nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒07‒17
seven papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
University of Wisconsin

  1. When Death Was Postponed: The Effect of HIV Medication on Work, Savings, and Marriage By Ejrnæs, Mette; García-Miralles, Esteban; Gørtz, Mette; Lundborg, Petter
  2. Paying Moms to Stay Home: Short and Long Run Effects on Parents and Children By Jonathan Gruber; Kristiina Huttunen; Tuomas Kosonen
  3. Child-rearing, Social Security and Married Women’s Labor Supply over the Life Cycle By Das, Debasmita
  4. Will Childcare Subsidies Increase the Labour Supply of Mothers in Ireland? By Doorley, Karina; Tuda, Dora; Duggan, Luke
  5. Spouses as Home Health Workers and Cooks: Insights for Applied Research By Grossbard, Shoshana
  6. Cause-of-death determinants of lifespan inequality By Permanyer, Iñaki; Vigezzi, Serena
  7. Estimating Historical Inequality from Social Tables: Towards Methodological Consistency By von Fintel, Dieter; Links, Calumet; Green, Erik

  1. By: Ejrnæs, Mette (University of Copenhagen); García-Miralles, Esteban (Bank of Spain); Gørtz, Mette (University of Copenhagen); Lundborg, Petter (Lund University)
    Abstract: Longer life expectancy can affect individuals' incentives to work, save, and marry, net of any changes in their underlying health. We test this hypothesis by using the sudden arrival of a new treatment in 1995 that dramatically increased life expectancy for HIV-infected individuals. We compare the behavioral responses of HIV-infected individuals who were still in good health but who differed in their access to the new treatment. Those with access to treatment work substantially more, marry later, but do not save more. Our results highlight the importance of accounting for such incentive effects when valuing increases in life expectancy.
    Keywords: life expectancy, labor supply, marriage, HIV
    JEL: D84 I12 J12 J21
    Date: 2023–06
  2. By: Jonathan Gruber (MIT); Kristiina Huttunen (Aalto University, Helsinki GSE, VATT and IZA); Tuomas Kosonen (VATT Institute for Economic Research and Finnish Centre of Excellence in Tax Systems Research)
    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 in child home care allowance to show that home care allowance decreases maternal employment in both the short and long term, with almost three-quarters of the supplement amount offset by lost labor income. The effects are large enough for the existence of home care benefit system to explain the higher child penalty in Finland than comparable nations. Home care benefits also negatively affect the early childhood cognitive test results of children at the age of five, increase the likelihood of choosing vocational rather than academic secondary education track, and increase youth crimes. We confirm that the mechanism of action is changing work/home care arrangements by studying a a day care fee (DCF) reform had the opposite effect of raising incentives to work. We find that this policy increased the labor force participation of mothers and participation of children to day care, and improved child early test and schooling outcomes. This parallel set of findings suggests that on average in Finland, shifting child care from the home to the market increases labor force participation and improves child outcomes.
    Keywords: home care allowance, employment, child development, schooling
    JEL: J13 J21 J38
    Date: 2022–11
  3. By: Das, Debasmita
    Abstract: This paper studies how career interruptions during child-rearing years affect the labor market trajectory, lifetime earnings, and Social Security benefits of married women in the United States. To this end, I develop a dynamic structural life-cycle model of female labor supply, savings, and Social Security benefit claiming and estimate the model using the Method of Simulated Moments for the 1943-1954 birth cohort. Utilizing the estimated model, I evalu- ate the effects of revenue-neutral introduction of the Social Security Caregiver Credits that cover lost earnings during early child-rearing years through change in retirement benefits. The model predicts that introducing the provision of earning credits for child care in the Social Security system would lead to a sizeable reduction in gender gap in average career earnings at the Social Security Early Retirement Age. The findings suggest that instituting caregiver credits for child-rearing in the absence of the marriage-based Social Security ben- efits would offset a substantial portion of the motherhood penalty in lifetime labor earnings of married women and increase their retirement benefit adequacy.
    Keywords: Caregiver Credit, Female Labor Supply, Life-cycle Model, Social Security
    JEL: D14 E21 H55 I38 J13 J21 J26
    Date: 2022–08–04
  4. By: Doorley, Karina (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin); Tuda, Dora (Trinity College Dublin); Duggan, Luke (Trinity College Dublin)
