante survivability) or if the expected remaining lifetime is short (ex post survivability). Lower survivability of the poor explains between one-third and one-half of the recent rise in life expectancy inequality in the US and the entire change in Denmark. Our analysis shows that the recent widening of mortality rates between rich and poor due to lifestyle-related diseases does not explain much of the rise in life expectancy inequality. Rather, the dramatic 50% reduction in cardiovascular deaths, which benefited both rich and poor, made initial differences in lifestyle-related mortality more consequential via survivability.
    Keywords: mortality, life expectancy, inequality
    JEL: I14 J10
    Date: 2021–09
  2. By: Matthew J. Delventhal; Jesús Fernández-Villaverde; Nezih Guner
    Abstract: The demographic transition --the move from a high fertility/high mortality regime into a low fertility/low mortality regime-- is one of the most fundamental transformations that countries undertake. To study demographic transitions across time and space, we compile a data set of birth and death rates for 186 countries spanning more than 250 years. We document that (i) a demographic transition has been completed or is ongoing in nearly every country; (ii) the speed of transition has increased over time; and (iii) having more neighbors that have started the transition is associated with a higher probability of a country beginning its own transition. To account for these observations, we build a quantitative model in which parents choose child quantity and educational quality. Countries differ in geographic location, and improved production and medical technologies diffuse outward from Great Britain. Our framework replicates well the timing and increasing speed of transitions. It also produces a correlation between the speeds of fertility transition and increases in schooling similar to the one in the data.
    JEL: J13 N13 O11 O33 O40
    Date: 2021–11
  3. By: Flood, Sarah (University of Minnesota); McMurry, Joel (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Sojourner, Aaron (University of Minnesota); Wiswall, Matthew (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Abstract: Using every major nationally-representative dataset on parental and non-parental care provided to children up to age 6, we quantify differences in American children's care experiences by socioeconomic status (SES), proxied primarily with maternal education. Increasingly, higher-SES children spend less time with their parents and more time in the care of others. Non-parental care for high-SES children is more likely to be in childcare centers, where average quality is higher, and less likely to be provided by relatives where average quality is lower. Even within types of childcare, higher-SES children tend to receive care of higher measured quality and higher cost. Inequality is evident at home as well: measures of parental enrichment at home, from both self-reports and outside observers, are on average higher for higher-SES children. We also find that parental and non-parental quality is reinforcing: children who receive higher quality non-parental care also tend to receive higher quality parental care. Head Start, one of the largest government care subsidy programs for low-income households, reduces inequality in care provided, but it is mainly limited to older children and to the lowest income households. Our evidence is from the pre-COVID-19 period, and the latest year we examine is 2019.
    Keywords: child care, inequality, child development, human capital, skill formation
    JEL: I24 J13
    Date: 2021–09
  4. By: Libertad González Luna; Hosny Zoabi
    Abstract: We consider a non-cooperative model of the household, in which the husband and wife decide on parental leave and the allocation of time between child rearing and the labor market. They can choose the non-cooperative outside option or cooperate by reaching an agreement of specialization in which the wife specializes in raising kids (home production) while the husband works and transfers consumption to his wife. The model identifies three distinct groups of couples: Egalitarian couples (with a sufficiently low gender wage gap), Intermediate-gap couples (with an intermediate gender wage gap) and high-gap couples (with a sufficiently high gender wage gap). Our model predicts that while egalitarian couples never specialize and always share home production, those with intermediate and high gaps do have such an agreement. An expansion in paternity leave reduces the net benefits from the agreement and moves the intermediate-gap couples to their outside option where women work more and men do more home production. As a result, the cost of raising children increases and fertility declines. Assuming a loss of utility from children in the case of divorce, lower fertility increases the probability of divorce. Using Spanish data and RDD analysis, we confirm our model’s predictions. Specifically, while we don’t find systematic effects of paternity leave expansion on egalitarian and high-gap couples, we find that, among intermediate-gap couples, the two-week paternity leave introduced in 2007 resulted in a reduction in fertility by up to 60%, an increase in the probability to divorce by 37%, and an increase in father’s childcare and housework time as much as 2-3 hours per day.
    Keywords: Gender equality, specialization, fertility, divorce, time allocation
    JEL: D13 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2021–11
  5. By: Barban, Nicola (University of Bologna); De Cao, Elisabetta (London School of Economics); Francesconi, Marco (University of Essex)
    Abstract: Fertility has a strong biological component generally ignored by economists. Using the UK Biobank, we analyze the extent to which genes, proxied by polygenic scores, and the environment, proxied by early exposure to the contraceptive pill diffusion, affect age at first sexual intercourse, age at first birth, completed family size, and childlessness. Both genes and environment exert substantial influences on all outcomes. The anticipation of sexual debut and the postponement of motherhood led by the diffusion of the pill are magnified by gene-environment interactions, while the decline in family size and the rise in childlessness associated with female emancipation are attenuated by gene-environment effects. The nature-nurture interplay becomes stronger in more egalitarian environments that empower women, allowing genes to express themselves more fully. These conclusions are confirmed by heterogenous effects across the distributions of genetic susceptibilities and exposure to environmental risks, sister fixed effects models, mother-daughter comparisons, and counterfactual simulations.
