nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2024‒01‒15
eleven papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas, University of Wisconsin

  1. Toxified to the Bone: Early-Life and Childhood Exposure to Lead and Men’s Old-Age Mortality By Jason Fletcher; Hamid Noghanibehambari
  2. Mean survival times and retirement ages By Linden, Mikael; Väänänen, Niko
  3. Long-run Impacts of Forced Labor Migration on Fertility Behaviors: Evidence from Colonial West Africa By Pascaline Dupas; Camille Falezan; Marie Christelle Mabeu; Pauline Rossi
  4. The Effects of Reforms on Retirement Behavior: Introduction and Summary By Axel H. Börsch-Supan; Courtney Coile
  5. What Explains the Growing Gender Education Gap? The Effects of Parental Background, the Labor Market and the Marriage Market on College Attainment By Zvi Eckstein; Michael P. Keane; Osnat Lifshitz
  6. Socioeconomic mortality differences during the Great Influenza in Spain By Rosés, Joan R.; Domènech, Jordi; Basco, Sergi
  7. The Role of Economic News in Predicting Suicides By Francesco Moscone; Elisa Tosetti; Giorgio Vittadini
  8. Occupational Hazard? An Analysis of Birth Outcomes among Physician Mothers By Jena, Anupam B.; Slusky, David; Springer, Lilly
  9. The Effects of Social Security Incentives on Retirement in Spain By Pilar García-Gómez; Silvia Garcia-Mandicó; Sergi Jimenez-Martin; Judit Vall Castelló
  10. The Role of Friends in the Opioid Epidemic By Effrosyni Adamopoulou; Jeremy Greenwood; Nezih Guner; Karen A. Kopecky
  11. Dealing with Imperfect Randomization: Inference for the HighScope Perry Preschool Program By James J. Heckman; Rodrigo Pinto; Azeem Shaikh

  1. By: Jason Fletcher; Hamid Noghanibehambari
    Abstract: Several strands of research document the life-cycle impacts of lead exposure during the critical period of children’s development. Yet little is known about long-run effects of lead exposure during early-life on old-age mortality outcomes. This study exploits the staggered installation of water systems across 761 cities in the US over the first decades of the 20th century combined with cross-city differences in materials used in water pipelines to identify lead and non-lead cities. An event-study analysis suggests that the impacts are more concentrated on children exposed during in-utero up to age 10. The results of difference-in-difference analysis suggests an intent-to-treat effect of 2.7 months reduction in old-age longevity for fully exposed cohorts. A heterogeneity analysis reveals effects that are 3.5 and 2 times larger among the nonwhite subpopulation and low socioeconomic status families, respectively. We also find reductions in education and socioeconomic standing during early adulthood as candidate mechanism. Finally, we employ WWII enlistment data and observe reductions in height-for-age among lead-exposed cohorts.
    JEL: I1 I18 J1 N0
    Date: 2023–12
  2. By: Linden, Mikael; Väänänen, Niko
    Abstract: We propose an elementary economic model which assumes that the integral of life survival function can be interpreted as a utility function. The model helps us to understand connections between individual’s survival estimate to some specific age and the timing of retirement. The difference between survival and related longevity costs is maximized with an estimate of survival time. The results are derived with the concept of restricted mean survival times (RMST). This is also applied to the observed retirement and death ages for the Finnish year 1947 birth cohort. We show that actual survival times, i.e., mean lifetimes to the age of 73 years, which is the highest age in our follow-up sample, differ among retired and not yet retired persons between the ages from 60 to 68 years. The main result is that persons who retire in ages from 62 to 66 years have shorter mean lifetimes to the age of 73 years compared to individuals who do not retire in these ages. This is interpreted as evidence of too optimistic survival estimates among the persons retiring at the most popular retirement ages.
    Keywords: Retirement ages, subjective survival times, age of death, survival analysis, restricted mean survival times (RMST
    JEL: C41 I12 J14
    Date: 2023–12
  3. By: Pascaline Dupas; Camille Falezan; Marie Christelle Mabeu; Pauline Rossi
    Abstract: Is the persistently high fertility in West Africa today rooted in the decades of forced labor migration under colonial rule? We study the case of Burkina Faso, considered the largest labor reservoir in West Africa by the French colonial authorities. Hundreds of thousands of young men were forcibly recruited and sent to work in neighboring colonies for multiple years. The practice started in the late 1910s and lasted until the late 1940s, when forced labor was replaced with voluntary wage employment. We digitize historical maps, combine data from multiple surveys, and exploit the historical, temporary partition of colonial Burkina Faso (and, more specifically, the historical land of the Mossi ethnic group) into three zones with different needs for labor to implement a spatial regression discontinuity design analysis. We find that, on the side where Mossi villages were more exposed to forced labor historically, there is more temporary male migration to Côte d'Ivoire up to today, and lower realized and desired fertility today. We show evidence suggesting that the inherited pattern of low-skill circular migration for adult men reduced the reliance on subsistence farming and the accompanying need for child labor. We can rule out women's empowerment or improvements in human and physical capital as pathways for the fertility decline. These findings contribute to the debate on the origins of family institutions and preferences, often mentioned to explain West Africa's exceptional fertility trends, showing that fertility choices respond to changes in modes of production.
