nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2022‒04‒11
eleven papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. China’s Demographic Transition: A Quantitative Analysis By Yongkun Yin
  2. Fertility and Savings: The Effect of China’s Two-Child Policy on Household Savings By Scott R. Baker; Efraim Benmelech; Zhishu Yang; Qi Zhang
  3. Out of Labor and Into the Labor Force? The Role of Abortion Access, Social Stigma, and Financial Constraints By Nina Brooks; Tom Zohar
  4. Assortative mating and the Industrial Revolution: England, 1754-2021 By Clark, Gregory; Cummins, Neil
  5. The Occupations of Free Women and Substitution with Enslaved Workers in the Antebellum United States By Chiswick, Barry R.; Robinson, RaeAnn H.
  6. A health economic theory of occupational choice, aging, and longevity By Strulik, Holger
  7. Introducing an Austrian Backpack in Spain By João Brogueira de Sousa; Julián Díaz-Saavedra; Ramon Marimon
  8. Pro-birth policies, missions and fertility : historical evidence from Congo By Catherine Guirkinger; Paola Villar
  9. Forced Displacement in History : Some Recent Research By Becker, Sascha O
  10. The Economics and Econometrics of Gene-Environment Interplay By Pietro Biroli; Titus Galama; Stephanie von Hinke; Hans van Kippersluis; Cornelius Rietveld; Kevin Thom
  11. The Female Happiness Paradox By David G. Blanchflower; Alex Bryson

  1. By: Yongkun Yin (CEMFI, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros)
    Abstract: China’s fertility decline was very fast. But the drivers of this decline are not well understood. The common wisdom attributes it to the strict population control policies, particularly the One-Child Policy. Yet, fertility decline might also be due to the spectacular economic transformation and substantial mortality decline. To quantify the effects of different factors on China’s demographic and economic transition, I develop a two-sector overlapping-generation model with workers’ movement from rural to urban areas and endogenous fertility and education choices. Quantitative analysis shows that even without any population policy, the total fertility rate (TFR) would decline from 6.40 children around 1950 to 2.85 children around 2010. However, the population policies were critical for TFR to fall below the replacement level and do so very quickly after the 1980s. By around 2010, the cumulative effect of population policies reduced fertility from 2.85 to 1.34 children. The baseline model is also extended to incorporate the hukou system, considering that different hukou types are linked to different child quotas under the One-Child Policy and government transfers. The extended model suggests that the impact of the hukou system on fertility decisions was minor.
    Keywords: Demographic transition, structural transformation, population policies, productivity growth, mortality, China.
    JEL: D1 J13 O41
    Date: 2022–02
  2. By: Scott R. Baker; Efraim Benmelech; Zhishu Yang; Qi Zhang
    Abstract: China’s high household savings rate has attracted great academic interest but remains a puzzle. Potential explanations include demographic, policy, and financial causes. Yet a lack of reliable microlevel data on household finances makes it difficult to assess the relative importance of each factor. This paper uses individual income and spending transactions linked to demographic characteristics and financial information on loan applications and credit availability from a large Chinese bank in Inner Mongolia. We match a large subset of bank customers to administrative records covering marriage and births and obtain a unique view into consumption and saving patterns around important life events. Our results point toward identifying income growth, financial instability, and credit access, rather than such directives as the one-child policy, as the primary causes of high levels of savings among Chinese households.
    JEL: D14 D31 E21 G51
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Nina Brooks (University of Connecticut); Tom Zohar (CEMFI, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of abortion access on fertility and women’s career outcomes. To establish causality, we leverage a policy change that in 2014 increased the eligibility age cutoff for free abortion in Israel. We use newly constructed administrative data that allows us to track abortions, births, employment, earnings, and formal education for the universe of Israeli women over a seven-year period. We show that access to free abortion increases the abortion rate but does not increase conceptions. Instead, the result is driven by more abortions among poor women who live in religious communities in which abortion is socially stigmatized. This finding suggests that when abortion is free, poor women do not need to consult family members for financial support, which allows them to have an abortion in private. In the medium-run, access to free abortion delays parenthood, increases human capital investment, and shifts employment towards the white-collar sector, suggesting a large career opportunity cost of unplanned parenthood. Finally, by using observable information on the women we suggest alternative policies that improve targeting of financially constrained women.
