nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2006‒12‒09
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la Republica

  1. Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence By Daniele Checchi; Giorgio Brunello
  2. Wage Structure and Public Sector Employment: Sweden versus the United States 1970-2002 By Domeij, David; Ljungqvist, Lars
  3. The Aggregate Labour Market Effects of the Swedish Knowledge Lift Program By Albrecht, James; van den Berg, Gerard J; Vroman, Susan
  4. A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration By Andrew E. Clark
  5. The Determinants of Motherhood and Work Status: A Survey By Daniela Del Boca; Marilena Locatelli

  1. By: Daniele Checchi (University of Milan); Giorgio Brunello
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether at the interaction between family background and school tracking affects human capital accumulation. Our a priori view is that more tracking should reinforce the role of parental privilege, and thereby reduce equality of opportunity. Compared to the current literature, which focuses on early outcomes, such as test scores at 13 and 15, we look at later outcomes, including literacy, dropout rates, college enrolment, employability and earnings. While we do not confirm previous results that tracking reinforces family background effects on literacy, we do confirm our view when looking at educational attainment and labour market outcomes. When looking at early wages, we find that parental background effects are stronger when tracking starts earlier. We reconcile the apparently contrasting results on literacy, educational attainment and earnings by arguing that the signalling role of formal education - captured by attainment - matters more than actual skills - measured by literacy - in the early stages of labour market experience.
    Keywords: education, training, literacy,
    Date: 2006–11–17
  2. By: Domeij, David; Ljungqvist, Lars
    Abstract: Swedish census data and tax records reveal an astonishing wage compression; the Swedish skill premium fell by more than 30 percent between 1970 and 1990 while the U.S. skill premium, after an initial decline in the 1970s, rose by 8-10 percent. Since then both skill premia have increased by around 10 percentage points in 2002. Theories that equalize wages with marginal products can rationalize these disparate outcomes when we replace commonly used measures of total labour supplies by private sector employment. Our analysis suggests that the dramatic decline of the skill premium in Sweden is the result of an expanding public sector that today comprises roughly one third of the labor force, and that expansion has largely taken the form of drawing low-skilled workers into local government jobs that service the welfare state.
    Keywords: employment; private sector; public sector; skill premium; Sweden; United States
    JEL: E24 J31
    Date: 2006–11
  3. By: Albrecht, James; van den Berg, Gerard J; Vroman, Susan
    Abstract: The Swedish adult education program known as the Knowledge Lift (1997--2002) was unprecedented in its size and scope, aiming to raise the skill level of large numbers of low-skill workers. This paper evaluates the potential effects of this program on aggregate labour market outcomes. This is done by calibrating an equilibrium search model with heterogeneous worker skills using pre-program data and then forecasting the program impacts. We compare the forecasts to observed aggregate labour market outcomes after termination of the program.
    Keywords: calibration; job search; program evaluation; returns to education; Swedish labour market; unemployment; wages
    JEL: C31 D83 J21 J24 J31 J64
    Date: 2006–11
  4. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Although it is now widely-accepted that unemployment is associated with sharply lower levels of individual well-being, relatively little is known about how this effect depends on unemployment duration. Data from three large-scale European panels is used to shed light on this issue; these data allow us to distinguish habituation to unemployment from sample selection. The panel results show little evidence of habituation to unemployment in Europe in the 1990's.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, unemployment, unemployment duration, habituation
    JEL: C30 J28 J31
    Date: 2006–10
  5. By: Daniela Del Boca (University of Turin, CHILD and IZA Bonn); Marilena Locatelli (University of Turin, CHILD)
    Abstract: In this paper we present important empirical evidence regarding recent trends in women’s participation and fertility in European countries, and provide several interpretations of the differences across countries. Several recent analyses have considered labour supply and fertility as a joint decision and have explicitly taken into account the endogeneity of fertility in labour market participation decisions of women. We survey microeconomic analyses that explore the impact of social policies on the joint decisions of labor market participation and fertility. The results of most analyses indicate that social policies, taking into account several variables (family background, the allocation of time within the household, religion and culture), have a very relevant role in explaining different degrees of incompatibility between employment and child rearing across different countries. The incompatibilities between motherhood and careers find reconciliation in policies that enhance employment flexibility and diminish the potential opportunity costs of children.
    Keywords: labor market decisions, fertility, child care, family policies
    JEL: J2 C3 D1 H31
    Date: 2006–10

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