nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒10‒23
three papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas, University of Wisconsin

  1. How families matter for understanding economic inequality By Santos, Cezar; Tertilt, Michèle
  2. Intergenerational Mobility of Daughters and Marital Sorting: New Evidence from Imperial China By Wolfgang Keller; Carol H. Shiue
  3. Exposure to Deaths of Despair and U.S. Presidential Election Outcomes By Nicole Siegal

  1. By: Santos, Cezar; Tertilt, Michèle
    Abstract: In this paper we discuss the importance of families for understanding economic inequality. Family structure can in principle be an amplifier or mitigator of economic inequality. We describe three channels on how families shape economic inequality. First, how people match to form families matters for inequality across families. Second, parental investments in children can amplify existing inequalities across generations. Third, inequality can exist even within families, and the economic environment can shape inequality in consumption and leisure between spouses. In this survey we describe these channels and discuss the related literature.
    Keywords: Families;Inequality;Marriage;children
    JEL: D13 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2023–09
  2. By: Wolfgang Keller; Carol H. Shiue
    Abstract: We study the role of marriage for women's intergenerational mobility during the Ming-Qing (1368-1911) period. Using status information based on the timing of marriage from family histories in Central China, already in the early 1500s it is the case that daughters from rich families attain higher status over their lifetime than daughters from poorer families. This intergenerational status persistence is partly due to marital sorting because daughters from high-status families tend to become the wives of sons who themselves come from rich families. Quantitatively, the correlation of 0.6 between the status of biological and in-law families means that marriage accounts for more than one third of total intergenerational status transmission, while not accounting for marriage overestimates mobility by more than 20 percent. Further underscoring the importance of marriage, typically the status of the in-law family plays a larger role for intergenerational status transmission than the child's biological grandparents. Over the period 1500 to 1900, the degree of marital sorting falls, as does intergenerational persistence. Lower investments in the marriage market to find a good match for a daughter go hand in hand with the fall in the returns to son education due to the decline of China's civil service examination.
    JEL: J62 N3
    Date: 2023–09
  3. By: Nicole Siegal (University of Hawaii Manoa)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates how a community's exposure to deaths from suicide, drug overdose, alcohol poisoning, and liver disease (commonly referred to as Òdeaths of despairÓ) affects outcomes in U.S. Presidential elections. Using county-level panel data and two-way fixed effects regressions, I find that a standard deviation increase in the deaths of despair mortality rate led to an increase in the Republican (GOP) vote share of 2.36 percentage points. Prior studies have linked voting outcomes to economic trends such as income inequality, import competition, and financial crises, but controlling for these and other economic and demographic factors does not substantially change my estimates. Estimates are larger and only statistically significant in later years (2016-2020), compared to earlier years (2004-2012). There were stronger effects in counties that the GOP candidate won in the previous election, and in counties with higher White population percentages. The results are maintained when using an instrumental variables approach to mitigate endogeneity concerns.
    Keywords: deaths of despair, elections, opioid epidemic, political polarization
    JEL: I18 I1 D72 I38
    Date: 2023–10

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