nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒02‒13
four papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
University of Wisconsin

  1. Like an Ink Blot on Paper: Testing the Diffusion Hypothesis of Mass Migration, Italy 1876-1920 By Yannay Spitzer; Ariell Zimran
  2. Do Elections Affect Immigration? Evidence From French Municipalities By Schmutz, Benoît; Verdugo, Gregory
  3. Historical roots of the dual-earner model: Women’s labour force participation in Sweden, 1870–1960 By Molinder, Jakob
  4. The Value of a Life-Year and the Intuition of Universality By Marc Fleurbaey; Gregory Ponthiere

  1. By: Yannay Spitzer; Ariell Zimran
    Abstract: Why were the poorer countries of the European periphery latecomers to the Age of Mass Migration? We test the diffusion hypothesis, which argues that mass emigration was delayed because it was primarily governed by a gradual process of spatial diffusion of migration networks. We propose a model of migration within a spatial network to formalize this hypothesis and to derive its testable predictions. Focusing on post-unification Italy, we construct a comprehensive municipality- and district-level panel of emigration data over four decades, and use it to show that the testable predictions of the diffusion hypothesis are validated by the data. The emerging picture is that Italian mass migration began in a few separate epicenters from which it expanded over time in an orderly pattern of spatial expansion, and that the epidemiological characteristics of this expansion match those underlying our model. These findings strongly support the diffusion hypothesis, and call for a revision of our understanding of one of the most important features of the Age of Mass Migration--the delayed migration puzzle.
    JEL: F22 J61 N33 N34
    Date: 2023–01
  2. By: Schmutz, Benoît (CREST); Verdugo, Gregory (University of Evry)
    Abstract: Using thirty years of municipal elections in France, we show that election results affect the share of immigrants across municipalities. In municipalities where a left- instead of right-wing mayor has been elected, the share of immigrants in the population grows faster by 1.5 p.p. within six years after the elections, and by 3 p.p. within twelve years. To a large extent, these effects are driven by partisan differences in public housing constructions and changes in the composition of the population within existing public housing units. They also are associated with greater incumbency advantage, in line with a model of strategic partisan behavior.
    Keywords: immigration, public housing, local elections
    JEL: D72 H4 H7 R38
    Date: 2023–01
  3. By: Molinder, Jakob (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: Today, Sweden has one of the highest female labour force participation rates in the developed world, but how deep are the roots of women’s involvement in gainful employment? In this article, I present new estimates of women’s labour force participation rate between 1870 and 1960, the time when the country shifted from a predominantly agrarian economy to an industrial and services-based society. The revised data give a very different pattern from existing series; I find that female participation displays a clear U-shape: falling from the late nineteenth century, reaching a trough in the 1940s, and then starting to rise from the 1960s. Falling employment in agriculture was not balanced out by expanding opportunities in manufacturing, but women’s gainful employment started expanding as the white-collar services sector grew and women’s education increased - following the pattern set out by Goldin’s theory of the U-curve. The male breadwinner period was short and less pronounced in Sweden than in most other countrieshowever. Participation among adult women in the late nineteenth century was above 55 percent, and never fell below 40 percent at the lowest point. My findings lend support to the idea that the dual-earner model of present-day Sweden could be the outcome of a longer historical trajectory.
    Keywords: Female labor force participation; Sweden; Dual-earner; Breadwinner
    JEL: J21 N33 N34
    Date: 2022–12–13
  4. By: Marc Fleurbaey (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Gregory Ponthiere (UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain = Catholic University of Louvain)
    Abstract: When considering the social valuation of a life-year, there is a conflict between two basic intuitions: on the one hand, the intuition of universality, according to which the value of an additional life-year should be universal, and, as such, should be invariant to the context considered; on the other hand, the intuition of complementarity, according to which the value of a life-year should depend on what this extra-life-year allows for, and, hence, on the quality of that life-year, because the quantity of life and the quality of life are complement to each other. This paper proposes three distinct accounts of the intuition of universality, and shows that those accounts either conflict with a basic monotonicity property, or lead to indifference with respect to how life-years are distributed within the population. Those results support the abandon of the intuition of universality. But abandoning the intuition of universality does not prevent a social evaluator from giving priority, when allocating life-years, to individuals with the lowest quality of life.
    Date: 2022

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