nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2007‒03‒31
ten papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. The Plant Size-Place Effect: Agglomeration and Monopsony in Labour Markets By Alan Manning
  2. Entry to and Exit from Poverty in Russia: Evidence from Longitudinal Data By Irina Denisova
  3. Total Work, Gender and Social Norms By Burda, Michael C; Hamermesh, Daniel S; Weil, Philippe
  4. Which Factors Determine Academic Performance of Undergraduate Students in Economics? Some Spanish Evidence By Dolado, Juan José; Morales, Eduardo
  5. La medición de la desigualdad de la renta: una revisión de la literatura By Javier Ruiz-Castillo
  6. The Effects of Marriage on Couples’ Allocation of Time Between Market and Non-Market Hours By AbdelRahmen El Lahga; Nicolas Moreau
  7. Family Planning as an Investment in Development: Evaluation of a Program’s Consequences in Matlab, Bangladesh By Shareen Joshi; T. Paul Schultz
  8. Mother’s Education and Birth Weight By Arnaud Chevalier; Vincent O’Sullivan
  9. Top Incomes in Sweden during Three-Quarters of a Century: A Micro Data Approach By Bjorn Gustafsson; Birgitta Jansson
  10. Social capital and relative income concerns: evidence from 26 countries By Justina A.V. Fischer; Benno Torgler

  1. By: Alan Manning
    Abstract: This paper shows, using data from both the US and the UK, that average plant size is larger indenser markets. However, many popular theories of agglomeration - spillovers, costadvantages and improved match quality - predict that establishments should be smaller incities. The paper proposes a theory based on monopsony in labour markets that can explainthe stylized fact - that firms in all labour markets have some market power but that they haveless market power in cities. It also presents evidence that the labour supply curve toindividual firms is more elastic in larger markets.
    Keywords: Agglomeration, Labour Markets, Monopsony
    JEL: J21 J42 R23
    Date: 2007–01
  2. By: Irina Denisova (CEFIR)
    Abstract: Long-term sustainability requires social stability and hence could be undermined by high poverty levels. Still more than twenty five million Russians have incomes that are lower than subsistence level. Effective policies to fight poverty are to be based on clear understanding of its determinants and are to distinguish between measures to prevent from slipping into poverty, and measures to get out of poverty for those who are poor. The study is the first attempt to investigate how entry to poverty and exit from poverty in Russia are shaped, and what are the determinants of the processes. We study entry and exit to poverty using survival analysis and utilizing the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) panel for 1994-2004. The study allows obtaining some important insights. In particular, it shows that the two processes have both symmetries and important asymmetries, with an example of one of the most interesting results being the asymmetry in the influence of economic periods. It turns out that economic growth lowers chances to slip into poverty but also reduces hazards from poverty. This implies that households in poverty in the era of economic upturn are those with serious problems and are to be paid special attention to.
    Keywords: Poverty, Duration Analysis, Entry to Poverty, Exit from Poverty, Transition,RLMS
    JEL: I32 I38 C41 P36
    Date: 2007–03
  3. By: Burda, Michael C; Hamermesh, Daniel S; Weil, Philippe
    Abstract: Using time-diary data from 25 countries, we demonstrate that there is a negative relationship between real GDP per capita and the female-male difference in total work time per day—the sum of work for pay and work at home. In rich northern countries on four continents there is no difference—men and women do the same amount of total work. This latter fact has been presented before by several sociologists for a few rich countries; but our survey results show that labour economists, macroeconomists, the general public and sociologists are unaware of it and instead believe that women perform more total work. The facts do not arise from gender differences in the price of time (as measured by market wages), as women’s total work is further below men’s where their relative wages are lower. Additional tests using U.S. and German data show that they do not arise from differences in marital bargaining, as gender equality is not associated with marital status; nor do they stem from family norms, since most of the variance in the gender total work difference is due to within-couple differences. We offer a theory of social norms to explain the facts. The social-norm explanation is better able to account for within-education group and within-region gender differences in total work being smaller than inter-group differences. It is consistent with evidence using the World Values Surveys that female total work is relatively greater than men’s where both men and women believe that scarce jobs should be offered to men first.
    Keywords: gender differences; household production; paid work; time use
    JEL: D13 J16 J22
    Date: 2007–03
  4. By: Dolado, Juan José; Morales, Eduardo
    Abstract: This paper analyses the determinants of academic performance of first-year undergraduate students in Economics at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, over the period 2001-2005. We focus on a few core subjects which differ in their degree of mathematical complexity. Type of school, specialization track at high school, and the grades obtained at the university entry-exam are among the key factors we examine. Our main finding is that those students who completed a technical track at high school tend to do much better in subjects involving mathematics than those who followed a social sciences track (tailor-made for future economics students) and that the latter do not perform significantly better than the former in subjects with less degree of formalism. Moreover, students from public schools are predominant in the lower and upper parts of the grade distribution while females tend to perform better than males.