    JEL: J13 N37 O15
    Date: 2023–12
  4. By: Axel H. Börsch-Supan; Courtney Coile
    Abstract: The International Social Security (ISS) project compares the experiences of a dozen developed countries to study Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World. The project was launched in the mid 1990s and was motivated by decades of decline in the labor force participation rate of older men. The first phases of the project documented that social security program provisions can create powerful incentives for retirement that are strongly correlated with the labor force behavior of older workers. Since then, the dramatic decline in men’s labor force participation has been replaced by sharply rising participation rates. Older women’s participation has increased dramatically as well. This tenth phase of the International Social Security (ISS) Project is the third step in explaining rising participation at older ages. The first step investigated changes in health and education as potential causes and showed that they could not account for the extent of changes in labor force participation. As a second step, we documented that countries have undertaken numerous reforms of their social security programs, disability programs, and other public benefit programs available to older workers. We found that these reforms substantially reduced the implicit tax on work at older ages and that stronger financial incentives to work were positively correlated with labor force participation at older ages. In this volume, the third step of our analysis, we exploit the time-series and cross-national variation in the timing and extent of reforms of retirement incentives and employ micro-econometric methods in order to study whether the correlation between financial incentives and work at older ages is causal.
    JEL: J14 J26
    Date: 2023–12
  5. By: Zvi Eckstein; Michael P. Keane; Osnat Lifshitz
    Abstract: In the 1960 cohort, American men and women graduated from college at the same rate, and this was true for Whites, Blacks and Hispanics. But in more recent cohorts, women graduate at much higher rates than men. To understand the emerging gender education gap, we formulate and estimate a model of individual and family decision-making where education, labor supply, marriage and fertility are all endogenous. Assuming preferences that are common across ethnic groups and fixed over cohorts, our model explains differences in all endogenous variables by gender/ethnicity for the ‘60-‘80 cohorts based on three exogenous factors: family background, labor market and marriage market constraints. Changes in parental background are a key factor driving the growing gender education gap: Women with college educated mothers get greater utility from college, and are much more likely to graduate themselves. The marriage market also contributes: Women’s chance of getting marriage offers at older ages has increased, enabling them to defer marriage. The labor market is the largest factor: Improvement in women’s labor market return to college in recent cohorts accounts for 50% of the increase in their graduation rate. But the labor market returns to college are still greater for men. Women go to college more because their overall return is greater, after factoring in marriage market returns and their greater utility from college attendance. We predict the recent large increases in women’s graduation rates will cause their children’s graduation rates to increase further. But growth in the aggregate graduation rate will slow substantially, due to significant increases in the share of Hispanics – a group with a low graduation rate – in recent birth cohorts.
    Keywords: Labor supply; College graduation; Marriage; Parental background; Education; Fertility; Gender wage gap; Assortative mating; Returns to college
    JEL: I20 J22 D10 J10 J24
    Date: 2023–12–19
  6. By: Rosés, Joan R.; Domènech, Jordi; Basco, Sergi
    Abstract: Despite being one of the deadliest viruses in history, there is limited information on the socioeconomic factors that affected mortality rates during the Great Influenza Pandemic. In this study, we use occupation-province level data to investigate the relationship between influenza excess mortality rates and occupation-related status in Spain. We obtain three main results. Firstly, individuals in low-income occupations experienced the highest excess mortality, pointing to a notable income gradient. Secondly, professions that involved more social interaction were associated with a higher excess of mortality, regardless of income. Finally, we observe a substantial rural mortality penalty, even after controlling for income-related occupational groups. Based on this evidence, it seems that the high number of deaths was caused by not self-isolating. Some individuals did not quarantine themselves because they could not afford to miss work. In rural areas, home confinement was likely more limited because their inhabitants did not have immediate access to information about the pandemic or fully understand its impact due to their limited experience handling influenza outbreaks.
