nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2007‒04‒09
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Biased Risk Perceptions of Longevity and Disability in Old Age By Joan Costa Font
  2. Globalization, Growth and Distribution in Spain 1500-1913 By Joan R. Roses; Kevin H. O'Rourke; Jeffrey G. Williamson
  3. Total Work, Gender and Social Norms By Michael Burda; Daniel S. Hamermesh; Philippe Weil
  4. The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children By James J. Heckman; Dimitriy V. Masterov
  5. Testing for pro-poorness of growth, with an application to Mexico By Abdelkrim Araar; Jean-Yves Duclos; Mathieu Audet; Paul Makdissi

  1. By: Joan Costa Font (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: Rational learning theories postulate that information channels and cognitive biases such as individual optimism may influence an individuals assessment of the risk of undesired events, especially with regard to those that have a cumulative nature. This is the case with disability in old age, which may take place upon survival to an advanced age, and such factors have been regarded as responsible for certain individual behaviours (for example, the limited incidence of insurance purchase). This paper examines the determinants of individual perceptions with regard to disability in old age and longevity. The cumulative nature of such perceptions of risk is tested, and potential biases are identified, including optimism and a set of information determinants. Empirical evidence from a representative survey of Catalonia is presented to illustrate these effects. The findings from this research suggest a significant overestimation of disability in old age, yet this is not the case with longevity. Furthermore, individual perceptions with regard to disability in old age, unlike those with regard to longevity, exhibit on aggregate an optimistic bias and, are perceived as cumulative risks. Gender influences the perceived risk of disability in old age at a population level but not at the individual level, and the opposite holds true for age. Finally, self-reported health status is the main variable behind risk perceptions at both the individual and population level.
    Keywords: longevity, disability in old age, risk perceptions, optimism, cumulative risks
    JEL: I11 D81 I12
    Date: 2007
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:bar:bedcje:2007174&r=ltv
  2. By: Joan R. Roses; Kevin H. O'Rourke; Jeffrey G. Williamson
    Abstract: The endogenous growth literature has explored the transition from a Malthusian world where real wages, living standards and labor productivity are all linked to factor endowments, to one where (endogenous) productivity change embedded in modern industrial growth breaks that link. Recently, economic historians have presented evidence from England showing that the dramatic reversal in distributional trends – from a steep secular fall in wage-land rent ratios before 1800 to a steep secular rise thereafter – must be explained both by industrial revolutionary growth forces and by global forces that opened up the English economy to international trade. This paper explores whether and how the relationship was different for Spain, a country which had relatively poor productivity growth in agriculture and low living standards prior to 1800, was a late-comer to industrialization afterwards, and adopted very restrictive policies towards imports for much of the 19th century. The failure of Spanish wage-rental ratios to undergo a sustained rise after 1840 can be attributed to the delayed fall in relative agricultural prices (due to those protective policies) and to the decline in Spanish manufacturing productivity after 1898.
    Keywords: Growth, distribution, globalization, Spain
    Date: 2007–04–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp212&r=ltv
  3. By: Michael Burda; Daniel S. Hamermesh; Philippe Weil
    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, including the United States, 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 labor 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.
    JEL: D13 J16 J22
    Date: 2007–03
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13000&r=ltv
  4. By: James J. Heckman; Dimitriy V. Masterov
    Abstract: This paper presents a productivity argument for investing in disadvantaged young children. For such investment, there is no equity-efficiency tradeoff.
    JEL: H52 I28
    Date: 2007–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13016&r=ltv
  5. By: Abdelkrim Araar (CIRPEE, Département d'économie, Université Laval); Jean-Yves Duclos (CIRPEE, Département d'économie, Université Laval); Mathieu Audet (GREDI, Faculte d'administration, Université de Sherbrooke); Paul Makdissi (GREDI, Département d'économique, Université de Sherbrooke)
    Abstract: This paper proposes techniques to test for whether growth has been pro-poor. We first review different definitions of pro-poorness and argue for the use of methods that can generate results that are robust over classes of pro-poor measures and ranges of poverty lines. We then provide statistical procedures that rely on the use of sample data to infer whether growth has been pro-poor in a population. We apply these procedures to Mexican household surveys for the years of 1992, 1998 and 2004. We find strong statistical evidence that Mexican growth has been absolutely anti-poor between 1992 and 1998, absolutely pro-poor between 1998 and 2004 and between 1992 and 2004, and relatively pro-poor between 1992 and 2004 and between 1998 and 2004. The relative assessment of the period between 1992 and 1998 is statistically too weak to lead to a robust evaluation of that period.
    Keywords: Pro-poor growth, Poverty, Inequality
    JEL: D63 D64
    Date: 2007
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:shr:wpaper:07-07&r=ltv

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