nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒06‒19
ten papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
University of Wisconsin

  1. Accounting for the Widening Mortality Gap Between Adult Americans with and without a BA By Anne Case; Angus Deaton
  2. Revisiting the J-shape. Human development and fertility in the United States By Henrik-Alexander Schubert; Christian Dudel; Marina Kolobova; Mikko Myrskylä
  3. Precautionary Fertility: Conceptions, Births, and Abortions around Employment Shocks By Anna Bárdits; Anna Adamecz; Márta Bisztray; Andrea Weber; Ágnes Szabó-Morvai
  4. Can pensions save lives? Evidence from the introduction of old-age assistance in the UK By Jäger, Philipp
  5. Too worried about the environment to have children? Or more worried about the environment after having children? The reciprocal relationship between environmental concerns and fertility By Steffen Peters; Erich Striessnig; Maria Rita Testa; Alessandra Trimarchi; Natalie Nitsche
  6. The Re-Emerging Suicide Crisis in the U.S.: Patterns, Causes and Solutions By Dave E. Marcotte; Benjamin Hansen
  7. Educational disparities in disability-free life expectancy across Europe: a focus on the East-West gaps from a gender perspective By Donata Stonkute; Angelo Lorenti; Jeroen Spijker
  8. Age at Immigration and the Intergenerational Income Mobility of the 1.5 Generation By Marie Connolly; Catherine Haeck; Anne Mei Le Bourdais-Coffey
  9. The persistence of segregation in education: Evidence from historical elites and ethnic surnames in Colombia By Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri; Andrés Álvarez
  10. Population dynamics during the COVID-19 pandemic By Eduardo Gutiérrez; Enrique Moral-Benito; Roberto Ramos

  1. By: Anne Case; Angus Deaton
    Abstract: We examine mortality differences between Americans with and without a four-year college degree over the period 1992 to 2021. From 1992 to 2010, both groups saw falling mortality, but with greater improvements for the more educated; from 2010 to 2019, mortality fell for those with a BA and rose for those without; from 2019 to 2021, mortality rose for both groups, but more rapidly for the less educated. In consequence, the mortality gap between the two groups rose in all three periods, unevenly until 2010, faster between 2010 to 2019, and explosively during the pandemic. The overall period saw dramatic changes in patterns of mortality, but gaps rose consistently, not only in all-cause mortality, but in each of thirteen broad classifications of cause of death. Gaps increased for causes of death whose rates have risen in the last thirty years, whose rates have fallen in the last thirty years, and whose rates fell and then rose. Gaps rose for causes where rates were originally higher for those without a BA, and where rates were originally lower for those without a BA. Although mechanisms and stories are different for each cause of death, the widening gap is seen throughout.
    JEL: I1 I14 I26 J10
    Date: 2023–05
  2. By: Henrik-Alexander Schubert (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Christian Dudel (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Marina Kolobova (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Mikko Myrskylä (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Economic and social development are closely linked with fertility. Several studies have shown that the relationship follows an inverse J-shape: at low and intermediate levels of development, the association is negative; and at high levels of development the association is reversed and becomes positive. However, more recent research building on subnational and U.S. data found only mixed evidence for the inverse J-shape. In this paper, we draw on subnational data on development and fertility in the U.S. states between 1969 and 2018 to examine the relationship between development and fertility. Using a longitudinal approach and addressing several criticisms of the fertility reversal hypothesis, our results support the inverse J-shaped pattern, reconciling trends observed in the U.S. with those in other high-income countries. We also discuss potential explanations for why studies might not detect the inverse J-shape. Moreover, our findings provide insights into the mechanisms that link development and fertility, showing that gender equality and economic uncertainty mediate the relationship between development and fertility.
    Keywords: USA, economic and social development, fertility, fertility determinants
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Anna Bárdits (KRTK KTI, Central European University); Anna Adamecz (KRTK KTI, UCL Social Research Institute); Márta Bisztray (KRTK KTI); Andrea Weber (Central European University, CEPR, IZA); Ágnes Szabó-Morvai (KRTK KTI, University of Debrecen)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of employment shocks on births and induced abortions. We are the first to show that abortions play a role in fertility responses to job displacement. Furthermore, we document precautionary fertility behavior: the anticipatory response of women to expected labor market shocks. Using individual-level administrative data from Hungary, we look at firm closures and mass layoffs as conditionally exogenous employment shocks in an event study design. After establishing that both shocks have a similarly large and persistent negative effect on employment and wages, we show that women already react to the anticipation of these shocks, and their fertility responses differ substantially for firm closures and mass layoffs. We find that abortions increase by 88% in the year before firm closures, while the number of births is not affected. Mass layoffs have no significant effect on abortions in the preceding year but increase the number of births by 44%. Mass layoffs and firm closures differ in one crucial aspect: pregnant women cannot be laid off until the firm exists, but no such dismissal protection is available in the case of firm closures. Thus, when dismissal protection is available, anticipated employment shocks increase the number of live births, whereas when it is not, they increase the number of abortions. These results suggest that dismissal protection has the potential to support women to keep pregnancies at times of economic shocks.
