nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2009‒08‒22
ten papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Goodness-of-Fit: An Economic Approach By Frank A. cowell; Emmanuel Flachaire; Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
  2. Time and Income Poverty: An Interdependent Multidimensional Poverty Approach with German Time Use Diary Data By Merz, Joachim; Rathjen, Tim
  3. Does Positional Concern Matter in Poor Societies? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Rural Ethiopia By Akay, Alpaslan; Martinsson, Peter; Medhin, Haileselassie
  4. Do Expenditures Other Than Instructional Expenditures Affect Graduation and Persistence Rates in American Higher Education? By Webber, Douglas A.; Ehrenberg, Ronald G.
  5. Population and Health Policies By Schultz, T. Paul
  6. Generalized measures of wage differentials By Van Kerm, Philippe
  7. Nonparametric estimation of a polarization measure By Gordon Anderson; Oliver Linton; Yoon-Jae Whang
  8. Food and cash transfers: evidence from Colombia By Orazio Attanasio; Erich Battistin; Alice Mesnard
  9. Life Satisfaction By Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur Van Soest
  10. Aging, religion, and health By Angus S. Deaton

  1. By: Frank A. cowell; Emmanuel Flachaire; Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
    Abstract: Specific functional forms are often used in economic models of distributions; goodness-of-fit measures are used to assess whether a functional form is appropriate in the light of real-world data. Standard approaches use a distance criterion based on the EDF, an aggregation of differences in observed and theoretical cumulative frequencies. However, an economic approach to the problem should involve a measure of the information loss from using a badly-fitting model. This would involve an aggregation of, for example, individual income discrepancies between model and data. We provide an axiomatisation of an approach and applications to illustrate its importance.
    Keywords: Goodness of fit, Discrepancy, Income distribution, Inequality measurement
    JEL: D63 C10
    Date: 2009
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:oxf:wpaper:444&r=ltv
  2. By: Merz, Joachim (University of Lüneburg); Rathjen, Tim (University of Lüneburg)
    Abstract: Income as the traditional one dimensional measure in well-being and poverty analyses is extended in recent studies by a multidimensional poverty concept. Though this is certainly a progress, however, two important aspects are missing: time as an important dimension and the interdependence of the often only separately counted multiple poverty dimensions. Our paper will contribute to both aspects: First, we consider time – and income – both as striking and restricting resources of everyday activities and hence account for time and income as important multiple poverty dimensions. Second, the interdependence of the poverty dimensions will be evaluated by the German population to allow an advanced approach to understand possible substitution effects and the respective trade offs between the dimensions. Referring to the time dimension, we follow Sen's capability approach with its freedom of the living conditions' choice and social exclusion and argue, that restricted time might exclude from social participation. In particular, restricted genuine, personal leisure time (not entire leisure time) in particular is associated with a restricted social participation. The crucial question then is how to measure the substitution between income and such genuine leisure time. In our analysis we consider the country population’s valuation with data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and estimate the substitution by a CES-utility function of general utility/satisfaction. Given this quantification we disentangle time, income and interdependent multidimensional poverty regimes characterising the working poor. In addition, we quantify further socio-economic influences for each interdependent multidimensional poverty regime by a multinomial logit based on time use diary data of the German Time Use Study 2001/02. One striking result for Germany: the substitution between time and income is significant and we find an important fraction of time poor who are unable to substitute their time deficit by income. These poor people are ignored within the poverty and well-being as well as the time crunch and time famine discussion so far.
    Keywords: interdependent multidimensional time and income poverty, time and income substitution, extended economic well-being, satisfaction, CES utility function estimation, working poor, German Socio-Economic Panel, German Time Use Surveys 2001/02
    JEL: D31 D13 J22
    Date: 2009–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4337&r=ltv
  3. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg); Medhin, Haileselassie (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: We investigated attitudes toward positionality among rural farmers in Northern Ethiopia, using a tailored survey experiment. On average, we found positional concerns neither in income per se nor in income from aid projects among the farmers. These results support the claim that positional concerns are positively correlated with absolute level of income of a country.
    Keywords: Ethiopia, positional concern, relative income
    JEL: C90 D63
    Date: 2009–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4354&r=ltv
  4. By: Webber, Douglas A. (Cornell University); Ehrenberg, Ronald G. (Cornell University)
    Abstract: Median instructional spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at American colleges and universities has grown at a slower rate the median spending per FTE in a number of other expenditure categories during the last two decades. We use institutional level panel data and a variety of econometric approaches, including unconditional quantile regression models, to analyze whether noninstructional expenditure categories influence first year persistence and graduation rates of American undergraduate students. Our most important finding is that student service expenditures influence graduation and persistence rates and their marginal effects are larger for students at institutions with lower entrance test scores and more lower income students. Put another way, their effects are largest at institutions that have lower current persistence and graduation rates. Simulations suggest that reallocating some funding from instruction to student services may enhance persistence and graduation rates at those institutions whose rates are currently below the medians in the sample.
