nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2022‒01‒17
seven papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Killer Cities and Industrious Cities? New Data and Evidence on 250 Years of Urban Growth By Remi Jedwab; Marina Gindelsky
  2. Rising Geographic Disparities in US Mortality By Benjamin K. Couillard; Christopher L. Foote; Kavish Gandhi; Ellen Meara; Jonathan Skinner
  3. Maternal mortality and women’s political participation By Bhalotra. Sonia; Clarke, Damian; Gomes, Joseph F.; Venkataramani, Atheendar
  4. Home Alone: Widows' Well-Being and Time By Adena, Maja; Hamermesh, Daniel S.; Myck, Michal; Oczkowska, Monika
  5. Earnings dynamics of immigrants and natives in Sweden 1985–2016 By Friedrich, Benjamin; Laun, Lisa; Meghir, Costas
  6. Older Immigrants – New Poverty Risk in Scandinavian Welfare States? By Gustafsson, Björn Anders; Jakobsen, Vibeke; Mac Innes, Hanna; Pedersen, Peder J.; Österberg, Torun
  7. Demography’s theory and approach: (how) has the view from the margins changed? By Sigle-Rushton, Wendy

  1. By: Remi Jedwab (George Washington University); Marina Gindelsky (Bureau of Economic Analysis)
    Abstract: In the historical literature, cities of the Industrial Revolution are portrayed as having a demographic penalty: killer cities with high death rates and industrious cities with low birth rates. To econometrically test this, we construct a novel data set of almost 2,000 crude demographic rates for 142 large cities in 35 countries for 1700-1950. Mortality actually decreased faster than fertility during the Industrial Revolution era and rates of natural increase rose in the cities of industrializing countries, especially large cities. This implies a declining, not rising, demographic penalty thanks to the Industrial Revolution. To explain the puzzle, we posit that negative health and industriousness effects of industrial urbanization might have been outweighed by positive effects of increased income and life expectancy.
    Keywords: Urban Demographic Penalty; Killer Cities; Industrious Cities; Mortality; Fertility; Natural Increase; Industrial Revolution; Urban Growth
    JEL: N90 N30 N10 R00 J10
    Date: 2022–01
  2. By: Benjamin K. Couillard; Christopher L. Foote; Kavish Gandhi; Ellen Meara; Jonathan Skinner
    Abstract: The 21st century has been a period of rising inequality in both income and health. In this study, we find that geographic inequality in mortality for midlife Americans increased by about 70 percent from 1992 to 2016. This was not simply because states such as New York or California benefited from having a high fraction of college-educated residents who enjoyed the largest health gains during the last several decades. Nor was higher dispersion in mortality caused entirely by the increasing importance of “deaths of despair,” or by rising spatial income inequality during the same period. Instead, over time, state-level mortality has become increasingly correlated with state-level income; in 1992 income explained only 3 percent of mortality inequality, but by 2016 state-level income explained 58 percent. These mortality patterns are consistent with the view that high-income states in 1992 were better able to enact public health strategies and adopt behaviors that, over the next quarter-century, resulted in pronounced relative declines in mortality. The substantial longevity gains in high-income states led to greater cross-state inequality in mortality.
    Keywords: health; health policy; mortality
    JEL: I11 I12 I14 I15 I18
    Date: 2021–09–01
  3. By: Bhalotra. Sonia (University of Warwick); Clarke, Damian (Universidad de Chile); Gomes, Joseph F. (UC Louvain); Venkataramani, Atheendar (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Millions of women continue to die during and soon after childbirth, even where the knowledge and resources to avoid this are available. We posit that raising the share of women in parliament can trigger action. Leveraging the timing of gender quota legislation across developing countries, we identify sharp sustained reductions of 8–10 percent in maternal mortality. Investigating mechanisms, we find that gender quotas lead to increases in percentage points of 5–8 in skilled birth attendance and 4–8 in prenatal care utilization, alongside a decline in fertility of 6–7 percent and an increase in the schooling of young women of about 0.5 years. The results are robust to numerous robustness checks. They suggest a new policy tool for tackling maternal mortality.
