nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒06‒12
four papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
University of Wisconsin

  1. A Review of Longevity Validations up to May 2023 By Gibbs, Philip; Zak, Nikolay
  2. Same-Sex Couples and the Child Earnings Penalty By Barbara Downs; Lucia Foster; Rachel Nesbit; Danielle H. Sandler
  3. Intergenerational Altruism and Transfers of Time and Money: A Life Cycle Perspective By Uta Bolt; Eric French; Jamie Hentall MacCuish; Cormac O'Dea
  4. Native American “Deaths of Despair” and Economic Conditions By Randall Akee; Donn L. Feir; Marina Mileo Gorzig; Samuel Myers Jr.

  1. By: Gibbs, Philip; Zak, Nikolay
    Abstract: Background: The ages of the oldest humans are important data for scientific studies in gerontology, medicine and demographics. Scientists often reference specific cases such as Jeanne Calment, or resources such as the International Database on Longevity. However, numerous inherent dangers and pitfalls have dogged the history of human longevity record keeping. Many people who were believed to be the oldest person in their day turned out to be younger than claimed. This could affect scientific conclusions based on their assumed longevity. In this work we review longevity validations at the top of the official lists of the world’s oldest ever men and women. We aim to outline a stronger “cast-iron” standard for the purposes of future scientific studies of extreme longevity. Results: To inform the higher standard, we have examined individual cases of validation, including those that have been withdrawn or disputed. We highlight their weaknesses and show how deeper investigation could help validate similar claims in the future. We also consider the use of DNA testing to verify the identity of supercentenarians. A self-use questionnaire is offered to validators to help further improve consistency and completeness of their reporting. In a few cases, such as the lives of Sarah Knauss, Christian Mortensen and Israel Kristal we have found new evidence that improves confidence in their validation, but for others our search casts serious doubt on authenticity, or leaves questions over whether the standard of validation is good enough. Having previously disputed the longevity of Jeanne Calment, we now add Nabi Tajima from Japan and Johnson Parks from the U.S. to those who should be invalidated, and we question whether birth records for Japanese supercentenarians can be considered reliable. We also challenge the validation of several U.S cases which were based on unreliable census data in the SSA Kestenbaum study. Conclusions: Correct assessment of the chronological age is a necessary step for biologists studying the determinants of exceptional longevity. We hope that our findings could be used to improve the quality of age validations. They may also influence demographers' conclusions about the future of life expectancy
    Date: 2023–05–08
  2. By: Barbara Downs; Lucia Foster; Rachel Nesbit; Danielle H. Sandler
    Abstract: Existing work has shown that the entry of a child into a household results in a large and sustained increase in the earnings gap between male and female partners in opposite-sex couples. Potential reasons for this include work-life preferences, comparative advantage over earnings, and gender norms. We expand this analysis of the child penalty to examine earnings of individuals in same sex couples in the U.S. around the time their first child enters the household. Using linked survey and administrative data and event-study methodology, we confirm earlier work finding a child penalty for women in opposite-sex couples. We find this is true even when the female partner is the primary earner pre-parenthood, lending support to the importance of gender norms in opposite-sex couples. By contrast, in both female and male same-sex couples, earnings changes associated with child entry differ by the relative pre-parenthood earnings of the partners: secondary earners see an increase in earnings, while on average the earnings of primary and equal earners remain relatively constant. While this finding seems supportive of a norm related to equality within same-sex couples, transition analysis suggests a more complicated story.
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Uta Bolt; Eric French; Jamie Hentall MacCuish; Cormac O'Dea
    Abstract: Parental investments significantly impact children’s outcomes. Exploiting panel data covering individuals from birth to retirement, we estimate child skill production functions and embed them into an estimated dynastic model in which altruistic mothers and fathers make investments in their children. We find that time investments, educational investments, and assortative matching have a greater impact on generating inequality and intergenerational persistence than cash transfers. While education subsidies can reduce inequality, due to an estimated dynamic complementarity between time investments and education, it is crucial to announce them in advance to allow parents to adjust their investments when their children are young.
    Keywords: Lifecycle; Intergenerational transfers; Parental investments
    JEL: J00 I0
    Date: 2023–04–10
  4. By: Randall Akee; Donn L. Feir; Marina Mileo Gorzig; Samuel Myers Jr.
    Abstract: Non-Hispanic whites who do not have a college degree have experienced an increase in “deaths of despair” – deaths caused by suicide, drug use, and alcohol use. Yet, deaths of despair are proportionally largest among Native Americans and the rate of increase of these deaths matches that of non-Hispanic white Americans. Native American women and girls face the largest differentials: deaths of despair comprise over 10% of all deaths among Native American women and girls – almost four times as high as the proportion of deaths for non-Hispanic white women and girls. However, the factors related to these patterns are very different for Native Americans than they are for non-Hispanic white Americans. Improvements in economic conditions are associated with decreased deaths from drug use, alcohol use, and suicide for non-Hispanic white Americans. On the other hand, in counties with higher labor force participation rates, lower unemployment, and higher ratios of employees to residents, there are significantly higher Native American deaths attributed to suicide and drug use. These results suggest that general improvements in local labor market conditions may not be associated with a reduction in deaths of despair for all groups.
    Keywords: Economic conditions; Deaths of despair; Native American; Public health
    JEL: I14 J15
    Date: 2022–09–21

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