nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2011‒05‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough By Alesina, Alberto; Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  2. The Effects of Cooperation: A Structural Model of Siblings' Caregiving Interactions By Knoef, Marike; Kooreman, Peter
  3. A Flexicurity Labour Market in the Great Recession: The Case of Denmark By Andersen, Torben
  4. Money and Happiness: Evidence from the Industry Wage Structure By Pischke, Jörn-Steffen
  5. Health Effects on Children's Willingness to Compete By Bartling, Björn; Fehr, Ernst; Schunk, Daniel
  6. Religiosity and Migration: Travel into One's Self versus Travel across Cultures By Aleksynska, Mariya; Chiswick, Barry R.
  7. Gender Patterns in Vietnam's Child Mortality By Pham, Thong Le; Kooreman, Peter; Koning, Ruud H.; Wiersma, Doede
  8. Gender Earnings Gaps in the World By Nopo, Hugo; Daza, Nancy; Ramos, Johanna
  9. The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective By Meghir, Costas; Palme, Mårten; Schnabel, Marieke
  10. The relationship between happiness and health: evidence from Italy By Sabatini, Fabio
  11. Schooling is Associated Not Only with Long-Run Wages, But Also with Wage Risks and Disability Risks: The Pakistani Experience By Asma Hyder; Jere R. Behrman

  1. By: Alesina, Alberto (Harvard University); Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles); Nunn, Nathan (Harvard University)
    Abstract: This paper seeks to better understand the historical origins of current differences in norms and beliefs about the appropriate role of women in society. We test the hypothesis that traditional agricultural practices influenced the historical gender division of labor and the evolution and persistence of gender norms. We find that, consistent with existing hypotheses, the descendants of societies that traditionally practiced plough agriculture, today have lower rates of female participation in the workplace, in politics, and in entrepreneurial activities, as well as a greater prevalence of attitudes favoring gender inequality. We identify the causal impact of traditional plough use by exploiting variation in the historical geo-climatic suitability of the environment for growing crops that differentially benefited from the adoption of the plough. Our IV estimates, based on this variation, support the findings from OLS. To isolate the importance of cultural transmission as a mechanism, we examine female labor force participation of second-generation immigrants living within the US.
    Keywords: culture, beliefs, values, gender roles
    JEL: J16 N30
    Date: 2011–05
  2. By: Knoef, Marike (Tilburg University); Kooreman, Peter (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the decision making process of adult children to provide informal care to their parents. First, we develop a structural model to explain the amount of time that only children (without siblings) spend on providing care, taking into account opportunity costs in terms of time and money. The model is estimated using two datasets from 12 European countries and reveals the preferences of adult children for consumption, leisure and informal care. Although we assume that differences in behavior between children with and without siblings are due to dissimilar constraints only, by using only children we do not have to make assumptions about interactions between siblings in the structural model. In the presence of siblings, their choices also play a role in the caregiving decision. A central question is whether siblings make cooperative or noncooperative decisions. The second part of this paper aims to establish whether interactions between siblings are cooperative or noncooperative, by comparing predicted cooperative and noncooperative outcomes with observed outcomes. We use the structural parameter estimates from the first part of the paper and model the noncooperative outcomes using a Quantal Response Equilibrium. The results suggest that the nature of the interactions between siblings has a strong effect on the division of informal care between siblings. For almost three quarters of the families the noncooperative model has a better fit than the cooperative model. When the noncooperative families can be pushed into their cooperative outcome, their parents would on average receive 50% more informal care per week from their children, but this would reduce full-time labor supply by 5.7%-points and increase part-time labor supply by 6.7%.