    Keywords: fertility, genetics, polygenic score, contraceptive pill, nature versus nurture, social norms
    JEL: D10 I14 I15 J01 J13 J16
    Date: 2021–09
  6. By: Wooden, Mark (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research); Trinh, Trong-Anh (University of Melbourne); Mooi-Reci, Irma (University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: Many studies have reported evidence of negative associations between fixed-term contract employment and fertility. With few exceptions, these studies assume that employment status is exogenous and thus results are likely biased. Furthermore, previous research has mostly not considered whether the effects of employment status on fertility might vary with other worker characteristics. We draw on 19 years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to investigate the association between contingent forms of employment (including both fixed-term and casual employment) and first births, and how that association varies with selected worker characteristics. The issue of endogeneity is addressed through the use of instrumental variables estimation. Our main finding is that both fixed-term contracts and casual employment are associated with a significantly lower probability of first births among men. We also find that these negative fertility effects vary with workers' education, occupational status, country of origin, age, and relationship status. The results for women suggest fixed-term contracts are actually associated with more births. However, in this case one of the instruments fails to satisfy the exclusion restriction, suggesting endogeneity remains a concern when analyzing female fertility outcomes and hence this finding should be given little weight.
    Keywords: Australia, contingent employment, employment instability, fertility, HILDA Survey, instrumental variables
    JEL: J13 J41
    Date: 2021–11
  7. By: Marina Vergeles (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The sex gap in life expectancy (LE) at birth is currently narrowing in all high-income countries. Previous research on Western European and English-speaking (WE&ES) countries suggested that smoking-related mortality at ages 50+ was largely responsible for both widening and subsequent narrowing of the gap. However, countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have had particularly high excess male mortality at young and middle ages that couldn`t be fully attributed to the smoking-related causes. We use the Human Mortality Database to examine the patterns and time trends in male/female differences in LE across 41 high-income countries and 7 country groups from 1959 until the latest available year. Contour decomposition is applied to estimate the contribution of different ages to the maximum sex gap and its change ever since. While the UK was the first country to reach the peak in the sex gap in 1969, Greece did it half a century later, in 2009. The largest male disadvantage in LE was observed in Russia in 2005 (13.7 years), Israel had a peak in 1999 with just 4.4 years. There is a persistent difference between countries and particularly country groups in the age-specific contribution to the maximum sex gap. In WE&ES countries ages older than 50 play the major role in determining the sex gap while CEE countries have high excess male mortality in young and middle ages (20-50). The narrowing of the sex gap in CEE countries hasn`t substantially changed the age contribution. Mortality at ages younger than 50 still plays an important role in determining the sex gap in LE in these countries. Differences in the sex gap between countries add a new dimension to a previously established East-West mortality divide. Country specifics must be taken into account to develop public health policies aimed at reducing sex mortality inequalities
    Keywords: sex gap in life expectancy, gender differences in health, mortality, decomposition.
    JEL: J10 J11 I14 N32 N34
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Németh, Petra; Szabó-Bakos, Eszter
    Abstract: There is increasing attention to the sustainability and fairness of the pay-as-you-go pension system as a consequence of the aging society and the imbalance between the old and the young generation’s number. In this system, the pension depends only on the previous contribution, which indirectly punishes childbearing. The purpose of this article is to compare the effect of the present Hungarian regulation to a possible child-related compensational pension scheme, where the amount of pension takes into account the childbearing time. The evaluation of the pension systems is based on the lifespan utility of representative agents (with or without children) and the economic effects of the possible pension reform. We built up a dynamic general equilibrium model in an overlapping generations framework (calibrated on the basis of Hungarian data) to investigate the effects of our pension reform proposal. As a result we receive that such a pension system could increases the utility of the consumer who has children by 0.2149% percent, but decrease the steady state utility of childless consumer by 0,0130% percent. The amount of children and the time spent with children increase slightly, but these positive elements that could have raised the output does not compensate the negative effect of the decreasing work-related efforts, so the output falls.
    Keywords: Computable General Equilibrium Models, OLG model, Public Pension, Retirement Policies
    JEL: C68 H55 J26 D15
    Date: 2021–12–04
  9. By: Elsby, Michael (University of Edinburgh); Smith, Jennifer C. (University of Warwick); Wadsworth, Jonathan (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of population flows on labour market dynamics across immigrant and native-born populations in the United Kingdom. Population flows are large, and cyclical, driven first by the maturation of baby boom cohorts in the 1980s, and latterly by immigration in the 2000s. New measures of labour market flows by migrant status uncover both the flow origins of disparities in the levels and cyclicalities of immigrant and native labour market outcomes, as well as their more recent convergence. A novel dynamic accounting framework reveals that population flows have played a nontrivial role in the volatility of labour markets among both the UK-born and, especially, immigrants.
    Keywords: immigration, worker flows, labour market dynamics
    JEL: E24 J6
    Date: 2021–11

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