nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2008‒12‒21
six papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Gender-Specific Effects of Unemployment on Family Formation : A Cross-National Perspective By Christian Schmitt
  3. The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector By James Albrecht; Lucas Navarro; Susan Vroman
  4. Poverty Estimating Poverty for Indigenous Groups by Matching Census and Survey Data By Claudio Agostini; Phillip Brown; Andrei Roman
  5. Boon or Bane? Others' unemployment, well-being and job insecurity By Andrew E. Clark; Andreas Knabe; Steffen Rätzel
  6. Tracking, Attrition and Data Quality in the Kenyan Life Panel Survey Round 1 (KLPS-1) By Sarah Baird; Joan Hamory; Edward Miguel

  1. By: Christian Schmitt
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of unemployment on the propensity to start a family. Unemployment is accompanied by bad occupational prospects and impending economic deprivation, placing the well-being of a future family at risk. I analyze unemployment at the intersection of state-dependence and the reduced opportunity costs of parenthood, distinguishing between men and women across a set of welfare states. Using micro-data from the European Community Household Panel (ECHP), I apply event history methods to analyze longitudinal samples of first-birth transitions in France, Finland, Germany, and the UK (1994-2001). The results highlight spurious negative effects of unemployment on family formation among men, which can be attributed to the lack of breadwinner capabilities in the inability to financially support a family. Women, in contrast, show positive effects of unemployment on the propensity to have a first child in all countries except France. These effects prevail even after ontrolling for labour market and income-related factors. The findings are pronounced in Germany and the UK where work-family conflicts are the cause of high opportunity costs of motherhood, and the gender-specific division of labour is still highly traditional. Particularly among women with a moderate and low level of education, unemployment clearly increases the likelihood to have a first child.
    Keywords: family formation, fertility, unemployment, cross-national comparison
    JEL: J13 J24 J64 C41
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Richard Brecher (Department of Economics, Carleton University); Zhiqi Chen (Department of Economics, Carleton University)
    Abstract: We show how international trade, migration and outsourcing affect unemployment of skilled and unskilled labor, in a framework that integrates the Heckscher-Ohlin model of trade with the Shapiro-Stiglitz model of unemployment. Our approach allows us to analyze changes in not only aggregate unemployment, but also the distribution of unemployment between skilled and unskilled labor. As the analysis demonstrates, the unemployment rates of these two types of labor often move in opposite directions, thereby dampening the change in aggregate unemployment. Results depend on the source of comparative advantage, based on international differences in (for example) unemployment insurance or production technology.
    Date: 2008–09–01
  3. By: James Albrecht (Georgetown University and IZA); Lucas Navarro (ILADES-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado); Susan Vroman (Georgetown University and IZA)
    Abstract: In this paper, we build an equilibrium search and matching model of an economy with an informal sector. Our model extends Mortensen and Pissarides (1994) by allowing for ex ante worker heterogeneity with respect to formal-sector productivity. We use the model to analyze the effects of labour market policy on informal-sector and formal sector output, on the division of the workforce into unemployment, informal-sector employment and formal-sector employment, and on wages. Finally, we examine the distributional implications of labour market policy; specifically, we analyse how labour market policy affects the distributions of wages and productivities across formal-sector matches. Keywords: Informality and Labour Market Policy
    JEL: E26 J64 O17
    Date: 2008–09
  4. By: Claudio Agostini (ILADES-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado); Phillip Brown (Colby College, Waterville, Maine, United States and International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C., United States.); Andrei Roman (Colby College, Waterville, Maine, United States)
    Abstract: It is widely held that indigenous Chileans experience greater rates of poverty and indigence than non-indigenousChileans, yet the evidence to date has been based on surveys that are not representative by ethnicity. In this paper,we use poverty mapping methodologies that are typically applied to geography to develop statistically preciseestimates of poverty, indigence, poverty gaps, and indigence gaps for each of the eight indigenous groupsrecognized by Chilean law. We find that indigenous people experience higher rates of poverty and indigence andgreater depth of poverty and indigence than non-indigenous people. These results hold within individual regions,suggesting that the differential access to economic opportunities in different parts of the country cannot fully explainthe results. We also find that the burden of poverty is not shared equally across indigenous groups. Instead, theMapuche and Aymará experience disproportionately high poverty rates. We argue that including ethnicity incriteria for identifying poor households may help policy-makers to improve antipoverty targeting.
    Keywords: Poverty; Indigence; Ethnicity; Poverty Mapping; Chile
    JEL: I32 J15 D31 C53 O54
    Date: 2008–06
  5. By: Andrew E. Clark; Andreas Knabe; Steffen Rätzel
    Abstract: The social norm of unemployment suggests that aggregate unemployment reduces the well-being of the employed, but has a far smaller effect on the unemployed. We use German panel data to reproduce this standard result, but then suggest that the appropriate distinction may not be between employment and unemployment, but rather between higher and lower levels of labour-market security. Those with good job prospects, both employed and unemployed, are strongly negatively affected by regional unemployment. However, the insecure employed and the poor-prospect unemployed are less negatively, or even positively, affected. We use our results to analyse labour-market inequality and unemployment hysteresis.
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Sarah Baird (UC San Diego); Joan Hamory (UC Berkeley); Edward Miguel (UC Berkeley and NBER)
    Abstract: Understanding the possible pitfalls of survey data is critical for empirical research. Among other things, poor data quality can lead to biased regression estimates, potentially resulting in incorrect interpretations that mislead researchers and policymakers alike. Common data problems include difficulties in tracking respondents and high survey attrition, enumerator error and bias, and respondent reporting error. This paper describes and analyzes these issues in Round 1 of the Kenyan Life Panel Survey (KLPS-1), collected in 2003-2005. The KLPS-1 is an innovative longitudinal dataset documenting a wide range of outcomes for Kenyan youths who had originally attended schools participating in a deworming treatment program starting in 1998. The careful design of this survey allows for examination of an array of data quality issues. First, we explore the existence and implications of sample attrition bias. Basic residential, educational, and mortality information was obtained for 88% of target respondents, and personal contact was made with 84%, an exceptionally high follow-up rate for a young adult population in a less developed country. Moreover, rates of sample attrition are nearly identical for respondents who were randomly assigned deworming treatment and for those who were not, a key factor in the validity of subsequent statistical analysis. One vital component of this success is the tracking of respondents both nationally and across international borders (in our case, into Uganda), thus we discuss in detail the costs and benefits of tracking movers. Finally, we study KLPS-1 data quality more broadly by examining enumerator error and bias, as well as survey response consistency. We conclude that the extent of enumerator error is low, with an average of less than one recording error per survey. Errors decrease over time as enumerator experience with the survey instrument increases, but increase over the course of multiple interviews within a single day, presumably due to fatigue. We do find some evidence that the enumerator-respondent match in terms of gender, ethnicity, and religion correlates with responses regarding trust of others and religious activities, suggesting some field officer bias on sensitive questions. Reporting reliability is analyzed using respondent re-surveys. These checks show high levels of consistency across survey/re-survey rounds for the respondent's own characteristics and personal history,with lower reliability rates on questions asked about others' characteristics. The steps taken in the design of KLPS-1 to avoid common errors in survey data collection greatly improved the quality of this panel dataset, and provide some valuable lessons for future field data collection projects.
    Keywords: survey data, enumerator error, longitudinal dataset, Kenya, deworming,
    Date: 2008–08–01

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