nep-lma New Economics Papers
on Labor Markets - Supply, Demand, and Wages
Issue of 2014‒03‒22
thirteen papers chosen by
Joseph Marchand
University of Alberta

  1. Cities, Tasks and Skills By Suzanne Kok; Bas ter Weel
  2. Do Occupational Demands Explain the Educational Gradient in Health? By Meyer, Sophie-Charlotte; Künn-Nelen, Annemarie
  3. Education, Health and Wages By Heckman, James J.; Humphries, John Eric; Veramendi, Gregory; Urzua, Sergio
  4. Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity in China: Evidence from the China Health and Nutrition Survey By Nie, Peng; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
  5. The Power of the Purse: New Evidence on the Distribution of Income and Expenditures within the Family from a Canadian Experiment By Catherine Haeck; Pierre Lefebvre; Xiaozhou Zhou
  6. Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa By Oriana Bandiera; Niklas Buehren; Robin Burgess; Markus Goldstein; Selim Gulesci; Imran Rasul; Munshi Sulaiman
  7. Gender and the Labor Market: What Have We Learned from Filed and Lab Experiments? By Ghazala Azmat; Barbara Petrongolo
  8. Unanticipated Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Program By Das, Tirthatanmoy; Polachek, Solomon
  9. Values and labor force participation in the Nordic countries By Hall, Axel; Zoega, Gylfi
  10. Risk, Ambiguity, and the Exercise of Employee Stock Options By Yehuda Izhakian; David Yermack
  11. Success and failure in the operational recruitment process : contrasting the outcomes of search By Rebien, Martina; Kubis, Alexander; Müller, Anne
  12. Instrumental Variables: An Econometrician's Perspective By Guido W. Imbens
  13. Evaluating Spatial Policies By Steve Gibbons; Max Nathan; Henry G. Overman

  1. By: Suzanne Kok; Bas ter Weel
    Abstract: This research applies a task-based approach to measure and interpret changes in the employment structure of the 168 largest US cities in the period 1990-2009. As a result of technological change some tasks can be placed at distance, while others require proximity. We construct a measure of task connectivity to investigate which tasks are more likely to require proximity relative to others. Our results suggest that cities with higher shares of connected tasks experienced higher employment growth. This result is robust to a variety of other explanations including industry composition, routinisation, and the complementarity between skills and cities.
    JEL: J20 J30 O30
    Date: 2014–03
  2. By: Meyer, Sophie-Charlotte (University of Wuppertal); Künn-Nelen, Annemarie (ROA, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate to what extent occupation-specific demands explain the relationship between education and health. We concentrate on ergonomic, environmental, psychical, social and time demands. Merging the German Microcensus 2009 data with a dataset including detailed occupational demands (German Employment Survey 2006), we have a unique dataset to analyze the mediating role of occupational demands in the relationship between education and health status on the one hand and education and health behavior (BMI and smoking) on the other. We base our analyses on the entire working population and therefore also include those who no longer work, taking occupational demands related to their last job. First, we find that occupational demands are significantly related to subjective health and health behaviors. This holds even stronger for those who are no longer employed. Second, we find that whereas occupational demands do not explain educational differences in subjective health status, they do partially mediate the education gradient in the considered health behaviors. Educational differences in smoking status can partly be explained by ergonomic, environmental, psychical and social demands. The educational gradient in BMI is partly attributable to social occupational demands.
    Keywords: education, occupational demands, working conditions, occupations, health, health behavior
    JEL: I1 J2 I2
    Date: 2014–02
  3. By: Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Humphries, John Eric (University of Chicago); Veramendi, Gregory (Arizona State University); Urzua, Sergio (University of Maryland)
    Abstract: This paper develops and estimates a model with multiple schooling choices that identifies the causal effect of different levels of schooling on health, health-related behaviors, and labor market outcomes. We develop an approach that is a halfway house between a reduced form treatment effect model and a fully formulated dynamic discrete choice model. It is computationally tractable and identifies the causal effects of educational choices at different margins. We estimate distributions of responses to education and find evidence for substantial heterogeneity in unobserved variables on which agents make choices. The estimated treatment effects of education are decomposed into the direct benefits of attaining a given level of schooling and indirect benefits from the option to continue on to further schooling. Continuation values are an important component of our estimated treatment effects. While the estimated causal effects of education are substantial for most outcomes, we also estimate a quantitatively important effect of unobservables on outcomes. Both cognitive and socioemotional factors contribute to shaping educational choices and labor market and health outcomes. We improve on LATE by identifying the groups affected by variations in the instruments. We find benefits of cognition on most outcomes apart from its effect on schooling attainment. The benefits of socioemotional skills on outcomes beyond their effects on schooling attainment are less precisely estimated.
