nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒27
seven papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
University of Wisconsin

  1. Estimating Causal Effects of Fertility on Life Course Outcomes: Evidence Using A Dyadic Genetic Instrumental Variable Approach By Boyan Zheng; Qiongshi Lu; Jason Fletcher
  2. Mothers at Peace: International Peacebuilding and Post-conflict Fertility By Vincenzo Bove; Jessica Di Salvtore; Lenadro Elia; Roberto Nisticò
  3. Partisan Abortions By Libertad González; Luis Guirola; Blanca Zapater
  4. Population Aging, Silver Dividend, and Economic Growth By Park, Donghyun; Shin, Kwanho
  5. The Cyclicality of Births and Babies’ Health, Revisited: Evidence from Unemployment Insurance By Lisa J. Dettling; Melissa Schettini Kearney
  6. Paying Moms to Stay Home: Short and Long Run Effects on Parents and Children By Jonathan Gruber; Tuomas Kosonen; Kristiina Huttunen
  7. Unconditional Cash Transfers for Families with Children in the U.S.: A Scoping Review By Hema Shah; Lisa A. Gennetian

  1. By: Boyan Zheng; Qiongshi Lu; Jason Fletcher
    Abstract: The causal effects of fertility are a central focus in the social sciences, but the analysis is challenged by the endogeneity of fertility choices. Earlier work has proposed several “natural experiments” from twin births or gender composition of earlier births to assess whether having more children affects adults’ outcomes, though there are limitations to using rare (twins) and weak (gender composition) instrumental variables for fertility. This paper proposes a new “natural experiment” approach to assessing the causal effects of fertility by measuring the combination of couples’ genetics in predicting fertility—a dyadic genetic instrumental variable, where the key idea (exclusion restriction) is that the interactions of the couple’s genetics that shift the likelihood of fertility is unknown to the couples. We use a nationally representative sample of couples to examine the long-lasting effects of fertility on older adults’ life outcomes, including labor market outcomes, personality traits, and subjective wellbeing. We find that fertility reduces females’ extraversion and years of working and some evidence indicates that fertility reduces both males’ and females’ lifetime number of jobs worked.
    JEL: J10 J13 J22 J29
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Vincenzo Bove (University of Warwick); Jessica Di Salvtore (University of Warwick); Lenadro Elia (Marche Polytechnic University.); Roberto Nisticò (Università di Napoli Federico II, CSEF and IZA)
    Abstract: A considerable body of empirical evidence indicates that conflict affects reproductive behaviour, often resulting in an increased fertility rate due to higher child mortality and limited access to healthcare services. Yet, we know much less about the effect of peace in a post-conflict setting. This study explores how the external provision of security affects fertility rates by focusing on the UN intervention in Liberia. By combining birth history data from three rounds of the Demographic and Health Survey with information on road distance to UN military compounds, we find that women who live in the proximity of peacekeepers have lower fertility rates in the deployment period. We find that this is due to parents prioritizing quality over quantity as peacekeepers improve maternal and child health and encourages family planning by (i) enabling donors and humanitarian actor to deliver infrastructures and services, and (ii) facilitating citizens’ access to such services.
    Keywords: conflict; fertility; maternal health; child health; UN operations.
    JEL: J16 J24 D74 F50
    Date: 2023–02–22
  3. By: Libertad González; Luis Guirola; Blanca Zapater
    Abstract: We study the effect of unexpected changes in the party in government on fertility outcomes, using administrative data on births and abortions for Spain. Following a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that, after an unanticipated loss by the party in power in 2004, municipalities with strong support for this party experienced a sharp increase in abortions (of about 0.10 pregnancy interruptions per 1, 000 women in the month following the election), as well as a decrease in pregnancies leading to live birth (of about 0.28 conceptions per 1, 000 women, for an average monthly birth rate of 3.9). We show that the surprise election results also had an immediate effect on citizens’ economic expectations along partisan lines, a plausible channel for the impact on fertility decisions.
    Keywords: fertility, economic expectations, abortion, partisanship
    JEL: J13 D72
    Date: 2023–03
  4. By: Park, Donghyun (Asian Development Bank); Shin, Kwanho (Korea University)