    Abstract: The cost of childcare has a significant impact on the decision of parents – particularly mothers – to work. Prior to the introduction of subsidies for formal childcare in Ireland in 2019 through the National Childcare Scheme (NCS), the cost of full-time centre-based childcare was among the most expensive in the OECD. Doorley et al. (2021) show that the introduction of the subsidy scheme improved childcare affordability. In this paper, we investigate the effects of the scheme on the labour supply and childcare choices of mothers. We model the joint decision of labour supply and childcare for lone and coupled mothers of children under six. Mothers are likely to respond to the introduction of childcare subsidies in 2019 by switching from informal childcare to formal childcare (11ppt), but not by increasing their participation in the labour market. We estimate that recent (2023) reforms of the NCS, which increase the generosity and the scope of the subsidy, will increase mothers' participation by 3% and full-time work by 4%, but also substantially decrease the demand for informal childcare. A hypothetical abolition of all childcare costs would close the gender employment gap, increasing mothers' participation by 30 ppt.
    Keywords: female labour supply, childcare, discrete choice
    JEL: J13 J22 C25
    Date: 2023–05
  5. By: Grossbard, Shoshana (San Diego State University)
    Abstract: This paper presents a model of consumption and household production that takes into account substitution between health-related goods that are produced at home and those produced commercially as well as substitution between goods produced at home by oneself and those produced by one's spouse or partner. New insights are offered that help interpret heterogeneity analysis in data for couples, when individuals differ by gender, age, weight and education. The model also identifies new variables related to marriage markets that could help explain consumption, including demand for medical care and good nutrition. These variables include sex ratios (and exogenous parameters that influence sex ratios) as well as legal changes related to marriage and divorce. A reexamination of the determinants of the price elasticity of demand includes an explanation for gender gaps in such elasticity.
    Keywords: health, caregiving, marriage, consumption, household production
    JEL: D1 D11 D13 I1 I12 J12
    Date: 2023–05
  6. By: Permanyer, Iñaki; Vigezzi, Serena
    Abstract: We propose a novel decomposition approach that breaks down the levels and trends of lifespan inequality as the sum of cause-of-death contributions. The suggested method shows whether the levels and changes in lifespan inequality are attributable to the levels and changes in (1) the extent of inequality in the cause-specific age-at-death distribution (the ‘Inequality’ component), (2) the total share of deaths attributable to each cause (the ‘Proportion’ component), and (3) the cause-specific mean age at death (the ‘Mean’ component). This is the so-called ‘Inequality-Proportion-Mean’ (or IPM) method. We apply the IPM method to 10 low-mortality countries in Europe. Our findings suggest that the most prevalent causes of death (in our setting ‘Circulatory system’ and ‘Neoplasms’) do not necessarily contribute the most to overall levels of lifespan inequality. In turn, ‘Perinatal and congenital’ causes are the strongest drivers of lifespan inequality declines. The contribution of the IPM components to changes in lifespan inequality varies considerably across causes, sexes and countries. Among the three, the ‘Proportion’ component is the one that explains the least lifespan inequality dynamics – suggesting that shifts in the structure of causes of death alone contributed little to change lifespan inequality.
    Date: 2023–06–08
  7. By: von Fintel, Dieter (Stellenbosch University); Links, Calumet (Stellenbosch University); Green, Erik (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: Research on long-term historical inequality has expanded to include previously neglected periods and societies, particularly in the global South. This is partly due to the resurgence of the social tables method in economic history, an approach which uses archival records to reconstruct income and wealth distributions in contexts where micro data is unavailable. This method can cause a downward bias in estimating inequality, but there is limited evidence of this bias in economic history. We collected a new data set of 108 historical social tables spanning over a 1000 years. We found that the compilers consistently made careful methodological choices that took data limitations into account. We found that the inequality estimates are not systematically related to the number of classes chosen or the size of the top class, but that choosing bottom classes that bundle together even small variations in income or wealth can introduce a downward bias to the inequality estimates. This drawback can be overcome by using methodological cohesion to mitigate the problem of limited information about the poorest classes in colonial archives.
    Keywords: Social tables; Gini; inequality; pre-industrial; grouped data
    JEL: D63 N30
    Date: 2023–03–10

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