    Keywords: education, early endowments, factor models, health, treatment effects
    JEL: C32 C38 I12 I14 I21
    Date: 2014–03
  4. By: Nie, Peng (University of Hohenheim); Sousa-Poza, Alfonso (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: Using five waves from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), we investigate the association between maternal employment and obesity in children aged 3–17 in both rural and urban China. Using BMI and waist circumference as measures for pediatric adiposity, we provide scant evidence for its relation to maternal employment. We also find no strong association between maternal employment and our measures for children's diet and physical activity. Our study also suggests that grandparenting could have beneficial effects on childhood obesity.
    Keywords: childhood obesity, maternal employment, China
    JEL: I12 J13 J22
    Date: 2014–03
  5. By: Catherine Haeck; Pierre Lefebvre; Xiaozhou Zhou
    Abstract: To increase mother’s participation in the labour market and enhance child development, the Canadian province of Québec developed from 1997 a large scale low-fee childcare network. Previous studies have shown that the policy has significantly increased the labour force participation and annual weeks worked of mothers with children exposed to the program. Using Statistics Canada’s annual 1997 to 2009 Survey on Households Spending we document the increase in the maternal share of total household income in Québec and use of instrumental variables approach to estimate the impact of the policy on intra-household expenditures. The results show that more income in the hands of mothers impacts the expenditures structure within the household by raising budget shares on expenditures related to children, family goods and services having a collective aspect.
    Keywords: Childcare policy, mother’s labor supply, intrahousehold expenditures, treatment effects, natural experiment
    JEL: H42 J21 J22
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Oriana Bandiera; Niklas Buehren; Robin Burgess; Markus Goldstein; Selim Gulesci; Imran Rasul; Munshi Sulaiman
    Abstract: Women in developing countries are disempowered relative to their contemporaries in developed countries. High youth unemployment and early marriage and childbearing interact to limit human capital investment and enforce dependence on men. In this paper we evaluate an attempt to jump-start adolescent women's empowerment in the world's second youngest country: Uganda. In this two-pronged intervention, adolescent girls are simultaneously provided vocational training and information on sex, reproduction and marriage. Relative to adolescents in control communities, after two years the intervention raises the likelihood that girls engage in income generating activities by 72% (mainly driven by increased participation in self-employment), and raises their monthly consumption expenditures by 41%. Teen pregnancy falls by 26%, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation falls by 58%. Strikingly, the share of girls reporting sex against their will drops from 14% to almost half that level and preferred ages of marriage and childbearing both move forward. The findings indicate that women's economic and social empowerment can be jump-started through the combined provision of vocational and life skills, and is not necessarily held back by insurmountable constraints arising from binding social norms.
    JEL: I25 J13 J24 O12
    Date: 2014–03
  7. By: Ghazala Azmat; Barbara Petrongolo
    Abstract: We discuss the contribution of the experimental literature to the understanding of both traditional and previously unexplored dimensions of gender differences and discuss their bearings on labor market outcomes. Experiments have offered new findings on gender discrimination, and while they have identified a bias against hiring women in some labor market segments, the discrimination detected in field experiments is less pervasive than that implied by the regression approach. Experiments have also offered new insights into gender differences in preferences: to gain less from negotiation, women appear to have lower preferences than men for risk and competition and may be more sensitive to social cues. These gender differences in preferences also have implications in group settings, whereby the gender composition of a group affects team decisions and performance. Most of the evidence on gender traits comes from the lab, and key open questions remain as to the source of gender preferences—nature versus nurture, or their interaction—and their role, if any, in the workplace.