    Keywords: maternal mortality ; women’s political representation ; gender ; quotas ; reproductive health services ; fertility ; schooling. JEL Classification: I14 ; I15 ; O15
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Adena, Maja (WZB - Social Science Research Center Berlin); Hamermesh, Daniel S. (Barnard College); Myck, Michal (Centre for Economic Analysis, CenEA); Oczkowska, Monika (Centre for Economic Analysis, CenEA)
    Abstract: Losing a partner is a life-changing experience. We draw on numerous datasets to examine differences between widowed and partnered older women and to provide a comprehensive picture of well-being in widowhood. Most importantly, our analysis accounts for time use in widowhood, an aspect which has not been studied previously. Based on data from several European countries we trace the evolution of well-being of women who become widowed by comparing them with their matched non-widowed 'statistical twins' and examine the role of an exceptionally broad set of potential moderators of widowhood's impact on well-being. We confirm a dramatic decrease in mental health and life satisfaction after the loss of partner, followed by a slow recovery. An extensive set of controls recorded prior to widowhood, including detailed family ties and social networks, provides little help in explaining the deterioration in well-being. Unique data from time-diaries kept by older women from several European countries and the U.S. tell us why: the key factor behind widows' reduced well-being is increased time spent alone.
    Keywords: widowhood, well-being, social networks, time use
    JEL: I31 I19 J14
    Date: 2021–11
  5. By: Friedrich, Benjamin (Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.); Laun, Lisa (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Meghir, Costas (Yale University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes earnings inequality and earnings dynamics in Sweden over 1985–2016. The deep recession in the early 1990s marks a historic turning point with a massive increase in earnings inequality and earnings volatility, and the impact of the recession and the recovery from it lasted for decades. In the aftermath of the recession, we find steady growth in real earnings across the entire distribution for men and women and decreasing inequality over more than 20 years. Despite the positive trend, large gender differences in earnings dynamics persist. While earnings growth for men is more closely tied to the business cycle, women face much higher volatility overall. Earnings volatility is also substantially higher among foreign-born workers, reflecting weaker labor market attachment and high risk of large negative shocks for low-income immigrants. We document an important role of social benefits usage for the overall trends and for differences across sub-populations. Higher benefits enrollment, especially for women and immigrants, is associated with higher earnings volatility. As the generosity and usage of benefit programs declined over time, we find stronger earnings growth among low-income workers, consistent with higher self-sufficiency.
    Keywords: Earnings inequality; earnings volatility; immigration; social insurance
    JEL: D31 E24 J15 J31 J61
    Date: 2021–11–09
  6. By: Gustafsson, Björn Anders (University of Gothenburg); Jakobsen, Vibeke (VIVE - The Danish Centre for Applied Social Science); Mac Innes, Hanna (University of Gothenburg); Pedersen, Peder J. (Aarhus University); Österberg, Torun (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: Many European high-income countries face a rapid increase in the number of immigrants from low- and middle-income countries reaching the normal pension age. Thus, it is increasingly relevant to ask: how are older migrants from such countries faring? Here we study poverty rates and determinants of poverty among natives and persons born in Bosnia, Iran, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Turkey living in Denmark or Sweden in 2010. Income data on all such persons aged 65 to 82 living in the two destination countries are analysed. In both Denmark and Sweden, we report much higher poverty rates among the immigrants studied than among natives. Estimated probability models show that being poor is related to a person's education, family status and age, as well as year of arrival in the destination country and the labour market and his or her residential status at the age of 55. However, the labour market in the destination country at the time of arrival also matter. Persons born in Yugoslavia or Turkey who had immigrated to Denmark during the '70s and '80s were more likely to be in poverty in 2010 that their counterparts with the same characteristics who had immigrated to Sweden.
    Keywords: Denmark, Sweden, poverty, older immigrants
    JEL: I32 J14 J15 J61
    Date: 2021–11
  7. By: Sigle-Rushton, Wendy
    Abstract: Around the time that Population Studies celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1996, Susan Greenhalgh published ‘An intellectual, institutional, and political history of twentieth-century demography’. Her contribution described a discipline that, when viewed from its margins, prompted scholars in other disciplines to ask the following questions: ‘Why is the field still wedded to many of the assumptions of mid-century modernization theory and why are there no critical … perspectives in the discipline?’ (Greenhalgh 1996, p. 27). Those questions still arise today. Similarly, Greenhalgh’s observation that ‘neither the global political economies of the 1970s, nor the postmodernisms and postcolonialities of the 1980s and 1990s, nor the feminisms of any decade have had much perceptible impact on the field’ (pp. 27–8), remains a fairly accurate depiction of research published in Population Studies and other demography journals. In this contribution, focusing predominantly on feminist research and insights, I discuss how little has changed since 1996 and explain why the continued lack of engagement concerns me. Demographers still often fail to appreciate the impossibility of atheoretical ‘just descriptive’ research. Our methods carry assumptions and so rely on (often) implicit theoretical frameworks. Not making frameworks explicit does not mean they do not exert an important influence. I end by proposing that the training of research students should be part of a strategy to effect change.
    Keywords: feminist theory; modernization theory; sex role theory; gender; situated knowledge; Wiley deal
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2021–12–15

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