    Keywords: Abortion, Birth, Pregnancy, Mass layoff, Firm closure
    JEL: I12 J13 J65
    Date: 2023–03
  4. By: Jäger, Philipp
    Abstract: I study the impact of old-age assistance on mortality using the introduction of public pensions in the UK in 1909 as a quasi-natural experiment. Exploiting the newly created pension eligibility age through a difference-in-difference as well as an event-time design, I show that elderly mortality in England and Wales declined after the pension was introduced. The estimated mortality decline is economically relevant, more pronounced in counties with a higher share of pensioners and is driven by fewer deaths from infectious as well as non-infectious diseases. An analysis of full-count individual-level census data points to a reduction in residential crowding and retirement, especially from occupations associated with high mortality rates, as likely channels.
    Keywords: Old-age assistance, mortality, retirement
    JEL: H55 I12 J14 J26
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Steffen Peters (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Erich Striessnig; Maria Rita Testa (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Alessandra Trimarchi (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Natalie Nitsche (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: -Climate change is one of the central challenges for contemporary societies. It is widely discussed as triggering “climate anxiety, ” and as dampening the desire to reproduce, particularly among young people. Conversely, parenthood could affect people’s attitudes and behaviors toward the environment. Empirically, however, little is known about this potentially reciprocal relationship due to the lack of longitudinal data of sufficient temporal scope. Our study extends this debate using unique data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSOEP), which contains both full fertility histories and yearly measures of environmental concerns (1984 to 2020). We follow individuals born between 1965 and 2000 through time and investigate a) whether environmental concerns predict first birth quantum and timing, and b) whether environmental concern trajectories vary between eventual parents and the childless. Results show no significant relationship between environmental concerns early in or throughout the life course and first birth timing or quantum, except for individuals born before 1970, who delayed parenthood if they had substantial environmental concerns. Moreover, while some differences in environmental concern trajectories between eventual parents and the childless are found, they seem to be largely rooted in unobserved heterogeneity.
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Dave E. Marcotte; Benjamin Hansen
    Abstract: The suicide rate in the United States has risen nearly 40 percent since 2000. This increase is puzzling because suicide rates had been falling for decades at the end of the 20th Century. In this paper, we review important facts about the changing rate of suicide. General trends miss the story of important differences across groups – suicide rates rose substantially among middle aged persons between 2005 and 2015 but have fallen since. Among young people, suicide rates began a rapid rise after 2010 that has not abated. We review empirical evidence to assess potential causes for recent changes in suicide rates. The economic hardship caused by the Great Recession played an important role in rising suicide among prime-aged Americans. We illustrate that the increase in the prevalence of depression among young people during the 2010s was so large it could explain nearly all the increase in suicide mortality among those under 25. Bullying victimization of LGBTQ youth could also account for part of the rise in suicide. The evidence that access to firearms or opioids are major drivers of recent suicide trends is less clear. We end by summarizing evidence on the most promising policies to reduce suicide mortality.
    JEL: I1 I12 I19
    Date: 2023–05
  7. By: Donata Stonkute (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Angelo Lorenti (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Jeroen Spijker
    Abstract: Education plays a crucial role in shaping the health outcomes of adults. This study examines the relationship between educational attainment and health across Europe. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we estimate educational inequalities in disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) by gender in seven Western European (2004-2019) and three Central and Eastern European (CEE) (2010-2019) countries. We exploit a novel approach that combines the Sullivan method and multivariate life tables to calculate DFLE using SHARE data. We find that educational differences in DFLE favoring the better-educated exist in both CEE and Western European countries, but also that the differences across countries are more pronounced among the low-educated. While the absolute gaps in DFLE between low- and high-educated individuals in CEE and Western European countries are similar, the educational disparities in DFLE impose a more significant burden on the CEE populations due to their overall lower life expectancy. Educational inequalities are larger among women than among men in CEE countries, while the results for Western European countries are mixed. Our findings further highlight the important role of the institutional context in mitigating or exacerbating educational inequalities in health.
