nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2008‒12‒14
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Gender Inequality, Endogenous Cultural Norms and Economic Development By Victor Hiller
  2. Are Religious People More Prosocial? A Quasi-Experimental Study with Madrasah Pupils in a Rural Community in India By Ahmed, Ali M.
  3. A defense of an entropy based index of multigroup segregation By Ricardo Mora; Javier Ruiz-Castillo
  4. The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain By Stephen Nickell; Jumana Saleheen
  5. Long Term Persistence By Luigi Guiso; Paola Sapienza; Luigi Zingales
  6. Heights and Human Welfare: Recent Developments and New Directions By Richard H. Steckel
  7. Happiness Adaptation to Income beyond "Basic Needs" By Rafael Di Tella; Robert MacCulloch

  1. By: Victor Hiller (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: This research focuses on the role played by cultural norms in the long run persistence of gender inequalities. Cultural norms about gender roles are considered to be endogenous and can generate gender inequality and low development traps. Indeed, when the gender gap is internalized, it leads to inegalitarian views about gender roles. Due to these inegalitarian beliefs, boys receive more education and the initial gender gap is reinforced. The existence of gender inequality traps is pointed out by the World Bank as a major obstacle for economic development (WDR 2006). The present article allows for a better understanding of the persistence of such traps and the means to escape.
    Keywords: Gender equality ; endogenous cultural norms ; economics development ; inequality traps
    Date: 2008–11
  2. By: Ahmed, Ali M. (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Using quasi-experimental data, this paper examines the relationship between religiosity and prosocial behavior. In contrast to previous studies which identify religious people by how often they attend religious services or by their self-reported religiosity, this study compares the behavior of highly devout students who are preparing to enter the clergy, to the behavior of other students in a public-goods game and in the dictator game. The results show that religious students were significantly more cooperative in the public-goods game and significantly more generous in the dictator game than other students.<p>
    Keywords: generosity; trust; cooperation; religion; experiment
    JEL: C90 Z12
    Date: 2008–12–08
  3. By: Ricardo Mora; Javier Ruiz-Castillo
    Abstract: This paper defends the use of the entropy based Mutual Information index of multigroup segregation for the following five reasons. (1) It satisfies 14 basic axioms discussed in the literature when segregation takes place along a single dimension. (2) It is additively decomposable into between- and within-group terms for any partition of the set of occupations (or schools) and the set of demographic groups in the multigroup case. (3) The underlying segregation ordering has been recently characterized in terms of 8 properties. (4) It is a monotonic transformation of log-likelihood tests for the existence of segregation in a general model. (5) It can be decomposed so that a term independent of changes in either of the two marginal distributions can be isolated in pair wise segregation comparisons. Other existing measures of segregation have not been characterized, fail to satisfy one or more of the basic axioms, do not admit a between- within-group decomposition, have not been motivated from a statistical approach, or are based on more restricted econometric models.
    Keywords: Gender segregation measurement, Axiomatic properties
    JEL: J16 J24
    Date: 2008–11
  4. By: Stephen Nickell; Jumana Saleheen
    Abstract: This paper asks whether immigration to Britain has had any impact on average wages. There seems to be a broad consensus among academics that the share of immigrants in the workforce has little or no effect on the pay rates of the indigenous population. But the studies in the literature have typically not refined their analysis by breaking it down into different occupational groups. In this paper we find that once the occupational breakdown is incorporated into a regional analysis of immigration in Britain, the immigrant-native ratio has a significant, small, negative impact on average wages. Closer examination reveals that the biggest impact is in the semi/unskilled services sector. This finding accords well with intuition and anecdote, but does not seem to have been recorded previously in the empirical literature.
    Keywords: Emigration and immigration - Great Britain ; Wages - Great Britain
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Luigi Guiso; Paola Sapienza; Luigi Zingales
    Abstract: Is social capital long lasting? Does it affect long term economic performance? To answer these questions we test Putnam’s conjecture that today marked differences in social capital between the North and South of Italy were due to the culture of independence fostered by the free city-states experience in the North of Italy at the turn of the first millennium. We show that the medieval experience of independence has an impact on social capital within the North, even when we instrument for the probability of becoming a city-state with historical factors (such as the Etruscan origin of the city and the presence of a bishop in year 1,000). More importantly, we show that the difference in social capital among towns that in the Middle Ages had the characteristics to become independent and towns that did not exists only in the North (where most of these towns became independent) and not in the South (where the power of the Norman kingdom prevented them from doing so). Our difference in difference estimates suggest that at least 50% of the North-South gap in social capital is due to the lack of a free city-state experience in the South.
    Keywords: social capital, culture, persistence, institutions, economic development
    JEL: O N P0
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Richard H. Steckel
    Abstract: Since 1995 approximately 300 publications on stature have appeared in the social sciences, which is a five-fold increase in the rate of production relative to the period 1977-1994. The expansion occurred in several areas, but especially within economics, indicating that heights have become a traditional source of evidence for study of human welfare. Much of this work extends beyond the traditional bailiwick of anthropometric history, including biological welfare during economic and political crises; anthropometric determinants of wages; the welfare of women relative to men in the contemporary world; the fetal origins hypothesis; and inequality in the developing world. The approach has also expanded within economic history to consider the consequences of empire for colonials; the health of populations lacking traditional measures of social performance; the consequences of smallpox; and very long-term trends in health. Much has also been learned about socioeconomic aspects of inequality, the welfare implications of industrialization, and socioeconomic determinants of stature. The last is a work in progress and one may doubt whether sufficient longitudinal evidence will become available for a complete understanding of the variety and strength of pathways that affect human physical growth.
    JEL: N00 O1
    Date: 2008–12
  7. By: Rafael Di Tella; Robert MacCulloch
    Abstract: We test for whether, once "basic needs" are satisfied, there is happiness adaptation to further gains in income using three data sets. Individual German Panel Data from 1985-2000, and data on the well-being of over 600,000 people in a panel of European countries from 1975-2002, shows different patterns of adaptation to income across the rich and poor. We find evidence that for wealthy Germans, and for the rich half of European nations, higher levels of per capita income don't buy greater happiness. The reason appears to be adaptation. However even for the rich half of European nations such habituation may take over 5 years so the happiness gains that they experience, whilst not permanent, can still be relatively long-lasting. Finally we study a cross section of nations in 2005 from the World Gallup Poll and find that the past 45 years of economic growth (from 1960-2005) in the rich half of nations has not brought happiness gains above those that were already in place once the 1960s standard of living had been achieved. However in the poorest half of nations we cannot reject the null hypothesis that the happiness gains they have experienced from the past 45 years of growth have been the same as the gains that they experienced from growth prior to the 1960s.
    JEL: D0 I31
    Date: 2008–12

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