New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2010‒04‒17
fourteen papers chosen by

  1. The relationship between Stress, Strain and Social Capital By Martin Gächter; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
  2. Comparing Multidimensional Poverty with Qualitative Indicators of Well-Being By Yélé Maweki Batana; Jean-Yves Duclos
  3. Partial Multidimensional Inequality Orderings By Jean-Yves Duclos; David E. Sahn; Stephen D. Younger
  4. Top Ten Myths and Fallacies Regarding Immigration By Chiswick, Barry R.
  5. Home-Leaving Decisions of Daughters and Sons By Chiuri, Maria Concetta; Del Boca, Daniela
  6. Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior By Card, David; Dahl, Gordon B.
  7. Economics and Religion By Chiswick, Carmel U.
  8. If Seebohm Rowntree Had Studied Sweden: How Poverty Changed in the City of Göteborg from 1925 to 2003 By Gustafsson, Björn; Jansson, Birgitta
  9. Occupational segregation measures: A role for status By Coral del Río; Olga Alonso-Villar
  10. Measuring poverty accounting for time By Carlos Gradín; Coral del Río; Olga Cantó
  11. Benefit incidence analysis : are government health expenditures more pro-rich than we think ? By Wagstaff, Adam
  12. Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data : the case of Turkey By Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Gignoux, Jeremie; Aran, Meltem
  13. Buffering Shocks to Well-Being Late in Life By Matthew D. Shapiro
  14. Understanding the mechanisms of economic development By Angus S. Deaton

  1. By: Martin Gächter; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effectiveness of social capital in reducing the negative externalities associated with stress, as well as the physical and psychological strain indicators among police officers. Despite the fact that there is a large multidisciplinary literature on stress or on social capital, the link between both factors is still underexplored. In this empirical paper we therefore aim at reducing such a shortcoming. We focus on a strategically important work environment, namely law enforcement agents, that is not only characterized as physically and emotionally demanding, but also as an essential part for a well-functioning society due to the fact that inefficiencies in the police force can induce large negative externalities. Using a multivariate regression analysis focusing on eight different proxies for stress and strain, and two proxies for social capital and conducting several robustness checks, we find strong evidence that an increased level of social capital is correlated with a lower level of strain. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest that stress reduction programs should actively engage employees to build stronger social networks.
    Keywords: Social Capital; Trust; Stress and Strain; Gender; Police Officers; Burnout
    JEL: I1 I31 J24 J81 Z13
    Date: 2009–09
  2. By: Yélé Maweki Batana; Jean-Yves Duclos
    Abstract: This paper examines multidimensional stochastic dominance when one of the indicators of well-being, such as household size or place of residence, is qualitative. It also uses a test for strict dominance based on the empirical likelihood ratio. Empirical applications are based on the DHS (Demography and Health Surveys) for several countries in Western Africa. The results show the existence of multidimensional dominance relationships between most of these countries.
    Keywords: Stochastic dominance, multidimensional poverty, empirical likelihood tests, bootstrap tests, West Africa
    JEL: C10 C11 C12 C30 C39 I32
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Jean-Yves Duclos; David E. Sahn; Stephen D. Younger
    Abstract: The paper investigates how comparisons of multivariate inequality can be made robust to varying the intensity of focus on the share of the population that are more relatively deprived. It follows the dominance approach to making inequality comparisons, as developed for instance by Atkinson (1970), Foster and Shorrocks (1988) and Formby, Smith, and Zheng (1999) in the unidimensional context, and Atkinson and Bourguignon (1982) in the multidimensional context. By focusing on those below a multidimensional inequality “frontier”, we are able to reconcile the literature on multivariate relative poverty and multivariate inequality. Some existing approaches to multivariate inequality actually reduce the distributional analysis to a univariate problem, either by using a utility function first to aggregate an individual’s multiple dimensions of well-being, or by applying a univariate inequality analysis to each dimension independently. One of our innovations is that unlike previous approaches, the distribution of relative well-being in one dimension is allowed to affect how other dimensions influence overall inequality. We apply our approach to data from India and Mexico using monetary and non-monetary indicators of well-being.
    Keywords: Inequality, multidimensional comparisons, stochastic dominance
    JEL: D3 I3
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Chiswick, Barry R. (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes what the author views as the current top ten myths and fallacies regarding immigration and immigration policy in the United States.
