nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒11‒20
nine papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas, University of Wisconsin

  1. Causal Analysis of Policy Effects on Fertility By Rannveig Kaldager Hart; Janna Bergsvik; Agnes Fauske; Wookun Kim
  2. Does Paid Sick Leave Facilitate Reproductive Choice? By Johanna Catherine Maclean; Ioana Popovici; Christopher J. Ruhm
  3. Railways and the European Fertility Transition By Ciccarelli, Carlo; Fenske, James; Martí Henneberg, Jordi
  4. Redistribution with Unequal Life Expectancy By Sebastian Koehne
  5. Unequal inequality aversion within and among countries and generations By Marc Fleurbaey; Stéphane Zuber
  6. Pension Reform, Incentives to Retire and Retirement Behavior: Empirical Evidence from Swedish Micro-data By Lisa Laun; Mårten Palme
  7. Deadwood Labor: The Effects of Eliminating Employment Protection By Emmanuel Saez; Benjamin Schoefer; David G. Seim
  8. Late 19th and Early 20th Century Urban Net Nutrition by Gender and Race By Scott Alan Carson; Scott A. Carson
  9. Have Preferences Become More Similar Worldwide? By Rainer Kotschy; Uwe Sunde

  1. By: Rannveig Kaldager Hart; Janna Bergsvik; Agnes Fauske; Wookun Kim
    Abstract: This chapter reviews the literature on the causal effects of policies on fertility. It focuses on evidence from experiments and quasi-experiments in low fertility contexts, including studies from Europe, Northern America, Oceania and Asia. Making no a priori restrictions on policy type, the review encompasses evaluations of parental leave, childcare, health insurance, and financial incentives such as child transfers. Childcare expansions increase completed fertility. Financial incentives had positive effects on fertility across contexts, both in the short and long run. Expansions of parental leave rights in Central Europe, and introduction of parental leave in the U.S., also had positive effects. Distributional effects of these policies are very different, with parental leave compensation benefiting high-earning couples, while expansions of child care programs have potential to reduce social inequalities.
    Keywords: fertility, parental leave, cash transfers, childcare, healthcare, public policy, causal effect
    JEL: J13 J18 H53 I18
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Johanna Catherine Maclean; Ioana Popovici; Christopher J. Ruhm
    Abstract: Unlike most advanced countries, the U.S. does not have a federal paid sick leave (PSL) policy; however, multiple states have adopted PSL mandates. PSL can facilitate healthcare use among women of child−bearing ages, including use of family planning services such as contraception, in−vitro fertilization, or abortion services. Use of these services, in turn, can increase or decrease birth rates. We combine administrative and survey data with difference-in-differences methods to shed light on these possibilities. Our findings indicate that state PSL mandates reduce birth rates, potentially through increased use of contraception but not changes in abortion services. We offer suggestive evidence of heterogeneity in birth rate effects by age, education, and race. Our findings imply that PSL policies may help women balance family and work responsibilities, and facilitate their reproductive choices.
    JEL: D1 I1 J13
    Date: 2023–10
  3. By: Ciccarelli, Carlo (University of Rome Tor Vegata); Fenske, James (University of Warwick and CAGE); Martí Henneberg, Jordi (Universitat de Lleida)
    Abstract: We show that the spread of the railway network slowed the decline of fertility in Europe during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We construct novel data on market access across sub-national regions in Europe and use both a panel fixed effects approach and an instrumental variables strategy that leverages variation in market access stemming from access to distant markets. We find that greater market access predicts higher fertility, with a standardized magnitude of 0.14. Consistent with an interpretation that market access increased fertility by raising incomes relative to the returns to child quality and the opportunity cost of childbearing, we show that our results are driven by locations that achieved higher levels of income per capita despite lagging in human capital and female labor force participation.
    Keywords: Economic History JEL Classification:
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Sebastian Koehne
    Abstract: This paper introduces life expectancy inequality into a tractable Mirrleesian life-cycle model and characterizes the optimal income tax policy using theory and calibration. A positive association between life expectancy and income counteracts the well-known static pattern of declining marginal utility. As a result, the mechanical value of redistribution is reduced at all income levels. Moreover, the pension wedge becomes a novel determinant of optimal taxation, motivating relatively lower optimal tax rates for low earners and relatively higher optimal tax rates for high earners. Quantitatively, the effects of the mechanical value of redistribution dominate, and the optimal marginal tax rates fall by up to 10 percentage points when life expectancy is heterogeneous.
    Keywords: optimal taxation, redistribution, life expectancy, inequality
    JEL: D82 H21
