nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2006‒04‒22
eleven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la Republica

  1. Increasing access to infrastructure for Africa's rural poor By Torero, Maximo; Chowdhury, Shyamal
  2. Promoting Helping Behavior with Framing in Dictator games. By Pablo Brañas-Garza
  3. Job changes, hours changes and the path of labour supply adjustment By Richard Blundell; Mike Brewer; Marco Francesconi
  4. Child education and work choices in the presence of a conditional cash transfer programme in rural Colombia By Orazio Attanasio; Emla Fitzsimons; Ana Gomez; Diana Lopez; Costas Meghir; Alice Mesnard
  5. The effect of pre-primary education on primary school performance By Samuel Berlinski; Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
  6. Dynamic models for policy evaluation By Costas Meghir
  7. Cues for Coordination: Light, Longitude and Letterman By Daniel S. Hamermesh; Caitlin Knowles Myers; Mark L. Pocock
  8. Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England in Wales: What Do We Know? By Alan Manning; Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  9. Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birthweight, and China's 'One Child' Policy By Mark R. Rosenzweig; Junsen Zhang
  10. The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap By Claudia Goldin; Lawrence F. Katz; Ilyana Kuziemko
  11. How costly is it for poor farmers to lift themselves out of poverty? By Olarreaga, Marcelo; Dutoit, Laure; Cadot, Olivier