    Keywords: immigrants, immigration policy, myths, fallacies
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2009–07
  5. By: Chiuri, Maria Concetta (University of Bari); Del Boca, Daniela (University of Turin)
    Abstract: In spite of relevant differences between countries, a common international pattern emerges: daughters leave parental homes earlier than sons. Drawing upon the European Community Household Panel, we explore the impacts of various factors that affect daughters' and sons' home-leaving decisions. Our results show important differences across genders as well as across countries. The decisions of daughters appear to be more responsive than sons' to family structure as well as to institutional factors such as the labor and the mortgage market.
    Keywords: living arrangements, gender, social policies
    JEL: J2 C3 D1
    Date: 2010–04
  6. By: Card, David (University of California, Berkeley); Dahl, Gordon B. (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: We study the link between family violence and the emotional cues associated with wins and losses by local professional football teams. We hypothesize that the risk of violence is affected by the 'gain-loss' utility of game outcomes around a rationally expected reference point. Our empirical analysis uses police reports of violent incidents on Sundays during the professional football season. Controlling for the pre-game point spread and the size of the local viewing audience, we find that upset losses (defeats when the home team was predicted to win by 4 or more points) lead to a 10 percent increase in the rate of at-home violence by men against their wives and girlfriends. In contrast, losses when the game was expected to be close have small and insignificant effects. Upset wins (when the home team was predicted to lose) also have little impact on violence, consistent with asymmetry in the gain-loss utility function. The rise in violence after an upset loss is concentrated in a narrow time window near the end of the game, and is larger for more important games. We find no evidence for reference point updating based on the halftime score.
    Keywords: reference dependence, gain-loss utility, intimate partner violence
    JEL: J12
    Date: 2010–04
  7. By: Chiswick, Carmel U. (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the relationship between economics and religion. It first considers the effects of economic incentives in the religious marketplace on consumers’ demand for "religion." It then shows how this demand affects religious institutions and generates a supply of religious goods and services. Other topics include the structure of this religious marketplace and the related "marketplace for ideas" in a religiously pluralistic society. Empirical evidence is summarized for the effects on selected economic behaviors of religious affiliation and intensity of belief or practice.
    Keywords: economics, religion, human capital
    JEL: Z12
    Date: 2010–04
  8. By: Gustafsson, Björn (Göteborg University); Jansson, Birgitta (Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the development of poverty in Sweden using micro data derived from tax files for the city of Göteborg for the years 1925, 1936, 1947, 1958 as well as more recent (1983, 1994 and 2003) information. We define poverty as living in a household with a disposable income lower than a poverty line that represents a constant purchasing power all years, as well as poverty lines defined as 60 percent of contemporary median income. Clear reductions of poverty from 1925 to 1947 as well as from 1958 to 1983 are found. We argue that an important poverty reducing mechanism during both periods was narrowing earnings disparities. Further we claim that the poverty reduction from the end of the 1950s to the first half of the 1980s was the outcome of improved transfer systems as well as the establishment of pronounced characteristics of present-day Sweden: the dual earner system.
    Keywords: poverty, Sweden, Seebohm Rowntree, Gothenburg, earnings distribution, dual earner
    JEL: I32 N34 N94
    Date: 2010–03
  9. By: Coral del Río (Universidade de Vigo); Olga Alonso-Villar (Universidade de Vigo)
    Abstract: This paper extends recent local segregation measures by incorporating status differences across occupations. These new measures are intended to be used to assess, from a normative point of view, the segregation of a target group. They seem appropriate to complement, rather than substitute, other measures by quantifying how things change when taking into account the status of occupations. The usefulness of these tools is shown in the case of occupational segregation of immigrants and natives in Spain.
    Keywords: Segregation measures, occupations, status.
    JEL: D63 J15 J16 J71
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Carlos Gradín (Universidade de Vigo); Coral del Río (Universidade de Vigo); Olga Cantó (Instituto de Estudios Fiscales and Universidade de Vigo)
    Abstract: In this paper we make a methodological proposal to measure poverty accounting for time by proposing a new index that aims at reconciling the way poverty is measured in a static and a dynamic framework. Our index is able to consider the duration of the poverty spell and the social preference for equality in well-being given that, in contrast with others that have been previously proposed, it is sensitive to the level of inequality between individual complete poverty experiences over time. Moreover, other indices in the literature can be interpreted as special cases of our more general measure.