    Keywords: time allocation, (non)cooperation, structural modelling
    JEL: J22
    Date: 2011–05
  3. By: Andersen, Torben (University of Aarhus)
    Abstract: Flexicurity labour markets are characterised by flexible hiring/firing rules, generous social safety net, and active labour market policies. How can such labour markets cope with the consequences of the Great Recession? Larger labour shedding is to be expected and this strains the social safety net and increases the demands on active labour market policies. This paper takes a closer look at the labour market consequences of the crisis for Denmark. It is found that employment adjustment is not particularly large in international comparison, although it has more weight on the extensive (number of employees) than the intensive (hours) margin. The level of job creation remains high, although job creation is pro-cyclical and job-separation counter-cyclical. As a consequence most unemployment spells remain short. This is critical since a persistent increase in unemployment will affect the financial balance of the model severely. Comparative evidence does not, however, indicate that flexicurity markets are more prone to persistence. Crucial for this is the design of the social safety net and in particular the active labour market policy. However, the larger inflow into activation raises questions concerning the possibility of maintaining the efficiency of the system.
    Keywords: flexicurity, employment protection, unemployment insurance, active labour market policy
    JEL: J01
    Date: 2011–05
  4. By: Pischke, Jörn-Steffen (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: There is a well-established positive correlation between life-satisfaction measures and income in individual level cross-sectional data. This paper attempts to provide some evidence on whether this correlation reflects causality running from money to happiness. I use industry wage differentials as instruments for income. This is based on the idea that at least part of these differentials are due to rents, and part of the pattern of industry affiliations of individuals is random. To probe the validity of these assumptions, I compare estimates for life satisfaction with those for job satisfaction, present fixed effects estimates, and present estimates for married women using their husbands' industry as the instrument. All these specifications paint a fairly uniform picture across three different data sets. IV estimates are similar to the OLS estimates suggesting that most of the association of income and well-being is causal.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, well-being
    JEL: D1 J31
    Date: 2011–05
  5. By: Bartling, Björn (University of Zurich); Fehr, Ernst (University of Zurich); Schunk, Daniel (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: The formation of human capital is important for a society’s welfare and economic success. Recent literature shows that child health can provide an important explanation for disparities in children's human capital development across different socio-economic groups. While this literature focuses on cognitive skills as determinants of human capital, it neglects non-cognitive skills. We analyze data from economic experiments with preschoolers and their mothers to investigate whether child health can explain developmental gaps in children's non-cognitive skills. Our measure for children's non-cognitive skills is their willingness to compete with others. Our findings suggest that health problems are negatively related to children's willingness to compete and that the effect of health on competitiveness differs with socio-economic background. Health has a strongly negative effect in our sub-sample with low socioeconomic background, whereas there is no effect in our sub-sample with high socio-economic background.
    Keywords: willingness to compete, non-cognitive skills, human capital, health, household survey studies
    JEL: C90 I10 J24
    Date: 2011–05
  6. By: Aleksynska, Mariya (CEPII, Paris); Chiswick, Barry R. (George Washington University)
    Abstract: This paper examines differences in religious behaviors of the native born and immigrants in Europe, measured as self-reported religiosity, frequency of praying, and frequency of church attendance. Using the European Social Survey, we first show that, on average, religiosity of immigrants is higher than that of the native born, even among those without a religious affiliation. We test hypotheses that can explain these observations. Differences in individual characteristics, such as age, education, income, marital status, and notably denominations, partly account for the overall differences. Religiosity of immigrants declines with duration in the destination. Both origin and destination country characteristics, such as economic development, religious pluralism, religious freedom, and societal attitudes towards religion are important predictors of religiosity. These external factors are able to fully explain the difference in church attendance between immigrants and the native born.
    Keywords: economics of religion, religiosity, immigrants, secularization, culture, integration
    JEL: F22 J61 N3 Z12
    Date: 2011–05
  7. By: Pham, Thong Le (Cantho University); Kooreman, Peter (Tilburg University); Koning, Ruud H. (University of Groningen); Wiersma, Doede (University of Groningen)
    Abstract: We analyze child mortality in Vietnam focusing on gender aspects. Contrary to several other countries in the region, mortality rates for boys are substantially larger than for girls. A large rural-urban mortality difference exists, but much more so for boys than for girls. A higher education level of the mother reduces mortality risk, but the effect is stronger for girls than for boys.