    Abstract: While there are growing concerns about population aging, some studies explore the possibility that population aging can give rise to a silver dividend that contributes to economic growth (ADB 2019). While the demographic dividend refers to the increase of the working-age population, the silver dividend points to increased longevity and longer working life as potential sources of growth in an aging society. Extending Lee and Shin (2021) to include developing countries, we examine the potential for a silver dividend by investigating the channels through which population aging affects economic growth. We find that lower total factor productivity growth is the main mechanism through which population aging harms economic growth. Labor shortage caused by population aging is mostly offset by higher labor force participation rates of males, females, and older workers. In particular, the labor force participation rate of the older people increases the most.
    Keywords: aging; growth; labor force participation; total factor productivity; silver dividend
    JEL: E20 J10 J21 O40 O47
    Date: 2023–03–08
  5. By: Lisa J. Dettling; Melissa Schettini Kearney
    Abstract: We revisit the cyclical nature of birth rates and infant health and investigate to what extent the relationship between aggregate labor market conditions and birth outcomes is mitigated by the consumption smoothing income assistance delivered through unemployment insurance (UI). We introduce a novel empirical test of standard neoclassical models of fertility that directly tests the prediction of opposite-signed income and intertemporal substitution effects of business cycles by examining the interaction of the aggregate unemployment rate with a measure of potential income replacement from UI. Our results show that as UI benefit generosity reaches 100 percent income replacement, there is no effect of the unemployment rate on fertility rates. This implies that the well-documented cyclical nature of fertility rates is about access to liquidity. We also provide novel evidence that infant health is countercyclical based on timing of conception, but procyclical based on time in utero. The negative relationship between the in utero aggregate unemployment rate and infant health also disappears when potential UI replacement rates reach 100 percent. Our results indicate that the social insurance provided by UI has a pro-natalist effect and improves babies’ health.
    JEL: H51 I18 J11 J13 J18
    Date: 2023–02
  6. By: Jonathan Gruber; Tuomas Kosonen; Kristiina Huttunen
    Abstract: We study the impacts of a policy designed to reward mothers who stay at home rather than join the labor force when their children are under age three. We use regional and over time variation to show that the Finnish Home Care Allowance (HCA) decreases maternal employment in both the short and long term. The effects are large enough for the existence of home care benefit system to explain the higher short-term child penalty in Finland than comparable nations. Home care benefits also negatively affect the early childhood cognitive test results of children, decrease the likelihood of choosing academic high school, and increase youth crimes. We confirm that the mechanism of action is changing work/home care arrangements by studying a day care fee reform that had the opposite effect of raising incentives to work – with corresponding opposite effects on mothers and children compared to HCA. Our findings suggest that shifting child care from the home to the market increases labor force participation and improves child outcomes.
    JEL: H31 J13
    Date: 2023–02
  7. By: Hema Shah; Lisa A. Gennetian
    Abstract: Children represent the largest indirect beneficiaries of the U.S. social welfare system. Yet, many questions remain about the direct benefits of cash aid to children. The current understanding of the impacts of cash aid in the U.S. is drawn primarily from studies of in-kind benefits, tax credits, and conditional cash aid programs. A corresponding economics literature focuses on the labor supply responses of parents and the role of income, parenting skills, and early education as family investment mechanisms that reduce socioeconomic inequality in children’s well-being. In contrast to the U.S., dozens of low- to middle-income nations use direct cash aid—conditional or unconditional—as a central policy strategy, with demonstrated positive effects across a host of economic and health measures and selected aspects of children’s health and schooling. This paper reviews the economic research on U.S. safety net programs and cash aid to families with children and what existing studies reveal about its impacts on family investment mechanisms and children’s outcomes. We specifically highlight gaps in understanding the impacts of unconditional cash aid on children. We then review nine contemporary unconditional cash transfer programs and discuss their promise and limitations in filling the U.S.-based economic evidence gap about the impact of cash aid on children’s development.
    JEL: H31 H53 H75 I3 I38 J13 J18
    Date: 2023–02

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