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Marie Connolly (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal); Catherine Haeck (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal); Anne Mei Le Bourdais-Coffey (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal)
    Abstract: In this paper, we exploit intergenerationally-linked tax files and Census data to first document the intergenerational income transmission between individuals who immigrated to Canada as children—the 1.5 generation—and their parents. We find that the correlation between parental income rank and child income rank becomes stronger the older the child is at arrival. We then try to get at the causal effect of the age at immigration by estimating a model in which child rank is explained by interactions between age at arrival and the average predicted rank of second-generation immigrants from the same region of origin, living in the same region in Canada, from the same birth cohort, given their parental income. The model gives us the rate at which children from the 1.5 generation catch up to second-generation immigrants. We find that up to age 10, the relation between age at immigration and income is flat, but starting at age 11, each year is associated with 3.3 fewer percentile ranks.
    Keywords: intergenerational income mobility, immigrants, 1.5 generation, age at immigration, Canada
    JEL: J62 J61 J15
    Date: 2023–05
  9. By: Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri; Andrés Álvarez
    Abstract: Inequality in access to high-quality education can hinder the ability of education to promote intergenerational mobility. Looking at the case of Colombia, one of the most unequal and least mobile countries in Latin America, we evaluate whether contemporary differences in access to high-quality education have deep roots in the past. We use several past and contemporary sources to define social status attributes for several historical groups. Assuming that sufficiently rare surnames are part of the same extended family, we trace dynasties of indigenous, encomenderos (Spaniard colonial officers), 19th century slave-owners, and members of different educational, social, and business elites of the 17th, late 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Using microdata from administrative sources, we provide evidence of social segregation in education and test if the historical status of each social group is associated with access to disadvantageous or privileged educational institutions. The results show that the original social status of the historical groups is highly associated with their contemporary performance in educational outcomes. We explore assortative mating as a mechanism for perpetuating segregation in education. We find evidence of homogamy within the historical elites and ethnic surnames. We conclude that the educational system in Colombia reproduces patterns of social exclusion rooted in the past. **** RESUMEN: La desigualdad en el acceso a educación de alta calidad puede obstaculizar el papel de la educación como motor de movilidad social. Estudiando el caso de Colombia, uno de los países más desiguales y menos móviles del América Latina, nuestro objetivo es evaluar si las diferencias contemporáneas en el acceso a educación de alta calidad tienen sus raíces en el pasado. Con fuentes históricas y contemporáneas definimos atributos de estatus social de varios grupos históricos. Asumiendo que los apellidos suficientemente raros son parte de la misma familia extensa, seguimos dinastías de indígenas, encomenderos, due˜nos de esclavos miembros de diferentes élites educativas, sociales y empresariales de los siglos XVII, finales del siglo XIX y principios del siglo XX. Usando fuentes administrativas evaluamos si el estatus histórico de cada grupo social está asociado con el acceso a instituciones educativas privilegiadas. Los resultados muestran que el estatus social original de los grupos históricos predice el acceso a educación de alta calidad. Los grupos étnicos continúan siendo segregados de la educación de alta calidad contemporánea. Mientras que, entre más antigua es la élite más probabilidad hay de que converja a la media en estatus social. Además encontramos evidencia de homogamia contemporánea dentro de las élites históricas y los apellidos étnicos. Los resultados permiten concluir que el sistema educativo en Colombia reproduce patrones de exclusión social que están arraigados en el pasado.
    Keywords: Education, Segregation, Persistence, Assortative mating, Colombia, Educación, Segregación, Persistencia, Homogamia
    JEL: O15 D63 I24 J15 J12 N36
    Date: 2023–06
  10. By: Eduardo Gutiérrez (Banco de España); Enrique Moral-Benito (Banco de España); Roberto Ramos (Banco de España)
    Abstract: The year 2020 was marked by net migration dynamics in Spain that resulted in an increase in the rural population at the expense of the urban population, interrupting the secular trend towards greater urbanisation prevailing since the middle of the last century. According to the findings of this paper, the demographic momentum of rural areas was attributable both to higher population inflows from elsewhere in the country and, in particular, to a slowdown in outflows from rural areas. In addition, a regression analysis shows that the demographic dynamics during the rural exodus (1950-1990), the percentage of second homes and accessibility to services, both physical and digital, are explanatory factors when characterising municipal-level population changes during the pandemic. 2020 represents a unique period, marked by strict restrictions on movement and on activity, along with stringent social distancing measures. This setting, along with the modest levels of remote working, raise significant doubts and uncertainty as to the extent to which the slowdown in urbanisation observed in that year will continue over a longer time horizon.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, population, migrations, Spanish municipalities
    JEL: J11 R10
    Date: 2022–03

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