New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2005‒07‒25
three papers chosen by

  1. The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper By Daniel S. Hamermesh; Joel Slemrod
  2. Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation By Flavio Cunha; James J. Heckman; Lance Lochner; Dimitriy V. Masterov
  3. Determinants, effects and costs of domestic violence By Rocio Ribero; Fabio Sánchez

  1. By: Daniel S. Hamermesh (University of Texas at Austin, NBER and IZA Bonn); Joel Slemrod (University of Michigan and NBER)
    Abstract: A large literature examines the addictive properties of such behaviors as smoking, drinking alcohol and eating. We argue that for some people addictive behavior may apply to a much more central aspect of economic life: working. Workaholism is subject to the same concerns about the individual as other addictions, is more likely to be a problem of higher-income individuals, and can, under conditions of jointness in the workplace or the household, generate negative spillovers onto individuals around the workaholic. Using the Retirement History Survey and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find evidence that is consistent with the idea that high-income, highly educated people suffer from workaholism with regard to retiring, in that they are more likely to postpone earlier plans for retirement. The theory and evidence suggest that optimal policy involves a more progressive tax system than in the absence of workaholism.
    Keywords: addiction, retirement, labor supply, tax policy
    JEL: J26 H21
    Date: 2005–07
  2. By: Flavio Cunha (University of Chicago); James J. Heckman (University of Chicago, University College London, American Bar Foundation and IZA Bonn); Lance Lochner (University of Western Ontario); Dimitriy V. Masterov (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper presents economic models of child development that capture the essence of recent findings from the empirical literature on skill formation. The goal of this essay is to provide a theoretical framework for interpreting the evidence from a vast empirical literature, for guiding the next generation of empirical studies, and for formulating policy. Central to our analysis is the concept that childhood has more than one stage. We formalize the concepts of self-productivity and complementarity of human capital investments and use them to explain the evidence on skill formation. Together, they explain why skill begets skill through a multiplier process. Skill formation is a life cycle process. It starts in the womb and goes on throughout life. Families play a role in this process that is far more important than the role of schools. There are multiple skills and multiple abilities that are important for adult success. Abilities are both inherited and created, and the traditional debate about nature versus nurture is scientifically obsolete. Human capital investment exhibits both self-productivity and complementarity. Skill attainment at one stage of the life cycle raises skill attainment at later stages of the life cycle (self-productivity). Early investment facilitates the productivity of later investment (complementarity). Early investments are not productive if they are not followed up by later investments (another aspect of complementarity). This complementarity explains why there is no equity-efficiency trade-off for early investment. The returns to investing early in the life cycle are high. Remediation of inadequate early investments is difficult and very costly as a consequence of both self-productivity and complementarity.
    Keywords: skill formation, education, government policy, educational finance
    JEL: J31 I21 I22 I28
    Date: 2005–07
  3. By: Rocio Ribero; Fabio Sánchez
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants, effects and costs of domestic violence (DV) against women and children in Colombia. The most relevant factors that explain the occurrence of DV in a household are suffering from DV as a child and living with someone that frequently and excessively consumes alcohol. DV against women increases their probability of unemployment by 6.4 percentage points, lowers their earnings by approximately 40% and worsens their health. DV against children negatively affects their health, school attendance and academic attainment. It is estimated that at least 4.2% of Colombian GDP is lost due to indirect costs of DV.
    Keywords: Domestic Violence
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2005–06–30

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