nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2006‒03‒25
six papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la Republica

  1. Identifying the drivers of sustainable rural growth and poverty reduction in Honduras By Jansen, Hans G.P.; Siegel, Paul B.; Pichón, Francisco
  2. Social capital and the reproduction of economic inequality in polarized societies By Mogues, Tewodaj; Carter, Michael
  3. Evaluating the cost of poverty alleviation transfer programs: An Illustration Based on PROGRESA in Mexico By Coady, David; Perez, Raul; Vera-Ilamas, Hadid
  4. Religion and High School Graduation: A Comparative Analysis of Patterns for White and Black Young Women By Evelyn L. Lehrer
  5. Explorations of the Effect of Experience on Preferences: Two Health-Care Case Studies By Einat Neuman; Shoshana Neuman
  6. The Time and Timing Costs of Market Work, and their Implications for Retirement By Daniel S. Hamermesh

  1. By: Jansen, Hans G.P.; Siegel, Paul B.; Pichón, Francisco
    Abstract: "The overall objective of this paper is to develop an appropriate conceptual and analytical framework to better understand how prospects for growth and poverty reduction can be stimulated in rural Honduras. We employ complementary quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, driven by an asset-base approach. Emphasis on assets is appropriate given high inequalities in the distribution of productive assets among households and geographical areas in Honduras. Such inequalities are likely to constrain how the poor share in the benefits of growth, even under appropriate policy regimes. We focus on household assets (broadly defined to include natural, physical, human, financial, social and locational assets) and their combinations necessary to take advantage of economic opportunities. We examine the relative contributions of these assets, and identify the combinations of productive, social, and location-specific assets that matter most to raise incomes and take advantage of prospects for poverty-reducing growth. Factor and cluster analysis techniques are used to identify and group different livelihood strategies; and econometric analysis is used to investigate the determinants of different livelihood strategies and the major factors that impact on income. Spatial analysis, community livelihood studies and project stocktakings are brought in to complement some of the more quantitative household survey data used. Our conclusions and recommendations are mainly focused on hillsides and hillside areas since the majority of the available data is for these areas." Authors' Abstract
    Keywords: Poverty alleviation Latin America ,Sustainability ,Livelihoods ,Spatial analysis (Statistics) ,Hillside areas ,
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Mogues, Tewodaj; Carter, Michael
    Abstract: This paper explores the idea of how wealth is distributed across social groups (ethnic or language groups, gender, etc.) and how such distribution fundamentally affects the evolution of economic inequality. By providing microfoundations suitable for this exploration, the paper hopes to enhance the understanding of when social forces contribute to the reproduction of economic inequality. In tackling this issue, the paper offers contributions in two domains. First, it models social capital as a real capital asset with direct use and collateral value. Second, it extends the concepts of identity, alienation and polarization used by Esteban and Ray (1994). This generalization permits consideration of the multiple characteristics that shape social identity, inclusion and exclusion. It also underwrites a higher-order measure of socioeconomic polarization that permits exploration of the hypothesis that economic inequality is most pernicious and persistent when it is socially embedded. Among other things the paper shows that holding constant the initial levels of economic polarization and wealth inequality, higher socioeconomic polarization increases subsequent income and wealth inequality. Far from being a distributionally neutral panacea for missing markets, social capital in this model may itself generate exclusion and deepen social and economic cleavages.
    Keywords: Equality ,Social capital ,economic distribution ,
    Date: 2005
  3. By: Coady, David; Perez, Raul; Vera-Ilamas, Hadid
    Abstract: "One of the common criticisms of poverty alleviation programs is that the high share of administrative (nontransfer) costs substantially reduces the programs' impact on poverty. But very little empirical evidence exists on program costs. For example, a recent extensive international review of targeted poverty alleviation programs in developing countries could find data on costs for only 32 out of the 111 programs reviewed. Even then, the numbers available were not always comparable. In this paper, we present a detailed analysis of the cost structure of a program recently introduced in Mexico, called PROGRESA. Our analysis shows how cost data can be used as the basis for an evaluation of the cost efficiency of anti-poverty programs. It cautions, however, that one must be very careful when interpreting cost numbers or undertaking comparisons across programs in order to avoid misleading conclusions. Any credible analysis of a program's cost efficiency must involve a detailed analysis of cost structure and not simply provide aggregate cost information. We also highlight the importance of not neglecting private costs incurred by households in taking up transfers." Authors' Abstract
    Keywords: Poverty Research Methodology ,Poverty alleviation Mexico ,Transfer payments ,Education Economic aspects ,Human capital ,Cost efficiency ,
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Evelyn L. Lehrer (University of Illinois at Chicago - Economics Department)
    Abstract: This paper examines how two dimensions of childhood religion—affiliation and participation—are related to the probability of graduating from high school. Hypotheses derived from a human capital model are tested with data on non-Hispanic white and black women from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. The empirical findings are generally consistent with the hypotheses, revealing sizeable differentials in the likelihood of obtaining a high-school diploma by affiliation and participation. The results suggest that the convergence of Catholics to the mainline Protestant pattern for non-Hispanic whites found here, and supported by many previous studies, has not taken place in the black population. In other respects, the relationships between religion and high school graduation are similar for the two racial groups.
    Keywords: religion; education; high-school graduation.
    JEL: J24 J15 J22
    Date: 2006–03–14
  5. By: Einat Neuman (Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo); Shoshana Neuman (Bar-Ilan University, CEPR and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: The standard assumption in economic theory is that preferences are stable. In particular, they are not changed as a result of experience with the good/service/event. Behavioral scientists have challenged this assumption and claimed (providing evidence) that preferences are constantly changing when experience is accumulated. This paper tests the effect of experience on preferences for attributes of health-care events. We are using two very different samples and a methodology that facilitates the estimation of marginal utilities of various attributes of a composite non-traded health-care service. Discrete Choice Experimental design is employed for the analysis of samples of (1) women who gave birth, and (2) women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. For each group we had information on experience. In the case of women who gave birth, the sample was decomposed into 3 sub-samples: pregnant women with their first child (no experience); women after one delivery (single experience); and mothers after more than one delivery (multiple experience). Preferences of the 3 sub-groups have then been compared. The breast cancer patients reported the number of chemotherapy/radiation treatments they have already received, thus enabling the construction of an experience variable and testing for the effect of experience on preferences. The basic finding is that preferences for health-care attributes are significantly changed as a result of experience with the health event. However, the amount of experience is irrelevant.
    Keywords: preferences, experience, Discrete Choice Experiment, health-care, delivery, breast cancer
    JEL: D12 I19
    Date: 2006–03
  6. By: Daniel S. Hamermesh (University of Texas at Austin, NBER and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Retirement ages among older Americans have only recently begun to increase after a precipitous fifty-year decline. Early retirement may result from incentives provided by retirement systems; but it may also result from the rigidities imposed by market work schedules. Using the American Time Use Survey of 2003 and 2004, I first examine whether additional market work is neutral with respect to the mix of non-market activities. The estimates indicate that there are fixed time costs of remaining in the labor market that alter the pattern of non-market activities, reducing leisure time and mostly increasing time devoted to household production. Market work also alters the timing of a fixed amount of non-market activities during the day, away from the schedule chosen when timing constraints imposed by market work do not exist. All of these effects are mitigated by higher family income, presumably because higher-income people can purchase market substitutes that enable them to overcome the fixed time costs of market work.
    Keywords: household production, non-market activity, labor-force behavior
    JEL: J22 D13 J26
    Date: 2006–03

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