    JEL: I11 I12 I18 J13
    Date: 2021–11
  4. By: Clark, Gregory; Cummins, Neil
    Abstract: Using a new database of 1.7 million marriage records for England 1837-2021 we estimate assortment by occupational status in marriage, and the intergenerational correlation of occupational status. We find the underlying correlations of status groom-bride, and father-son, are remarkably high: 0.8 and 0.9 respectively. These correlations are unchanged 1837-2021. There is evidence this strong matching extends back to at least 1754. Even before formal education and occupations for women, grooms and brides matched tightly on educational and occupational abilities. We show further that women contributed as much as men to important child outcomes. This implies strong marital sorting substantially increased the variance of social abilities in England. Pre-industrial marital systems typically involved much less marital sorting. Thus the development of assortative marriage may play a role in the location and timing of the Industrial Revolution, through its effect on the supply of those with upper-tail abilities.
    Keywords: human capital development; occupational mobility; technology transfer; post-war reconstruction
    JEL: N33 N34
    Date: 2022–04
  5. By: Chiswick, Barry R.; Robinson, RaeAnn H.
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the occupational status and distribution of free women in the antebellum United States. It considers both their reported and unreported (imputed) occupations, using the 1/100 IPUMS files from the 1860 Census of Population. After developing and testing the model based on economic and demographic variables used to explain whether a free woman has an occupation, analyses are conducted comparing their occupational distribution to free men, along with analyses among women by nativity, urbanization, and region of the country. While foreign-born and illiterate women were more likely to report having an occupation compared to their native-born and literate counterparts, they were equally likely to be working when unreported family workers are included. In the analysis limited to the slave-holding states, it is shown that the greater the slave-intensity of the county, the less likely were free women to report having an occupation, particularly as private household workers, suggesting substitution in the labor market between free women and enslaved labor.
    Keywords: Women,Labor Force Participation,Occupational Distribution,Unreported Family Workers,Enslaved Workers,Immigrants,1860 Census of Population
    JEL: N31 J16 J21 J82
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Strulik, Holger
    Abstract: In this paper, I propose a life cycle model of occupational choice with endogenous health behavior, aging, and longevity. Health-demanding work leads to a faster accumulation of health deficits and is remunerated with a hazard markup on wages. Health deficit accumulation is also influenced by unhealthy consumption and health care expenditure. I calibrate the model for a 20 year old average American in 2010 and show the following results, among others. Health-demanding work is ceteris paribus preferred by male, young, and healthy individuals with a relatively low level of education. Health demanding work has a negligible effect on health behavior because income and health investment effects largely offset each other, implying that health effects can be attributed almost fully to the direct health burden of work. Better medical technology induces low-skilled individuals to spend a greater part of their life in health-demanding work and thus increases the health gradient of education. High wealth endowments protect against unhealthy occupational choices. I show robustness of the results in an extension of the model with regard to endogenous retirement.
    Keywords: occupational choice,health behavior,health deficits,aging,longevity,retirement
    JEL: D15 I10 I12 J24 J26
    Date: 2022
  7. By: João Brogueira de Sousa; Julián Díaz-Saavedra; Ramon Marimon
    Abstract: In an overlapping generations economy with incomplete insurance markets, the introduction of an employment fund -akin to the one introduced in Austria in 2003, also known as 'Austrian backpack'- can enhance production efficiency and social welfare. It complements the two classical systems of public insurance: pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pensions and unemployment insurance (UI). We show this in a calibrated dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents of the Spanish economy in 2018. A `backpack' (BP) employment fund is an individual (across jobs) transferable fund, which earns a market interest rate as a return and is financed with a payroll tax (a BP tax). The worker can use the fund while unemployed or retired. Upon retirement, backpack savings can be converted into an (actuarially fair) retirement pension. To complement the existing PAYG pension and UI systems with a welfare maximising 6% BP tax would raise welfare by 0.96% of average consumption at the new steady state, if we model Spain as an open economy. As a closed economy, there are important general equilibrium effects and, as a result, the social value of introducing the backpack is substantially greater: 16.14%, with a BP tax of 18%. In both economies, the annuity retirement option is an important component of the welfare gains.
