nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2010‒07‒10
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Happy House: Spousal weight and individual well-being By Clark, A.;; Etilé, F.;
  2. The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design is taking the Con out of Econometrics By Joshua D. Angrist; Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  3. Preference for increasing wages: How do people value various streams of income? By Duffy, Sean; Smith, John
  4. Don't Tell Me What to Do, Tell Me Who to Follow! Field Experiment Evidence on Voluntary Donations By Alpizar, Francisco; Martinsson, Peter
  5. Body size and wages in Europe: A semi-parametric analysis By Vincent A. Hildebrand; Philippe Van Kerm

  1. By: Clark, A.;; Etilé, F.;
    Abstract: We use life satisfaction and Body Mass Index (BMI) information from three waves of the GSOEP to test for social interactions in BMI between spouses. Semi-parametric regressions show that partner’s BMI is, beyond a certain level, negatively correlated with own satisfaction. Own BMI is positively correlated with satisfaction in thin men, and negatively correlated with satisfaction after some threshold. Critically, this latter threshold increases with partner’s BMI when the individual is overweight. The negative well-being impact of own BMI is thus lower when the individual’s partner is heavier. This is consistent with social contagion effects in weight. However, this cross-partial effect is insignificant in instrumental variable regressions, suggesting that the uninstrumented relationship reflects selection on the marriage market or omitted variables, rather than contagion.
    Keywords: Obesity; subjective well-being; BMI; social interactions
    JEL: C14 I12 I3
    Date: 2010–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:yor:hectdg:10/10&r=ltv
  2. By: Joshua D. Angrist; Jörn-Steffen Pischke
    Abstract: This essay reviews progress in empirical economics since Leamer's (1983) critique. Leamerhighlighted the benefits of sensitivity analysis, a procedure in which researchers show howtheir results change with changes in specification or functional form. Sensitivity analysis hashad a salutary but not a revolutionary effect on econometric practice. As we see it, thecredibility revolution in empirical work can be traced to the rise of a design-based approachthat emphasizes the identification of causal effects. Design-based studies typically featureeither real or natural experiments and are distinguished by their prima facie credibility and bythe attention investigators devote to making the case for a causal interpretation of the findingstheir designs generate. Design-based studies are most often found in the microeconomicfields of Development, Education, Environment, Labor, Health, and Public Finance, but arestill rare in Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics. We explain why IO and Macrowould do well to embrace a design-based approach. Finally, we respond to the charge that thedesign-based revolution has overreached.
    Keywords: research design, natural experiment, quasi-experiment, structural models
    JEL: C01
    Date: 2010–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0976&r=ltv
  3. By: Duffy, Sean; Smith, John
    Abstract: Prior studies have found that subjects prefer an improving sequence of income over a constant sequence, even if the constant sequence offers a larger present discounted value. However, little is known about how these preferences vary with the size of the wage payments. In each of our three studies, we find a relationship between the preference for increasing payments and the size of the payments. Further, our measure of the shape of the utility curve is not significantly related to this behavior. Our results roughly confirm an earlier theoretical prediction that the preference for increasing wage payments will be largest for payments which are neither very likely nor very unlikely to cover the cost of effort. Finally, consistent with the literature, we find mixed evidence regarding the applicability of these time preferences in domains other than money.
    Keywords: time preference; experimental economics; intertemporal choice
    JEL: D90 C91
    Date: 2010–06–28
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:23559&r=ltv
  4. By: Alpizar, Francisco; Martinsson, Peter
    Abstract: We conducted a field experiment in a protected area to explore the effects of conformity to a social reference versus a comparable, but imposed, suggested donation. As observed before, we see visitors conforming to the changing social reference. On the other hand, the treatment in which we suggested a donation resulted in lower shares of visitors donating, compared to the social reference treatment, and lower conditional donations even compared to the control. We concluded that visitors look at their peers as a reference to conform to, but partially reject being confronted with an imposed suggestion on how to behave.
    Keywords: conformity, donation, field experiment
    JEL: C93 D10 D60 Q50
    Date: 2010–06–18
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-16-efd&r=ltv
  5. By: Vincent A. Hildebrand; Philippe Van Kerm
    Abstract: Evidence of the association between wages and body size –typically measured by the body mass index– appears to be sensitive to estimation methods and samples, and varies across gender and ethnic groups. One factor that may contribute to this sensitivity is the non-linearity of the relationship. This paper analyzes data from the European Community Household Panel survey and uses semi-parametric techniques to avoid functional form assumptions and assess the relevance of standard models. If a linear model for women and a quadratic model for men fit the data relatively well, they are not entirely satisfactory and are statistically rejected in favour of semiparametric models which identify patterns that none of the parametric specifications capture. Furthermore, when we use height and weight in the models directly, rather than equating body size with the body mass index, the semi-parametric models reveal a more complex picture with height having additional effects on wages. We interpret our results as consistent with the existence of a wage premium for physical attractiveness rather than a penalty for unhealthy weight.
    Keywords: Body Mass Index; obesity; wages; partial linear models; ECHP
    JEL: C14 J31 J71
    Date: 2010–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:mcm:sedapp:269&r=ltv

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