    Keywords: child mortality, gender differences, hazard rate, frailty model
    JEL: C13 C31 C35 C41 I12
    Date: 2011–05
  8. By: Nopo, Hugo (Inter-American Development Bank); Daza, Nancy (National Planning Department, Colombia); Ramos, Johanna (National Planning Department, Colombia)
    Abstract: This paper documents gender disparities in labor earnings for sixty-four countries around the world. Disparities are partially attributed to gender differences in observable socio-demographic and job characteristics. These characteristics are used to match males and females such that gender earnings disparities are computed only among individuals with the same characteristics, as in Ñopo (2008). After comparing males and females with the same characteristics we found that the earnings gap falls within a range between 8% and 48% of average females' earnings, being more pronounced in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The unexplained earnings gaps are more pronounced among part-time workers and those with low education.
    Keywords: gender, wage gaps, matching
    JEL: C14 D31 J16 O57
    Date: 2011–05
  9. By: Meghir, Costas (Yale University and University College London); Palme, Mårten (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Schnabel, Marieke (University College London)
    Abstract: The Swedish comprehensive school reform implied an extension of the number of years of compulsory school from 7 or 8 to 9 for the entire nation and was implemented as a social experiment by municipality between 1949 and 1962. A previous study (Meghir and Palme, 2005) has shown that this reform significantly increased the number of years of schooling as well as labor earnings of the children who went through the post reform school system, in particular for individuals originating from homes with low educated fathers. This study estimates the impact of the reform on criminal behavior: both within the generation directly affected by the reform as well as their children. We use census data on all born in Sweden between 1945 and 1955 and all their children merged with individual register data on all convictions between 1981 and 2008. We find that the educational reform decreased crime substantially for men who were directly affected by it. We also find that the crime rate declined for the sons of those fathers directly affected by the new educational system; we interpret this results as implying that improved education increased resource and parenting quality, leading to improved child outcomes.
    Keywords: Comprehensive school; economics of crime; returns to education; returns to human capital
    JEL: I20 I21 I28 K42 N34
    Date: 2011–05–19
  10. By: Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: We test the relationship between happiness and self-rated health in Italy. The analysis relies on a unique dataset collected through the administration of a questionnaire to a representative sample (n = 817) of the population of the Italian Province of Trento in March 2011. Based on probit regressions, instrumental variables estimates and structural equations modelling, we find that happiness is strongly correlated with perceived good health, after controlling for a number of relevant socio-economic phenomena. Health inequalities based on income, work status and education are relatively contained in respect to the rest of Italy. As expected, this scales down the role of social capital.
    Keywords: cooperative enterprises; happiness; health; instrumental variables; Italy; life satisfaction; non-profit; social capital; structural equations modelling
    JEL: I12 I31 I18 L31 C35 Z13
    Date: 2011–05–17
  11. By: Asma Hyder (Business School, National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad); Jere R. Behrman (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Many studies document significantly positive associations between schooling attainment and wages in developing countries. But when individuals enter occupations subsequent to completing their schooling, they not only face an expected work-life path of wages, but a number of other occupational characteristics, including wage risks and disability risks, for which there may be compensating wage differentials. This study examines the relations between schooling on one hand and mean wages and these two types of risks on the other hand, based on 77,685 individuals from the wage-earning population as recorded in six Labor Force Surveys of Pakistan. The results suggest that schooling is positively associated with mean total wages and wage rates, but has different associations with these two types of risks: Disability risks decline as schooling increases but wage risks, and even more, wage rate risks increase as schooling increases. The schooling-wage risks relation, but not the schooling-disability risks relation,is consistent with there being compensating differentials.
    Keywords: Wages, Risks, Labor Markets, Job Disabilities, Compensating Differentials,Developing Country, Schooling
    JEL: J31 J28 O53
    Date: 2011–05–09

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