nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2022‒07‒25
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. Wealth of Two Nations: The U.S. Racial Wealth Gap, 1860–2020 By Ellora Derenoncourt; Chi Hyun Kim; Moritz Kuhn; Moritz Schularick
  2. Mothers as Insurance: Family Spillovers in WIC By Marianne Bitler; Janet Currie; Hilary W. Hoynes; Krista J. Ruffini; Lisa Schulkind; Barton Willage
  3. The Subjective Cost of Young Children: A European Comparison By Angela Greulich; Sonja Spitzer; Bernhard Hammer
  4. Entitlements to Continued Life and the Evaluation of Population Health By Moreno-Ternero, Juan D.; Østerdal, Lars Peter
  5. Heterogeneous Effects of After-School Care on Child Development By Laura Schmitz

  1. By: Ellora Derenoncourt (Princeton University); Chi Hyun Kim (University of Bonn); Moritz Kuhn (University of Bonn); Moritz Schularick (University of Bonn, Sciences Po Paris)
    Abstract: The racial wealth gap is the largest of the economic disparities between Black and white Americans, with a white-to-Black per capita wealth ratio of 6 to 1. It is also among the most persistent. In this paper, we construct the first continuous series on white-to-Black per capita wealth ratios from 1860 to 2020, drawing on historical census data, early state tax records, and historical waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances, among other sources. Incorporating these data into a parsimonious model of wealth accumulation for each racial group, we document the role played by initial conditions, income growth, savings behavior, and capital returns in the evolution of the gap. Given vastly different starting conditions under slavery, racial wealth convergence would remain a distant scenario, even if wealth-accumulating conditions had been equal across the two groups since Emancipation. Relative to this equal-conditions benchmark, we find that observed convergence has followed an even slower path over the last 150 years, with convergence stalling after 1950. Since the 1980s, the wealth gap has widened again as capital gains have predominantly benefited white households, and income convergence has stopped.
    Keywords: Wealth gap, Racial wealth gap, inequality, historical data
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2022–05
  2. By: Marianne Bitler; Janet Currie; Hilary W. Hoynes; Krista J. Ruffini; Lisa Schulkind; Barton Willage
    Abstract: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a widely used program. Previous research shows that WIC improves birth outcomes, but evidence about impacts on children and families is limited. We use a regression discontinuity leveraging an age five when children become ineligible for WIC and examine nutritional and laboratory outcomes for adults and children. We find little impact on children who aged out of the program. But among adult women caloric intake falls and food insecurity increases, suggesting that mothers protect children by consuming less themselves. We find no effect on others in the household.
    JEL: H51 H53 I18 I38
    Date: 2022–06
  3. By: Angela Greulich (OSC - Observatoire sociologique du changement (Sciences Po, CNRS) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IUF - Institut Universitaire de France - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche); Sonja Spitzer (University of Vienna [Vienna], Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital - Vienna Institute of Demography/Austrian Academy of Sciences); Bernhard Hammer (Technical University of Vienna, VID - Vienna Institute of Demography - OeAW - Austrian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: Abstract Understanding child-related costs is crucial given their impact on fertility and labour supply decisions. We explore the subjective cost of young children in Europe by analysing the effect of child births on parents' self-reported ability to make ends meet, and link it to changes in objective economic well-being such as income, benefits, and employment. The study is based on EU-SILC longitudinal data for 30 European countries from 2004 to 2019, enabling comparisons between country groups of different welfare regimes. Results show that newborns decrease subjective economic well-being in all regions, yet with economies of scale for the number of children. Mediation analyses reveal that the substantial labour income losses of mothers (indirect costs) explain only a small part of subjective child costs. In the first year after birth, these losses are mostly compensated for via public transfers or increased labour income of fathers, except in regions where women take extensive parental leave. This suggests that the initial drop in subjective economic well-being after childbirth is caused by increased expenses due to the birth of a child (direct costs) and other drivers such as stress that are reflected in the self-reported indicator.
    Date: 2022–04–15
  4. By: Moreno-Ternero, Juan D. (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide); Østerdal, Lars Peter (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)
    Abstract: We analyze the implications of axioms formalizing entitlements to continued life for the evaluation of population health, when combined with basic structural axioms. A straightforward implication of our analysis is that if the scope of equal entitlements to continued life is not limited, concerns for morbidity (and not just mortality) are dismissed in the evaluation of population health. Nevertheless, with axioms formalizing a more limited scope of equal entitlement to continued life, we provide several characterization results of focal population health evaluation functions, ranging from lifetime utilitarianism to generalized healthy years equivalent utilitarianism.
    Keywords: Axioms; Population health; Equal value of life; mMrbidity; Mortality
    JEL: D63 I10
    Date: 2022–05–19
  5. By: Laura Schmitz
    Abstract: It is often argued that institutionalized after-school care (ASC) can benefit children lacking adequate homework support at home and, hence, foster equality of opportunity. However, despite considerable policy interest, it is unclear whether these afternoon programs are beneficial for child development and if selection into them is efficient, i.e., whether students benefiting most from the programs choose to attend. In this paper, I examine the effects of ASC on elementary school children’s schooling outcomes and non-cognitive skill development. Using a marginal treatment effect framework and regional and temporal variation caused by an extensive reform in Germany, I instrument after-school care attendance with the change in the distance to the next school offering ASC within one district. My findings suggest that children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who more often select into treatment, have higher ASC premiums. Concerning schooling outcomes, I find minor positive local average treatment effects but no effect heterogeneity concerning unobserved characteristics. ASC effects on the treated’s non-cognitive skills are more sizable than those on the untreated, suggesting that selection into ASC is positive and efficient. Overall, a universal voluntary offer of ASC will likely help reduce educational inequalities.
    Keywords: After-school care, marginal treatment effects, inequality
    JEL: I21 I24 I26 J08
    Date: 2022

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