    Keywords: computable general equilibrium, welfare state, social security reform, Retirement
    JEL: C68 H55 J26
    Date: 2022–03
  8. By: Catherine Guirkinger (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur); Paola Villar
    Abstract: Did colonial powers shape fertility patterns in their colonies? We investigate this question in the context of the Belgian Congo. Starting in the late 1920s, several colonial powers in Africa feared depopulation of their colonies and designed pro-birth policies. The Belgian state heavily relied on Catholic nuns to implement these policies in the Congo. Using a demographic survey conducted in the 1970s in seven major cities, we recovered the individual birth calendars of 30,000 women born between 1900 and 1948, under colonial rule. In addition we digitized high-quality territory level information on fertility by cohort in the 1950s. We rely on unique historical and archival material to reconstruct temporal and geographic heterogeneity in exposure to missionary presence and the type of activities performed at the station level. We find a positive effect of Catholic nuns on fertility. In contrast, Catholic male missionaries have no detectable impact on fertility and Protestant missionaries have a clear negative impact. In terms of mechanisms, we argue that progress in general health are unlikely to explain, alone, the rise in fertility. Another likely channel was the promotion of an ideal of domesticity where women are confined to their role of mother and wife. Finally, using Demographic and Health Survey data, we find some trace of colonial mission’s influence on fertility patterns today.
    Date: 2022–03
  9. By: Becker, Sascha O (Monash University and University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Forced displacement as a consequence of wars, civil conflicts, or natural disasters does not only have contemporaneous consequences but also long-run repercussions. This eclectic overview summarizes some recent research on forced displacement in economic history. While many of the episodes covered refer to Europe, this survey points to literature across all continents. It highlights new developments, and points to gaps in the literature.
    Keywords: Forced Displacement ; Wars ; Disasters ; Networks JEL Classification: F22 ; R23 ; D74 ; Q54 ; N30
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Pietro Biroli (University of Zurich); Titus Galama (University of Southern California); Stephanie von Hinke (University of Bristol, Erasmus University, and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Hans van Kippersluis (Erasmus University); Cornelius Rietveld (Erasmus University); Kevin Thom (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
    Abstract: Economists and social scientists have debated the relative importance of nature (one's genes) and nurture (one's environment) for decades, if not centuries. This debate can now be informed by the ready availability of genetic data in a growing number of social science datasets. This paper explores the potential uses of genetic data in economics, with a focus on estimating the interplay between nature (genes) and nurture (environment). We discuss how economists can benefit from incorporating genetic data into their analyses even when they do not have a direct interest in estimating genetic effects. We argue that gene-environment (GxE) studies can be instrumental for (i) testing economic theory, (ii) uncovering economic or behavioral mechanisms, and (iii) analyzing treatment effect heterogeneity, thereby improving the understanding of how (policy) interventions affect population subgroups. We introduce the reader to essential genetic terminology, develop a conceptual economic model to interpret gene-environment interplay, and provide practical guidance to empirical researchers.
    Keywords: gene-by-environment interplay, polygenic indices, social science genetics, ALSPAC
    JEL: D10 D30 I10 I20 J10
    Date: 2022–03
  11. By: David G. Blanchflower (Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow; NBER and Bloomberg); Alex Bryson (University College London; IZA, Bonn; NIESR, London)
    Abstract: Using data across countries and over time we show that women are unhappier than men in unhappiness and negative affect equations, irrespective of the measure used – anxiety, depression, fearfulness, sadness, loneliness, anger – and they have more days with bad mental health and more restless sleep. Women are also less satisfied with many aspects of their lives such as democracy, the economy, the state of education and health services. They are also less happy in the moment in terms of peace and calm, cheerfulness, feeling active, vigorous, fresh and rested. However, prior evidence on gender differences in happiness and life satisfaction is less clear cut. Differences vary over time, location, and with model specification and the inclusion of controls especially marital status. We also show that there are significant variations by month in happiness data regarding whether males are happier than females but find little variation by month in unhappiness data. It matters which months are sampled when measuring positive affect but not with negative affect. These monthly data reveal that women’s happiness was more adversely affected by the COVID shock than men’s, but also that women’s happiness rebounded more quickly suggesting resilience. As a result, we now find strong evidence that males have higher levels of both happiness and life satisfaction in recent years even before the onset of pandemic. As in the past they continue to have lower levels of unhappiness. A detailed analysis of several data files, with various metrics, for the UK confirms that men now are happier than women.
    Keywords: happiness; subjective wellbeing; life satisfaction; gender
    JEL: J16 I31
    Date: 2022–04–01

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