    Keywords: intertemporal poverty, duration, equality, poverty measurement
    JEL: D31 D63 I32
    Date: 2010
  11. By: Wagstaff, Adam
    Abstract: It is generally accepted that government health expenditures should disproportionately benefit the poor. And yet in most developing countries the opposite is the case. This paper examines the implications of a central assumption of benefit incidence analysis, namely that the unit cost of a government-provided service bears no relation to the out-of-pocket payments paid by the patient. It argues that a more plausible assumption is that larger out-of-pocket payments for a given unit of utilization reflect more (or more costly) services being delivered. The paper compares -- theoretically and empirically -- the standard constant-cost assumption with two alternatives, namely that the cost of care in a specific episode of utilization is (a) proportional to or (b) linearly related to the amount of money paid out-of-pocket by the patient. An interesting special case of the linear relationship is where subsidies are focused on a basic unit of care and additional costs are met dollar-for-dollar by additional fees. The paper shows that if fees are more pro-rich than utilization, government spending will be least pro-rich under the constant-cost assumption and most pro-rich under the proportionality assumption. The linear assumption results in a concentration index for subsidies that lies between these two extremes. These results are borne out in an analysis of the incidence of government health spending in Vietnam (a country where fees are more pro-rich than utilization); indeed, under the constant-cost assumption, subsidies are pro-poor while they are pro-rich under the proportionality assumption. The paper also considers the biases created by not allowing for insurance reimbursements.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Health Systems Development&Reform,Urban Economics,Public Sector Management and Reform,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2010–03–01
  12. By: Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Gignoux, Jeremie; Aran, Meltem
    Abstract: The measurement of inequality of opportunity has hitherto not been attempted in a number of countries because of data limitations. This paper proposes two alternative approaches to circumventing the missing data problems in countries where a demographic and health survey and an ancillary household expenditure survey are available. One method relies only on the demographic and health survey, and constructs a wealth index as a measure of economic advantage. The alternative method imputes consumption from the ancillary survey into the demographic and health survey. In both cases, the between-type share of overall inequality is computed as a lower bound estimator of inequality of opportunity. Parametric and non-parametric estimates are calculated for both methods, and the parametric approach is shown to yield preferable lower-bound measures. In an application to the sample of ever-married women aged 30-49 in Turkey, inequality of opportunity accounts for at least 26 percent (31 percent) of overall inequality in imputed consumption (the wealth index).
    Keywords: Inequality,Economic Theory&Research,Population Policies,Rural Poverty Reduction,Equity and Development
    Date: 2010–02–01
  13. By: Matthew D. Shapiro (University of Michigan and NBER)
    Abstract: Consumption provides a comprehensive measurement of economic well-being. This research shows that consumption is well-insured with respect to health status and widowing. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and its CAMS supplement, it shows that consumption responds little to changes in health status even though adverse health generates substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses. Similarly, the effect of widowing on consumption, though substantial, is not strongly driven by changes in economic resources. Men experience little loss of monetary resources when being widowed. Women have the same overall loss in consumption as men when being widowed despite greater declines in economic resources. Hence, despite the adverse consequences for income and wealth for female widows, women experience no greater drop in consumption from losing a spouse than do men.
    Date: 2009–10
  14. By: Angus S. Deaton
    Abstract: I argue that progress in understanding economic development (as in other branches of economics) must come from the investigation of mechanisms; the associated empirical analysis can usefully employ a wide range of experimental and non-experimental methods. I discuss three different areas of research: the life-cycle saving hypothesis and its implication that economic growth drives higher rates of national saving, the theory of speculative commodity storage and its implications for the time-series behavior of commodity prices, and the relationship between economic growth and nutritional improvement. None of these projects has yet been entirely successful in offering a coherent account of the evidence, but all illustrate a process of trial and error, in which although mechanisms are often rejected, unlikely theoretical propositions are sometimes surprisingly verified, while in all cases there is a process of learning about and subsequently modifying our understanding of the underlying mechanisms
    JEL: C01 E21 O1 O15 O16 O4
    Date: 2010–04

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