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Marc Fleurbaey (Paris School of Economics, CNRS & ENS Paris); Stéphane Zuber (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CNRS, & Paris School of Economics, Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Suppose that, for whatever reason, it is decided that inequalities within countries are more offensive than inequalities between countries, and that inequalities between populations living together are more offensive than inequalities between generations living in different times. Can a social welfare function express that preference? We show that it is actually difficult to in corporate such a localist preference into a social welfare function, except in a limited way (i.e., from a situation of specific similarity between countries). We also show that in order to obtain such preferences, the relative size of inequality aversion within and between countries may be counter-intuitive in some relevant cases, in the sense that a greater inequality aversion may happen to be required across countries than within countries. This research highlights new social welfare functions that aggregate the outcomes of evaluations over pairs of agents
    Keywords: inequality aversion; transfer principle; within-country preference
    JEL: D04 D63 D64 D78
    Date: 2023–10
  6. By: Lisa Laun; Mårten Palme
    Abstract: This paper investigates to what extent the 1998 reform of Sweden’s public old-age pension system contributed to the increase in extensive margin labor supply among older workers seen in the country in recent decades. We use a large data set containing all males and females born in Sweden between 1927 and 1950 and observe their retirement behavior during 1991–2012. The data show that the reform changed the incentives to remain in the labor force ambiguously: although it induced an income effect towards later retirement through lower replacement levels, it also implied a lower price on leaving the labor market under some assumptions. We use an econometric model in which the economic incentives to stay in the labor market are measured by Social Security Wealth, defined at each hypothetical retirement age, and a variable measuring the implicit tax, imposed by the income security system, on staying in the labor force. The point estimates from our econometric model, which should be interpreted with caution, suggest that at most a small part of the increase in labor force participation of the elderly can be attributed to the pension reform.
    JEL: J2 J26
    Date: 2023–10
  7. By: Emmanuel Saez; Benjamin Schoefer; David G. Seim
    Abstract: We study the role of employment protection legislation (EPL) in boosting employment among older workers. Our analysis juxtaposes the quantitative employment gains with the qualitative “deadwood labor” problem that such gains entail. We do so by conducting a comprehensive analysis of the sharp and complete elimination of EPL that occurs at age 67 in Sweden, as well as reform-driven shifts in this age cutoff. First, focusing on direct separation effects, we find that 8% of jobs separate in response to the elimination of EPL. Effects stem from jobs with stronger initial EPL (long-tenure, firms subject to “last in, first out” rules), and those in the public sector. Separations appear involuntary to workers, with firms targeting plausibly unproductive (sick) workers. Second, we focus on effects of continuing jobs. While wages appear rigid to EPL, we uncover novel, sizable intensive-margin hours reductions among continuing jobs, and an 8% drop in earnings conditional on staying on the job. Third, we estimate total equilibrium effects at the cohort level, where separations fully pass through into employment to population rate effects, with no offsetting effect from hiring. On a per-capita basis, total earnings of older workers causally drop by 21.5% due to EPL elimination. We validate these local effects by leveraging a reform-driven shift in the age cutoff from 67 to 68.
    JEL: J0
    Date: 2023–10
  8. By: Scott Alan Carson; Scott A. Carson
    Abstract: Individuals urbanize when the net benefits to urbanization exceed rural living conditions. Body mass, height, and weight are welfare measures that reflect the net difference between calories consumed and calories required for work and to withstand the physical environment. Nineteenth and early 20th century US urban residents had lower BMIs, were shorter, with lower weights than rural residents. Urban net nutrition varied by race, and urban whites and blacks had lower BMIs, shorter statures, and lower weights compared to their rural counterparts. Urban male net nutrition experienced greater variation than urban females, and urban females may not have been affected as much as males by urbanization.
    Keywords: urbanization, stature variation, cumulative net nutrition, nativity, race
    JEL: C10 C40 D10 I10 N30
    Date: 2023
  9. By: Rainer Kotschy (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston); Uwe Sunde (LMU Munich)
    Abstract: Recent evidence shows substantial heterogeneity in time, risk, and social preferences across and within populations; yet little is known about the dynamics of preference heterogeneity across generations. We apply a novel identification strategy based on dyadic differences in preferences using representative data for 80, 000 individuals from 76 countries. Our results document that, among more recent birth cohorts, preferences are more similar across countries and gender gaps in preferences are smaller within countries. This decline in preference heterogeneity across cohorts relates to country-specific differences in preference endowments, population composition, and socioeconomic conditions during formative years, and points at global cultural convergence.
    Keywords: cohort effects; patience; willingness to take risks;
    JEL: D01 J10 J11
    Date: 2023–10–23

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