    Keywords: Gender, field experiments, lab experiments, discrimination, gender preferences
    JEL: J16 J24 J71 C91 C92 C93
    Date: 2014–03
  8. By: Das, Tirthatanmoy (Temple University); Polachek, Solomon (Binghamton University, New York)
    Abstract: We examine the effect of California Paid Family Leave (CPFL) on young women's (less than 42 years of age) labor force participation and unemployment. CPFL enables workers to take at most six weeks of paid leave over a 12 month period in order to bond with new born or adopted children, or to care for sick family members or ailing parents. The policy benefits women, especially young women, since they are more prone to take such a leave. However, the effect of the policy on labor market outcomes is less clear. We apply difference-in-difference techniques to identify the effects of the CPFL legislation on young women's labor force participation and unemployment. We find that the labor force participation rate, the unemployment rate, and the duration of unemployment among young women rose in California compared to states that did not adopt paid family leave. The latter two findings regarding higher young women's unemployment and unemployment duration are unanticipated effects of the CPFL program. We utilize a unique placebo test to validate the robustness of these results.
    Keywords: paid family leave, maternity leave, unemployment, policy evaluation
    JEL: H43 J13 J18 J48
    Date: 2014–03
  9. By: Hall, Axel; Zoega, Gylfi
    Abstract: The Nordic countries are known for their success in combining an extensive welfare state with high labor force participation. This is explained by the origins of their welfare states that can be traced to a unique set of values and beliefs that emphasize the right of women to participate in the labor market. These values are currently shared by individuals born in other European countries of Nordic parents. Some possible causal explanations are proposed. --
    Keywords: employment,,taxes,values,beliefs
    JEL: J21 J22
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Yehuda Izhakian; David Yermack
    Abstract: We investigate the importance of ambiguity, or Knightian uncertainty, in executives’ decisions about when to exercise stock options. We develop an empirical estimate of ambiguity and include it in regression models alongside the more traditional measure of risk, equity volatility. We show that each variable has a statistically significant effect on the timing of option exercises, with volatility causing executives to hold their options longer in order to preserve remaining option value, and ambiguity increasing the tendency for executives to exercise early in response to risk aversion. Regression estimates for the volatility and ambiguity variables imply similar magnitudes of economic impact upon the exercise decision, with the volatility variable being about 2.5 times stronger.
    JEL: G12 G13 G34 J33
    Date: 2014–03
  11. By: Rebien, Martina (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Kubis, Alexander (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Müller, Anne (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "Following microeconomic theory, every vacancy should be filled by appropriate manpower after a certain time. However, from an empirical point of view it is evident that vacancies remain unfilled as establishments cancel their search for a suitable applicant. The German Job Vacancy Survey (JVS) is a representative survey of job offers for the entire German economy and provides information about the search and matching processes for both the establishments' most recent hires and for failures in the recruitment processes. The analysis is based on a binary explanatory variable, resulting from the interaction of individual successful and unsuccessful search processes (cancellation probability). Our results show that with increasing recruitment duration, the number of search cancellations becomes more likely. Moreover, the results indicate that the probability of a search cancellation is strongly linked to the characteristics that an applicant must provide and to the way the search is organised." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Keywords: IAB-Stellenerhebung, Personalbeschaffung, Stellenausschreibung, Stellenakquisition, Stellenbesetzung - Determinanten
    JEL: J23 J63 D22
    Date: 2014–03–11
  12. By: Guido W. Imbens
    Abstract: I review recent work in the statistics literature on instrumental variables methods from an econometrics perspective. I discuss some of the older, economic, applications including supply and demand models and relate them to the recent applications in settings of randomized experiments with noncompliance. I discuss the assumptions underlying instrumental variables methods and in what settings these may be plausible. By providing context to the current applications a better understanding of the applicability of these methods may arise.
    JEL: C01
    Date: 2014–03
  13. By: Steve Gibbons; Max Nathan; Henry G. Overman
    Abstract: In most countries economic prosperity is very unevenly distributed across space: regions, cities and neighbourhoods seem to be very unequal, whether we look at average earnings, employment, education or almost any other socio-economic outcome. Regional, urban and neighbourhood policies are often based on concerns about these kinds of disparities, and reducing such disparities is a key policy objective in many countries. This paper considers the role of empirical analysis in informing the development of these policies. It is particularly concerned with issues arising in the quantitative evaluation of the impact of policy, the major barriers to more effective evaluation and how these might be addressed in future.
    Keywords: Spatial economics, evaluation, impact evaluation, econometrics, research design, public policy, economic development
    JEL: A11 C81 C93 R00
    Date: 2014–03

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