  1. By: Torero, Maximo; Chowdhury, Shyamal
    Keywords: Rural poor ,Poverty alleviation ,Public-private partnerships ,Markets ,
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.)
    Abstract: A number of recent papers on double-blind dictator games have obtained significant generous behavior when information regarding the recipient or any other social context is provided. In contrast, the lack of information discourages other-regarding behavior and the subject’s behavior closely approximates the game-theoretic prediction based on the selfishness assumption. This paper uses framing to explore the role of helping—behavior in dictator games. The whole experiment includes both classroom and regular experiments for the baseline and the framing treatment. To promote these motivations we included a “non—neutral” sentence at the end of the instructions, which reads “Note that he relies on you”. Our baseline and framed DG are statistically different from each other, indicating that the additional sentence promotes generous-regarding behavior.
    Keywords: dictator game, framing effects, helping behavior, altruism.
    JEL: D63 D64 C91
    Date: 2006–04–08
  3. By: Richard Blundell (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Mike Brewer (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Marco Francesconi (Institute for Fiscal Studies and ISER, Essex University)
    Abstract: This paper uses the first twelve waves of the British Household Panel Survey covering the period 1991-2002 to investigate single women’s labour supply changes in response to three tax and benefit policy reforms that occurred in the 1990s. We find evidence of small labour supply effects for two of such reforms. A third reform in 1999 instead led to a significant increase in single mothers’ hours of work. This increase was primarily driven by women who changed job, suggesting that labour supply adjustments within a job are harder than across jobs. The presence of hours inflexibility within jobs and labour supply adjustments through job mobility are strongly confirmed when we look at hours changes by stated labour supply preferences. Finally, we find little overall effect on wages.
    Keywords: Job mobility; Hours flexibility; Labour supply preferences; Hours-wage trade-off; Monopsony
    JEL: C23 H31 I38 J12 J13 J22
    Date: 2005–10
  4. By: Orazio Attanasio (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Emla Fitzsimons (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Ana Gomez; Diana Lopez; Costas Meghir (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Alice Mesnard (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: This research is part of a large evaluation effort, undertaken by a consortium formed by IFS, Econometria and SEI, which has considered the effects of Familias en Acción on a variety of outcomes one year after its implementation. In early reports, we focussed on the effects of the programme on school enrolment. In this paper, we both expand those results, by carefully analysing anticipation effects along with other issues, and complement them with an analysis of child labour - both paid and unpaid (including domestic) work. The child labour analysis is made possible due to a rich time use module of the surveys that has not previously been analysed. We find that the programme increased the school participation rates of 14 to 17 year old children quite substantially, by between 5 and 7 percentage points, and had lower, but non-negligible effects on the enrolment of younger children of between 1.4 and 2.4 percentage points. In terms of work, the effects are generally largest for younger children whose participation in domestic work decreased by around 10 to 12 percentage points after the programme but whose participation in income-generating work remained largely unaffected by the programme. We also find evidence of school and work time not being fully substitutable, suggesting that some, but not all, of the increased time at school may be drawn from children’s leisure time.
    Date: 2006–01
  5. By: Samuel Berlinski (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College, London); Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
    Abstract: Although the theoretical case for universal pre-primary education is strong, the empirical foundation is weak. In this paper, we contribute to the empirical case by investigating the effect of a large expansion of universal pre-primary education on subsequent primary school performance in Argentina. We estimate that one year of preprimary school increases average third grade test scores by 8 percent of a mean or by 23 percent of the standard deviation of the distribution of test scores. We also find that preprimary school attendance positively affects student’s self-control in the third grade as measured by behaviors such as attention, effort, class participation, and discipline.
    Date: 2006–03
  6. By: Costas Meghir (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)
    Abstract: The evaluation of interventions has become a commonly used policy tool, which is frequently adopted to improve the transparency and effectiveness of public policy. However, evaluation methods based on comparing treatment and control groups in small scale trials are not capable of providing a complete picture of the likely effects of a policy and do not provide a framework which allows issues relating to the design of the programme to be addressed. The longer term effects relate to decisions by individuals to change aspects of their life-cycle behavior not directly targeted by the intervention, so as to best take into account of its presence. They also relate to possible changes in prices that may change or even reverse the incentives designed by the programme. In this paper we show how experimental data from field trials can be used to enhance the evaluation of interventions and we also illustrate the potential importance of allowing for longer term incentive and General Equilibrium effects.
    Date: 2006–03
  7. By: Daniel S. Hamermesh (University of Texas at Austin, NBER and IZA Bonn); Caitlin Knowles Myers (Middlebury College and IZA Bonn); Mark L. Pocock (University of Texas at Austin)
    Abstract: Market productivity is often greater, and leisure and other household activities more enjoyable, when people perform them simultaneously. Beyond pointing out the positive externalities of synchronicity, economists have not attempted to identify exogenous causes that affect timing. We develop a theory illustrating conditions under which synchronicity will vary and identify three factors - the amount of daylight, the timing of television programming, and the benefits of coordinating work schedules across a large country - that can alter timing. Using the American Time Use Survey for 2003 and 2004, we first show using a natural experiment that abstracts from the impacts of daylight hours and television timing that an exogenous shock to time in one area leads its residents to alter their work schedules to coordinate more closely with people elsewhere. We then show that both television timing and the benefits of coordinating across time zones in the U.S. generally affect the timing of market work and sleep, the two most time-consuming activities people undertake. These impacts do not, however, differ greatly by people's demographic characteristics, suggesting that longitude and television establish social norms that affect everyone.
    Keywords: time use, labor supply, synchronous activities, time zones
    JEL: J22 E61
    Date: 2006–04
  8. By: Alan Manning (London School of Economics); Jörn-Steffen Pischke (London School of Economics and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: British secondary schools moved from a system of extensive and early selection and tracking in secondary schools to one with comprehensive schools during the 1960s and 70s. Before the reform, students would take an exam at age eleven, which determined whether they would attend an academically oriented grammar school or a lower level secondary school. The reform proceeded at an uneven pace in different areas, so that both secondary school systems coexist during the 1960s and 70s. The British transition therefore provides an excellent laboratory for the study of the impact of a comprehensive versus a selective school system on student achievement. Previous studies analyzing this transition have typically used a value-added methodology: they compare outcomes for students passing through either type of school controlling for achievement levels at the time of entering secondary education. While this seems like a reasonable research design, we demonstrate that it is unlikely to successfully eliminate selection effects in who attends what type of school. Very similar results are obtained by looking at the effect of secondary school environment on achievement at age 11 and controlling for age 7 achievement. Since children only enter secondary school at age 11, these effects are likely due to selection bias. Careful choice of treatment and control areas, and using political control of the county as an instrument for early implementation of the comprehensive regime do not solve this problem.
    Keywords: tracking, selective secondary schooling, comprehensive schools
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2006–04
  9. By: Mark R. Rosenzweig (Yale University); Junsen Zhang (Chinese University of Hong Kong and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: In this paper we use a new data set describing households with and without twin children in China to quantify the trade-off between the quality and quantity of children using the incidence of twins that for the first time takes into account effects associated with the lower birthweight and closer-spacing of twins compared to singleton births. We show that examining the effects of twinning by birth order, net of the effects stemming from the birthweight deficit of twins, can provide upper and lower bounds on the trade-off between family size and average child quality. Our estimates indicate that, at least in one area of China, an extra child at parity one or at parity two, net of birthweight effects, significantly decreases the schooling progress, the expected college enrollment, grades in school and the assessed health of all children in the family. We also show that estimates of the effects of twinning at higher parities on the outcomes of older children in prior studies do not identify family size effects but are confounded by inter-child allocation effects because of the birthweight deficit of twins. Despite the evident significant trade-off between number of children and child quality in China, however, the findings suggest that the contribution of the one-child policy in China to the development of its human capital was modest.
    Keywords: family size, birthweight, twins, schooling, China
    JEL: J13 I12 I21
    Date: 2006–04
  10. By: Claudia Goldin; Lawrence F. Katz; Ilyana Kuziemko
    Abstract: Women are currently the majority of U.S. college students and of those receiving a bachelor’s degree, but were 39 percent of undergraduates in 1960. We use three longitudinal data sets of high school graduates in 1957, 1972, and 1992 to understand the narrowing of the gender gap in college and its reversal. From 1972 to 1992 high school girls narrowed the gap with boys in math and science course taking and in achievement test scores. These variables, which we term the proximate determinants, can account for 30 to 60 percent of the relative increase in women’s college completion rate. Behind these changes were several others: the future work expectations of young women increased greatly between 1968 and 1979 and the age at first marriage for college graduate women rose by 2.5 years in the 1970s, allowing them to be more serious students. The reversal of the college gender gap, rather than just its elimination, was due in part to the persistence of behavioral and developmental differences between males and females.
    JEL: I2 J1 J2 N3
    Date: 2006–04
  11. By: Olarreaga, Marcelo; Dutoit, Laure; Cadot, Olivier
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to provide estimates of the cost of moving out of subsistence for Madagascar ' s farmers. The analysis is based on a simple asset-return model of occupational choic e. Estimates suggest that the entry (sunk) cost associated with moving out of subsistence can be quite large - somewhere between 124 and 153 percent of a subsistence farmer ' s annual production. Our results make it possible to identify farm characteristics likely to generate large gains, if moved out of subsistence, yielding useful information for the targeting of trade-adjustment assistance programs.
    Keywords: Markets and Market Access,Rural Poverty Reduction,Economic Theory & Research,Agribusiness,Access to Markets
    Date: 2006–04–01

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