nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2009‒11‒07
six papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Health Inequality and Its Determinants in New York By Kajal Lahiri; Zulkarnain Pulungan
  2. Suffer the Little Children: Measuring the Effects of Parenthood on Well-Being Worldwide By Luca Stanca
  3. The Life Satisfaction Approach to Environmental Valuation By Frey, Bruno S.; Luechinger, Simon; Stutzer, Alois
  4. Institutions and Economic Outcomes: A Dominance Based Analysis of Causality and Multivariate Welfare With Discrete and Continuous Variables By Gordon Anderson; Kinda Hachem
  5. Boats and Tides and Trickle Down Theories: What Stochastic Process Theory Has To Say About Modeling Poverty, Inequality, Mobility and Polarization By Gordon Anderson
  6. Procedural Rationality and Happiness By Novarese, Marco; Castellani, Marco; Di Giovinazzo, Viviana

  1. By: Kajal Lahiri; Zulkarnain Pulungan
    Abstract: Self-assessed health status conditioned by several objective measures of health and socio-demographic characteristics are used to measure health inequality. We compare the quality of health and health inequality among different racial/ethnic groups as well as across 17 regions in New York State. In terms of average health and health inequality, American Indian/Alaskan Natives and Hispanics are found to be the worst, and North Country, Bronx County, and Richmond County lag behind the rest of the State. Three major contributing factors to health inequality are found to be employment status, education, and income. However, the contribution of each of these determinants varies significantly among racial/ethnic groups as well as across regions, suggesting targeted public health initiatives for vulnerable populations to eliminate overall health disparity.
    Date: 2009
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nya:albaec:09-04&r=ltv
  2. By: Luca Stanca
    Abstract: This paper tests the rational-choice approach to fertility decisions by investigating the relationship between parenthood and well-being in a large sample of individuals from 94 countries. We find that world- wide, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, having children has a negative effect on well-being. Conditioning on age, gender, marital status and education can only partially help to interpret this finding. We show that the negative effect of parent- hood on well-being is explained by a large adverse impact on financial satisfaction, that on average dominates the positive impact on non- financial satisfaction. The results are robust to alternative empirical specifications and to the inclusion of the reported ideal number of children as a proxy variable to address the endogeneity of parenthood decisions.
    Keywords: well-being, fertility, children, decision-making
    JEL: A13 D10 D61 I31 J17
    Date: 2009–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:mib:wpaper:173&r=ltv
  3. By: Frey, Bruno S. (University of Zurich); Luechinger, Simon (University of Zurich); Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel)
    Abstract: In many countries environmental policies and regulations are implemented to improve environmental quality and thus individuals' well-being. However, how do individuals value the environment? In this paper, we review the Life Satisfaction Approach (LSA) representing a new non-market valuation technique. The LSA builds on the recent development of subjective well-being research in economics and takes measures of reported life satisfaction as an empirical approximation to individual welfare. Micro-econometric life satisfaction functions are estimated taking into account environmental conditions along with income and other covariates. The estimated coefficients for the environmental good and income can then be used to calculate the implicit willingness-to-pay for the environmental good.
    Keywords: life satisfaction approach, subjective well-being, non-market valuation, cost-benefit analysis, air pollution
    JEL: Q51 I31 D61 Q53
    Date: 2009–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4478&r=ltv
  4. By: Gordon Anderson; Kinda Hachem
    Abstract: One of the central issues in welfare economics is the measurement of overall wellbeing and, to this end, the interaction between institutions (polity) and growth is paramount. Individual welfare depends on both economic and political factors but the continuous nature of economic variables combined with the discrete nature of political ones renders conventional multivariate techniques problematic. In this paper, we propose a multivariate dominance test based on the comparison of mixtures of continuous and discrete distributions to examine changes in welfare. Our results suggest that, while economic growth exerted a positive impact from 1960 to 2000, declines in polity over the earlier part of this period were sufficient to produce a decline in overall wellbeing until the mid-1970s. Subsequent increases in polity then reversed the trend and, ultimately, wellbeing in 2000 was higher than that in 1960. To be sure, economic and political variables are correlated and, based on the dominance of polity in our multivariate results, we conjecture that this correlation is predominantly due to a causal link from polity to growth. While the development literature is rife with debates over whether it is institutions that cause growth or growth that causes institutions, we argue that the relevant question is not which hypothesis is correct but, rather, which hypothesis dominates. Since standard regression techniques have difficulty capturing non-linear dependence, especially when one of the variables is an index with limited variation, we propose a causality dominance test to examine this aspect of the growth-institutions nexus and indeed find evidence that the causal effects of polity on growth dominate those of growth on polity, particularly when the data are population weighted.
    Keywords: Growth, Polity, Causality, Multivariate Wellbeing
    JEL: I3 O4
    Date: 2009–10–23
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-378&r=ltv
  5. By: Gordon Anderson
    Abstract: Aphorisms that “Rising tides raise all boats” or that material advances of the rich eventually “Trickle Down” to the poor are really maxims regarding the nature of stochastic processes that underlay the income paths of groups of individuals. This paper looks at the implications of conventional assumptions made by economists concerning such processes for the empirical analysis of wellbeing in terms of poverty, inequality, mobility and polarization. The implications of attributing different processes to different groups in society following the club convergence literature are also discussed. Various forms of poverty, inequality and income mobility structures are considered and much of the conventional wisdom afforded us by such aphorisms is questioned. To exemplify these ideas the results are applied to the distribution of GDP per capita in the continent of Africa.
    Keywords: Stochastic Processes, Poverty, Inequality, Mobility, Polarization
    JEL: I3
    Date: 2009–10–23
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-377&r=ltv
  6. By: Novarese, Marco; Castellani, Marco; Di Giovinazzo, Viviana
    Abstract: The Economics of Happiness already recognizes how procedures affect the evaluation of outcomes, although this has only been looked at within the standard framework of substantial rationality. This paper aims to go beyond that kind of approach by linking happiness and procedural rationality, focusing on ‘happiness for choice’ (the individual’s perceived satisfaction after the decision making process). Simon’s model shows the need for defining aspirations whose values are adapted to the past experience in a given environment. Some remarks proposed by Scitovsky’s allow to extend this idea considering the role of creative representation of the world as a way for trying to go beyond the past. These ideas are tested using data on aspirations and satisfaction expressed by students attending an economic course.
    Keywords: Procedural rationality; satisfaction; students; happiness; aspirations
    JEL: D83
    Date: 2009–10–31
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:18290&r=ltv

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