    Keywords: pandemics; health inequality; mortality inequities; urban penalty; Elsevier deal
    JEL: N34 J10
    Date: 2024–01–01
  7. By: Francesco Moscone (Brunel University London; Ca' Foscari University of Venice); Elisa Tosetti (University of Padua); Giorgio Vittadini (University of Milano-Bicocca)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the role of media and language used to comment on economic news in explaining and anticipating suicides in England and Wales. This is an interesting question, given the large delay in the release of official statistics on suicides. We use a large data set of over 200, 000 news articles published in six major UK newspapers from 2001 to 2015 and carry sentiment analysis of the language used to comment on economic news. We extract daily indicators measuring a set of negative emotions that are often associated with poor mental health and use them to explain and forecast national daily suicide figures. We find that highly negative comments on the economic situation in newspaper articles are predictors of higher suicide numbers, especially when using words conveying stronger emotions of fear and despair. Our results suggest that media language carrying very strong, negative feelings may be an early signal of a deterioration in a population's mental health.
    Keywords: suicide, health outcomes, text analysis, emotions extraction, forecasting
    JEL: I14 I15
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Jena, Anupam B. (NBER); Slusky, David (University of Kansas); Springer, Lilly (University of Kansas)
    Abstract: Training to become a physician involves long work hours that can be physically demanding, particularly for surgeons. Are birth outcomes of physician mothers affected as a result? Using Texas birth data from 2007-2014, we compared birth outcomes between physicians and another highly educated group, lawyers, and between surgeons and non-surgeon physicians. Further, using a difference-in-differences framework, we examine whether the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education 2011 duty hour reform, which lowered trainee work hours, impacted the birth outcomes of babies born to physicians compared with lawyers. We find that physicians have lower birth weights and shorter pregnancies than lawyers with the results driven by physicians in surgical specialties. However, the duty hour reform appears to not have impacted birth outcomes. Thus, we find that physicians tend to have worse birth outcomes than lawyers and, in this case, the work reform did little to address the difference.
    Keywords: physicians, surgeons, birth outcomes, birthweight, pregnancy length, duty hour reform
    JEL: I12 J13 J44 K32
    Date: 2023–12
  9. By: Pilar García-Gómez; Silvia Garcia-Mandicó; Sergi Jimenez-Martin; Judit Vall Castelló
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the extent to what financial incentives have influenced individual and couples retirement decisions over the last two decades in Spain. We use administrative data on earnings histories to create synthetic measures of financial incentives that we link to individual survey data from the European Community Household Panel and the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. The ocurrence of several major reforms in the period largely facilitates identification. We find that retirement is highly responsive to incentive variables (both ITAX and SSW). We find that a 10% change in the implicit tax rate on working longer increases the probability of retiring by about 0.70 pp (0.90 pp for men and 0.54 for women). Furthermore, we find that couple incentives matter more in husband's retirement decisions than in wife's retirement decisions.
    JEL: H55
    Date: 2023–12
  10. By: Effrosyni Adamopoulou (ZEW); Jeremy Greenwood (University of Pennsylvania); Nezih Guner (Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI)); Karen A. Kopecky (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
    Abstract: The role of friends in the US opioid epidemic is examined. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), adults aged 25-34 and their high school best friends are focused on. An instrumental variable technique is employed to estimate peer effects in opioid misuse. Severe injuries in the previous year are used as an instrument for opioid misuse in order to estimate the causal impact of someone misusing opioids on the probability that their best friends also misuse. The estimated peer effects are significant: Having a best friend with a reported serious injury in the previous year increases the probability of own opioid misuse by around 7 percentage points in a population where 17 percent ever misuses opioids. The effect is driven by individuals without a college degree and those who live in the same county as their best friends.
    Keywords: opioid, friends, instrumental variables, Add Health, severe injuries, peer-group effects
    JEL: C26 D10 I12 J11
    Date: 2024–01
  11. By: James J. Heckman; Rodrigo Pinto; Azeem Shaikh
    Abstract: This paper considers the problem of making inferences about the effects of a program on multiple outcomes when the assignment of treatment status is imperfectly randomized. By imperfect randomization we mean that treatment status is reassigned after an initial randomization on the basis of characteristics that may be observed or unobserved by the analyst. We develop a partial identification approach to this problem that makes use of information limiting the extent to which randomization is imperfect to show that it is still possible to make nontrivial inferences about the effects of the program in such settings. We consider a family of null hypotheses in which each null hypothesis specifies that the program has no effect on one of many outcomes of interest. Under weak assumptions, we construct a procedure for testing this family of null hypotheses in a way that controls the familywise error rate--the probability of even one false rejection--in finite samples. We develop our methodology in the context of a reanalysis of the HighScope Perry Preschool program. We find statistically significant effects of the program on a number of different outcomes of interest, including outcomes related to criminal activity for males and females, even after accounting for imperfections in the randomization and the multiplicity of null hypotheses.
    JEL: C31 I21 J13
    Date: 2023–12

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