    Keywords: academic performance; multinomial logit; pre-university determinants; quantile regressions
    JEL: I21 I29
    Date: 2007–03
  5. By: Javier Ruiz-Castillo
    Abstract: En esta revisión de la literatura que se ha desarrollado desde los años 70 hasta nuestros días, se estudian los procedimientos que conducen a una ordenación unánime, pero parcial, de las distribuciones de renta; se presentan las familias más importantes de indicadores completos de desigualdad que satisfacen determinadas propiedades básicas, y se investigan las consecuencias de requerir condiciones que ligan la desigualdad global con la desigualdad dentro de los subgrupos de cualquier partición; se discuten las objeciones frente a todos y cada uno de los juicios de valor que constituyen el paradigma de medición de la desigualdad presentado en los dos apartados precedentes; se estudian las formas en que se ha abordado la heterogeneidad entre los individuos que surgen cuando se agrupan en hogares con distintas necesidades o cuando sus rentas difieren por haber contado con diferentes oportunidades de las que no son moralmente responsables, y se formulan algunas conclusiones.
    Date: 2007–02
  6. By: AbdelRahmen El Lahga (Institut Supérieur de Gestion de Tunis); Nicolas Moreau (University of Toulouse 1, GREMAQ and IZA)
    Abstract: We evaluate the effects of the transition from cohabitation to marriage on household domestic and market work hours using a sample of working couples. For this purpose we use the 21 first waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSEOP). We adapt to system GMM estimation the estimator presented in Semykina and Wooldridge (2005) to account for selection bias in the presence of endogenous regressors. Our results indicate that marriage increases women’s specialization in home-based activities and that marriage decreases women’s leisure. These effects are robust across specifications.
    Keywords: marriage, household allocation, domestic production, labor supply, panel data
    JEL: J12 J22 C33 D13
    Date: 2007–02
  7. By: Shareen Joshi (University of Chicago); T. Paul Schultz (Yale University and IZA)
    Abstract: The paper analyzes 141 villages in Matlab, Bangladesh from 1974 to 1996, in which half the villages received from 1977 to 1996 a door-to-door outreach family planning and maternalchild health program. Village and individual data confirm a decline in fertility of about 15 percent in the program villages compared with the control villages by 1982, as others have noted, which persists until 1996. The consequences of the program on a series of long run family welfare outcomes are then estimated in addition to fertility: women’s health, earnings and household assets, use of preventive health inputs, and finally the inter-generational effects on the health and schooling of the woman’s children. Within two decades many of these indicators of the welfare of women and their children improve significantly in conjunction with the program-induced decline in fertility and child mortality. This suggests social returns to this reproductive health program in rural South Asia have many facets beyond fertility reduction, which do not appear to dissipate over two decades.
    Keywords: fertility, family planning, gender and development, program evaluation, Bangladesh
    JEL: O12 J13 I12 J16
    Date: 2007–02
  8. By: Arnaud Chevalier (Royal Holloway University of London, University College Dublin, London School of Economics and IZA); Vincent O’Sullivan (Warwick University and University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Low birth weight has considerable short and long-term consequences and leads to high costs to the individual and society even in a developed economy. Low birth weight is partially a consequence of choices made by the mother pre- and during pregnancy. Thus policies affecting these choices could have large returns. Using British data, maternal education is found to be positively correlated with birth weight. We identify a causal effect of education using the 1947 reform of the minimum school leaving age. Change in compulsory school leaving age has been previously used as an instrument, but has been criticised for mostly picking up time trends. Here, we demonstrate that the policy effects differ by social background and hence provide identification across cohorts but also within cohort. We find modest but heterogenous positive effects of maternal education on birth weight with an increase from the baseline weight ranging from 2% to 6%.
    Keywords: returns to education, health
    JEL: I12 I29
    Date: 2007–02
  9. By: Bjorn Gustafsson (University of Göteborg and IZA); Birgitta Jansson (University of Göteborg)
    Abstract: This paper aims to throw light on the development of top incomes in Sweden as well as the causes for change. Using household income data we show that since the first half of the 1980s, real income at the top of the distribution has developed more favourably than for other groups. This contrasts with the changes which occurred prior to the 1980s. Reasons for the rise in the top income share are several: the development of stock prices, the tax reform which made income taxes not progressive at the top of the scale, and the labour market change of top wages increasing more rapidly than others.
    Keywords: income distribution, Sweden, tax reform
    JEL: D31 J31 N34
    Date: 2007–03
  10. By: Justina A.V. Fischer; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: Research evidence on the impact of relative income position on individuals’ attitudes and behaviour is sorely lacking. Therefore, using the International Social Survey Programme 1998 data from 26 countries this paper investigates the impact of relative income on 14 measurements of social capital. We find support for a considerable deleterious positional concern effect of persons below the reference income. This effect is more sizeable by far than the beneficial impact of a relative income advantage. Most of the results indicate that such an effect is non-linear. Lastly, changing the reference group (regional versus national) produces no significant differences in the results.
    Keywords: Relative income, positional concerns, social capital, social norms, happiness
    JEL: Z13 I30 D31
    Date: 2007–02

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