nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2007‒08‒14
four papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Inequality and Envy By Frank A Cowell; Udo Ebert
  2. Age, Socioeconomic Status and Obesity Growth By Charles L. Baum II; Christopher J. Ruhm
  3. Social Identity and Preferences By Daniel J. Benjamin; James J. Choi; A. Joshua Strickland
  4. Geographic inequity in a decentralized anti-poverty program : a case study of China By Ravallion, Martin

  1. By: Frank A Cowell; Udo Ebert
    Abstract: Using a simple axiomatic structure we characterise two classes ofinequality indices - absolute and relative - that take into account "envy"in the income distribution. The concept of envy incorporated hereconcerns the distance of each person's income from his or herimmediately richer neighbour. This is shown to be similar to justiceconcepts based on income relativities.
    Keywords: Inequality, envy, transfer principle.
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2006–12
  2. By: Charles L. Baum II; Christopher J. Ruhm
    Abstract: The rapid growth in obesity represents a major public concern. Although body weight tends to increase with age, the evolution of obesity over the lifecycle is not well understood. We use longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine how body weight changes with age for a cohort moving through early adulthood. We further investigate how the age-obesity gradient differs with socioeconomic status (SES) and begin to examine channels for these SES disparities. Our analysis uncovers three main findings. First, weight rises with age but is inversely related to SES at given ages. Second, the SES-obesity gradient widens over the lifecycle, a result consistent with research examining other health outcomes such as overall status or specific medical conditions. Third, a substantial portion of the SES "effect" is transmitted through race/ethnicity and the translation of advantaged family backgrounds during childhood into high levels of subsequent education. Conversely, little of the SES difference appears to be propagated through family income, marital status, number of children, or the set of health behaviors we control for. However, approximately half of the SES-weight correlation persists after the inclusion of controls, illustrating the need for further study of mechanisms for the gradient.
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2007–08
  3. By: Daniel J. Benjamin; James J. Choi; A. Joshua Strickland
    Abstract: In two laboratory experiments, we examine whether norms associated with one's social identity affect time and risk preferences. When we make ethnic identity salient to Asian-American subjects, they make more patient choices. When we make race salient to black subjects, non-immigrant blacks (but not immigrant blacks) make more risk-averse choices. Making gender identity salient causes choices to conform to gender norms the subject believes are relatively more common. Our results provide evidence that identity effects play a role in shaping U.S. demographic patterns in economic behaviors and outcomes.
    JEL: C91 Z10
    Date: 2007–08
  4. By: Ravallion, Martin
    Abstract: The central governments of many developing countries have chosen to decentralize their anti-poverty programs, in the expectation that local a gents are better informed about local needs. The paper shows that this potential advantage of decentralized eligibility criteria can come at a large cost, to the extent that the induced geographic inequities undermine performance in reaching the income- poor nationally. These issues are studied empirically for (probably) the largest transfer-based poverty program in the world, namely China ' s Di Bao program, which aims to assure a minimum income through means-tested transfers. Poor municipalities are found to adopt systematically lower eligibility thresholds, reducing the program ' s ability to reach poor areas, and generating considerable horizontal inequity.
    Keywords: Inequality,Services & Transfers to Poor,Poverty Monitoring & Analysis,,Economic Theory & Research
    Date: 2007–08–01

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