    Keywords: higher education, productivity, graduation rates
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2009–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4345&r=ltv
  5. By: Schultz, T. Paul (Yale University)
    Abstract: The program evaluation literature for population and health policies is in flux, with many disciplines documenting biological and behavioral linkages from fetal development to late life mortality, chronic disease, and disability, though their implications for policy remain uncertain. Both macro- and microeconomics seek to understand and incorporate connections between economic development and the demographic transition. The focus here is on research methods, findings, and questions that economists can clarify regarding the causal relationships between economic development, health outcomes, and reproductive behavior, which operate in many directions, posing problems for identifying causal pathways. The connection between conditions under which people live and their expected life span and health status refers to "health production functions." The relationships between an individual's stock of health and productivity, well-being, and duration of life encompasses the "returns to health human capital." The control of reproduction improves directly the well-being of women, and the economic opportunities of her offspring. The choice of population policies may be country specific and conditional on institutional setting, even though many advances in biomedical and public health knowledge, including modern methods of birth control, are now widely available. Evaluation of a policy intervention in terms of cost effectiveness is typically more than a question of technological efficiency, but also the motivation for adoption, and the behavioral responsiveness to the intervention of individuals, families, networks, and communities. Well-specified research strategies are required to address (1) the economic production of health capacities from conception to old age; (2) the wage returns to increasing health status attributable to policy interventions; (3) the conditions affecting fertility, family time allocation, and human capital investments; and (4) the consequences for women and their families of policies which change the timing as well as number of births.
    Keywords: fertility and family planning, biology of health human capital, economic development, health
    JEL: D13 I18 J13 O12
    Date: 2009–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4340&r=ltv
  6. By: Van Kerm, Philippe (CEPS/INSTEAD)
    Abstract: This paper considers new 'distributionally sensitive' summary measures of wage differentials, not solely determined by "the average wage of the average person" but by differences across complete wage distributions. Considerations of risk or inequality aversion in the assessment of wage differentials are explicitly included, transplanting expected utility concepts familiar to income distribution analysts. In an application to the gender pay gap in Luxembourg the disadvantage of women persists with the new generalized measures of wage differentials. This suggests that lower average wages for women are not compensated by less dispersed distributions. The paper also illustrates original estimation of wage distributions in the presence of covariates and under endogenous labour market participation.
    Keywords: wage differentials; discrimination ; expected utility ; Singh-Maddala ; Luxembourg
    JEL: D63 J31 J70
    Date: 2009–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:irs:iriswp:2009-08&r=ltv
  7. By: Gordon Anderson (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Toronto); Oliver Linton (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics); Yoon-Jae Whang (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Seoul National University)
    Abstract: <p><p><p>This paper develops methodology for nonparametric estimation of a polarization measure due to Anderson (2004) and Anderson, Ge, and Leo (2006) based on kernel estimation techniques. We give the asymptotic distribution theory of our estimator, which in some cases is nonstandard due to a boundary value problem. We also propose a method for conducting inference based on estimation of unknown quantities in the limiting distribution and show that our method yields consistent inference in all cases we consider. We investigate the finite sample properties of our methods by simulation methods. We give an application to the study of polarization within China in recent years.</p></p></p>
    Date: 2009–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ifs:cemmap:14/09&r=ltv
  8. By: Orazio Attanasio (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Erich Battistin (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Alice Mesnard (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: <p>We study food Engel curves among the poor population targeted by a conditional cash transfer programme in Colombia. After controlling for the endogeneity of total expenditure and for the (unobserved) variability of prices across villages, the best fit is provided by a log-linear specification. Our estimates imply that an increase in total expenditure by 10% would lead to a decrease of 1% in the share of food. However, quasi-experimental estimates of the impact of the programme on total and food consumption show that the share of food increases, suggesting that the programme has more complex impacts than increasing household income. In particular, our results are not inconsistent with the hypothesis that the programme, targeted to women, could increase their bargaining power and induce a more than proportional increase in food consumption.</p>
    Keywords: Demand patterns, food Engel curves, evaluation of welfare programme
    JEL: C52 D12 I38
    Date: 2009–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:09/15&r=ltv
  9. By: Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur Van Soest
    Abstract: The authors analyze the determinants of global life satisfaction in two countries (The Netherlands and the U.S.), by using both self-reports and responses to a battery of vignette questions. They find global life satisfaction of happiness is well-described by four domains: job or daily activities, social contacts and family, health, and income. Among the four domains, social contacts and family have the highest impact on global life satisfaction, followed by job and daily activities and health. Income has the lowest impact. As in other work, they find that American response styles differ from the Dutch in that Americans are more likely to use the extremes of the scale (either very satisfied or very dissatisfied) than the Dutch, who are more inclined to stay in the middle of the scale. Although for both Americans and the Dutch, income is the least important determinant of global life satisfaction, it is more important in the U.S. than in The Netherlands. Indeed life satisfaction varies substantially more with income in the U.S. than in The Netherlands.
    Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, vignettes, reporting bias
    JEL: I31 J28 D31
    Date: 2009–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ran:wpaper:691&r=ltv
  10. By: Angus S. Deaton
    Abstract: Durkheim’s famous study of suicide is a precursor of a large contemporary literature that investigates the links between religion and health. The topic is particularly germane for the health of women and of the elderly, who are much more likely to be religious. In this paper, I use data from the Gallup World Poll to study the within and between country relationships between religiosity, age, and gender, as well as the effects of religiosity on a range of health measures and health-related behaviors. The main contribution of the current study comes from the coverage and richness of the data, which allow me to use nationally representative samples to study the correlates of religion within and between more than 140 countries using more than 300,000 observations. It is almost universally true that the elderly and women are more religious, and I find evidence in favor of a genuine aging effect, not simply a cohort effect associated with secularization. As in previous studies, it is not clear why women are so much more religious than men. In most countries, religious people report better health; they say they have more energy, that their health is better, and that they experience less pain. Their social lives and personal behaviors are also healthier; they are more likely to be married, to have supportive friends, they are more likely to report being treated with respect, they have greater confidence in the healthcare and medical system and they are less likely to smoke. But these effects do not all hold in all countries, and they tend to be stronger for men than for women.
    JEL: I10 Z12
    Date: 2009–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15271&r=ltv

This nep-ltv issue is ©2009 by Maximo Rossi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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