New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2008‒09‒13
seven papers chosen by

  1. The Price of Prejudice: Labour Market Discrimination on the Grounds of Gender and Ethnicity By Andrea Bassanini; Anne Saint-Martin
  2. Social Classes, Inequality and Redistributive Policies in Canada By Abdelkrim Araar
  3. With or Without You? Measuring the Quality of Relational Life Throughout the World By Luca Stanca
  4. Job Search and Unemployment Insurance: New Evidence from Time Use Data By Krueger, Alan B.; Mueller, Andreas
  5. Marriage matching, risk sharing and spousal labor supplies By Eugene Choo; Shannon Seitz; Aloysius Siow
  6. The measurement of inequality of opportunity : theory and an application to Latin America By Ferreira , Francisco H. G.; Gignoux, Jeremie
  7. Global poverty and inequality : a review of the evidence By Ferreira, Francisco H.G.; Ravallion, Martin

  1. By: Andrea Bassanini (ERMES - Equipe de recherche sur les marches, l'emploi et la simulation - CNRS : UMR7017 - Université Panthéon-Assas - Paris II, DELSA - OCDE); Anne Saint-Martin (DELSA - OCDE)
    Abstract: Despite some progress, there is still evidence of discrimination on the grounds of gender and ethnic or racial origins in OECD labour markets. Field experiments show pervasive ethnic discrimination in many countries. We show indirect cross-country/time-series evidence that, using product market regulation as an instrument, suggests that on average at least 8% of the gender employment gap and a larger proportion of the gender wage gap can be attributed to discrimination. Virtually all OECD countries have enacted anti-discrimination laws in recent decades, and evaluations as well as cross-country analysis suggest that, if well-designed, these laws can be effective in reducing disparities in labour market outcomes. However, enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation is essentially based on victims’ willingness to claim their rights. Thus, public awareness of legal rules and their expected consequences (notably, victims’ costs and benefits of lodging complaints) is a crucial element of an effective policy strategy to establish a culture of equal treatment. However, legal rules are likely to have more impact if the enforcement is not exclusively dependent on individuals. In this respect, specific agencies may play a key role.
    Keywords: field experiments; employment gaps; gender gaps; anti-discrimination laws
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Abdelkrim Araar
    Abstract: The social performance of fiscal redistributive mechanisms in Canada continues to receive a growing interest from politicians and research scientists. The aim of this paper is to assess the evolution of social classes in Canada and to check whether the market and governmental redistribution factors have affected their evolution during the last decade. We focus on the dynamic of inequality, polarization and progressivity of the fiscal system. The results of this study confirm the effectiveness of governmental redistributive mechanism to decrease inequality and polarization significantly and to maintain the middle social class at the detriment of the poorest one. The other evidence concerns the chronic increase in population share and wellbeing of the rich class. Finally, the progressivity of fiscal sytem has registered a significant increase during the last few years.
    Keywords: Social classes, poverty, inequality, redistribution
    JEL: D11 H31 I31 J13
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Luca Stanca
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new method for the measurement of the quality of relational life. Building on the recent literature on the determinants of subjective well-being, we use implicit valuations estimated from microeconometric life-satisfaction equations to weigh and aggregate scores on several dimensions of relational life. We apply the proposed method to a large sample of individuals from 82 countries, to construct indicators that focus on three dimensions of interpersonal relations: friends, family, and society. We use the constructed indicators to compare the quality of relational life across countries throughout the world and to explore its determinants at individual and country level. Overall, the results indicate that, ceteris paribus, better economic conditions are associated with higher quality of interpersonal relationships.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, relational capital, quality of life
    JEL: A13 D6 I31 Z13
    Date: 2008–07
  4. By: Krueger, Alan B. (Princeton University); Mueller, Andreas (IIES, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on job search intensity of the unemployed in the U.S., modeling job search intensity as time allocated to job search activities. The main findings are: 1) the average unemployed worker in the U.S. devotes about 41 minutes to job search on weekdays, which is substantially more than his or her European counterpart; 2) workers who expect to be recalled by their previous employer search substantially less than the average unemployed worker; 3) across the 50 states and D.C., job search is inversely related to the generosity of unemployment benefits, with an elasticity between -1.6 and -2.2; 4) the predicted wage is a strong predictor of time devoted to job search, with an elasticity in excess of 2.5; 5) job search intensity for those eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) increases prior to benefit exhaustion; 6) time devoted to job search is fairly constant regardless of unemployment duration for those who are ineligible for UI. A nonparametric Monte Carlo technique suggests that the relationship between job search effort and the duration of unemployment for a cross-section of job seekers is only slightly biased by length-based sampling.
    Keywords: unemployment, unemployment insurance, job search, time use, unemployment benefits, inequality
    JEL: J64 J65
    Date: 2008–08
  5. By: Eugene Choo; Shannon Seitz; Aloysius Siow
    Abstract: This paper develops the collective marriage matching model, a behavioral and empirically flexible framework that incorporates both marriage matching and intrahousehold allocations. The model shows how marriage market equilibrium and bargaining power within the family are simultaneously determined. The framework provides a solution to the problem of incorporating substitute sex ratios in empirical models of spousal labor supplies. Using data from the US 2000 census, the empirical results show that changes in marriage market tightness, the ratio of unmarried men to unmarried women, have large estimated effects on spousal labor force participation rates, and smaller effects on hours of work and hours in home production. Controlling for variation in labor market conditions across marriage markets has substantive implications for the parameter estimates.
    Keywords: marriage matching, intrahousehold allocations, spousal labor supplies, collective model, Choo Siow
    JEL: J0
    Date: 2008–09–04
  6. By: Ferreira , Francisco H. G.; Gignoux, Jeremie
    Abstract: What part of the inequality observed in a particular country is due to unequal opportunities, rather than to differences in individual efforts or luck? This paper estimates a lower bound for the opportunity share of inequality in labor earnings, household income per capita and household consumption per capita in six Latin American countries. Following John Roemer, the authors associate inequality of opportunity with outcome differences that can be accounted for by morally irrelevant pre-determined circumstances, such as race, gender, place of birth, and family background. Thus defined, unequal opportunities account for between 24 and 50 percent of inequality in consumption expenditure in the sample. Brazil and Central America are more opportunity-unequal than Colombia, Ecuador, or Peru."Opportunity profiles,"which identify the social groups with the most limited opportunity sets, are shown to be distinct from poverty profiles: ethnic origin and the geography of birth are markedly more important as determinants of opportunity deprivation than of outcome poverty, particularly in Brazil, Guatemala, and Peru.
    Keywords: Inequality,Rural Poverty Reduction,Access to Finance,Equity and Development,Services&Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2008–07–01
  7. By: Ferreira, Francisco H.G.; Ravallion, Martin
    Abstract: Drawing on a compilation of data from household surveys representing 130 countries, many over a period of 25 years, this paper reviews the evidence on levels and recent trends in global poverty and income inequality. It documents the negative correlations between both poverty and inequality indices, on the one hand, and mean income per capita on the other. It points to the dominant role of Asia in accounting for the bulk of the world's poverty reduction since 1981. The evolution of global inequality in the last decades is also described, with special emphasis on the different trends of inequality within and between countries. The statistical relationships between growth, inequality and poverty are discussed, as is the correlation between inequality and the growth elasticity of poverty reduction. Some of the recent literature on the drivers of distributional change in developing countries is also reviewed.
    Keywords: Inequality,Achieving Shared Growth,Services&Transfers to Poor,Population Policies,Poverty Impact Evaluation
    Date: 2008–05–01

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