nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2007‒06‒30
eight papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Globalization, Growth and Distribution in Spain 1500-1913 By O'Rourke, Kevin H; Rosés, Joan R.; Williamson, Jeffrey G
  2. Measuring Poverty: Taking a Multidimensional Perspective By Jacques Silber
  3. The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Role Attitudes and its Implications for Female Labor Force Participation By Lídia Farré; Francis Vella
  4. Explaining Women’s Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women’s Work By Sandra E. Black; Alexandra Spitz-Oener
  5. New Directions in the Analysis of Inequality and Poverty By Stephen P. Jenkins; John Micklewright
  6. Population Policies, Fertility, Women’s Human Capital, and Child Quality By T. Paul Schultz
  7. Why are mothers working longer hours in Austria than in Germany? A comparative micro simulation analysis By Helene Dearing; Helmut Hofer; Christine Lietz; Rudolf Winter-Ebmer; Katharina Wrohlich
  8. How fertility and union stability interact in shaping new family patterns in Italy and Spain By Lucia Coppola; Mariachiara Di Cesare

  1. By: O'Rourke, Kevin H; Rosés, Joan R.; Williamson, Jeffrey G
    Abstract: The endogenous growth literature has explored the transition from a Malthusian world where real wages, living standards and labour 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: distribution; globalization; growth; Spain
    JEL: F1 N7 O4
    Date: 2007–06
  2. By: Jacques Silber
    Abstract: This paper attempts to review the main problems that have to be faced when taking a multidimensional approach to poverty and to give a survey of the solutions that have hitherto been proposed to solve these issues. It starts by a quick summary of the cardinal approach to uni-dimensional poverty analysis. It then presents the cardinal approach to ultidimensional poverty measurement. An attempt is also made to describe the ordinal approach to poverty measurement and a short section at the end describes some aspects of a more qualitative approach to poverty measurement.
  3. By: Lídia Farré (University of Alicante); Francis Vella (Georgetown University and IZA)
    Abstract: Using a sample of mother-child pairs from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and the Young Adults of the NLSY79 we explore the relationship between a woman’s attitudes towards the role of females in the labor market and the attitudes of her children. We also examine whether this intergenerational cultural link has implications for the labor market behavior of the females in the NLSY79. We find that a woman’s attitudes have a statistically significant effect on her children’s views towards working women. Furthermore we find that this cultural transmission influences female labor market decisions. Our results imply that a woman’s view regarding the role of females in the labor market and family not only affects the labor market force participation decision of her daughter, but also has an equally strong association with the labor force participation of the wife of her son. These results indicate that the transmission of gender role attitudes contributes to the persistence of economic status across generations.
    Keywords: intergenerational cultural transmission, gender role attitudes, female labor force participation
    JEL: J12 J62 D1 Z1
    Date: 2007–05
  4. By: Sandra E. Black (University of California, Los Angeles, NHH, NBER and IZA); Alexandra Spitz-Oener (Humboldt University Berlin, ZEW and IZA)
    Abstract: The closing of the gender wage gap is an ongoing phenomenon in industrialized countries. However, research has been limited in its ability to understand the causes of these changes, due in part to an inability to directly compare the work of women to that of men. In this study, we use a new approach for analyzing changes in the gender pay gap that uses direct measures of job tasks and gives a comprehensive characterization of how work for men and women has changed in recent decades. Using data from West Germany, we find that women have witnessed relative increases in non-routine analytic tasks and non-routine interactive tasks, which are associated with higher skill levels. The most notable difference between the genders is, however, the pronounced relative decline in routine task inputs among women with little change for men. These relative task changes explain a substantial fraction of the closing of the gender wage gap. Our evidence suggests that these task changes are driven, at least in part, by technological change. We also show that these task changes are related to the recent polarization of employment between low and high skilled occupations that we observed in the 1990s.
    Keywords: occupational skill requirements, gender wage gap, technological change
    JEL: J31 J24
    Date: 2007–05
  5. By: Stephen P. Jenkins (ISER, University of Essex, DIW Berlin and IZA); John Micklewright (S3RI, University of Southampton and IZA)
    Abstract: Over the last four decades, academic and wider public interest in inequality and poverty has grown substantially. In this paper we address the question: what have been the major new directions in the analysis of inequality and poverty over the last thirty to forty years? We draw attention to developments under seven headings: changes in the extent of inequality and poverty, changes in the policy environment, increased scrutiny of the concepts of ‘poverty’ and inequality’ and the rise of multidimensional approaches, the use of longitudinal perspectives, an increase in availability of and access to data, developments in analytical methods of measurement, and developments in modelling.
    Keywords: inequality, poverty, distribution of income
    JEL: D31 I32
    Date: 2007–05
  6. By: T. Paul Schultz (Yale University and IZA)
    Abstract: Population policies are defined here as voluntary programs which help people control their fertility and expect to improve their lives. There are few studies of the long-run effects of policy-induced changes in fertility on the welfare of women, such as policies that subsidize the diffusion and use of best practice birth control technologies. Evaluation of the consequences of such family planning programs almost never assess their long-run consequences, such as on labor supply, savings, or investment in the human capital of children, although they occasionally estimate the short-run association with the adoption of contraception or age-specific fertility. The dearth of long-run family planning experiments has led economists to consider instrumental variables as a substitute for policy interventions which not only determine variation in fertility but are arguably independent of the reproductive preferences of parents or unobserved constraints that might influence family life cycle behaviors. Using these instrumental variables to estimate the effect of this exogenous variation in fertility on family outcomes, economists discover these -cross effects- of fertility on family welfare outcomes tend to be substantially smaller in absolute magnitude than the OLS estimates of partial correlations referred to in the literature as evidence of the beneficial social externalities associated with the policies that reduce fertility. The paper summarizes critically the empirical literature on fertility and development and proposes an agenda for research on the topic.
    Keywords: consequences of fertility decline, child quality, evaluation of population policies
    JEL: J13 J24 O15
    Date: 2007–05
  7. By: Helene Dearing (Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna, Austria); Helmut Hofer (Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna, Austria); Christine Lietz (Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna, Austria); Rudolf Winter-Ebmer (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria); Katharina Wrohlich (Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany)
    Abstract: Labor force participation rates of mothers in Austria and Germany are similar, however full-time employment rates are much higher among Austrian mothers. In order to find out to what extent these differences can be attributed to differences in the tax transfer system, we perform a comparative micro simulation exercise. After estimating structural labor supply models of both countries, we interchange two important institutional characteristics of the two countries, namely (i) the definition of the tax unit within the personal income tax and (ii) the parental leave benefit scheme. As our analysis shows, differences in mothers’ employment patterns can partly be explained by the different tax systems: While Germany has a system of joint taxation with income splitting for married couples, Austria taxes everyone individually, which leads to lower marginal tax rates for secondary earners than the German system.
    Keywords: labor supply; micro simulation; family policy; income taxation; Austria; Germany
    JEL: J22 H31 H24
    Date: 2007–05
  8. By: Lucia Coppola (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Mariachiara Di Cesare
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the interrelationships between fertility decisions and union dissolution in Italy and Spain. We argue that there might exist a spurious relationship between these two life trajectories. The analysis is based on the 1996 Fertility and Family Survey data for Italy and Spain. Results show that there is a spurious relationship between fertility and union dissolution in Italy but not in Spain. Nevertheless, in both countries, there is an evident direct effect of each process on the other: union dissolution decreases the risk of further childbearing, while childbirth decreases the risk of union dissolution.
    Keywords: Italy, Spain, divorce rate, fertility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2007–06

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