nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2011‒06‒04
four papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Are There Increasing Returns to Scale in Marriage Markets? By Maristella Botticini; Aloysius Siow
  2. 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
  3. On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough By Alberto F. Alesina; Paola Giuliano; Nathan Nunn
  4. Childhood Health and Differences in Late-Life Health Outcomes Between England and the United States By James Banks; Zoe Oldfield; James P. Smith

  1. By: Maristella Botticini; Aloysius Siow
    Abstract: The goal of an individual searching for a marriage partner is typically to form a long-term relationship. Marital search is a complicated and costly activity, where opportunities typically arrive over time at uncertain intervals, each party has to evaluate each other's characteristics, and expectations play an important role. Given these features of marital search, a seminal paper by Mortensen (1988) has shown that the matching framework can be suited for the analysis of marriage markets and also raised the possibility of a thick market externality in these markets. We contribute to this literature by empirically investigating whether marriage markets are characterized by increasing, constant, or decreasing returns to scale. We focus on three societies—late medieval and early Renaissance Tuscany, China in the 1980s, and the United States in 2000—which are different in terms of population size, economic structure, sex ratios, marriage transfers, and the social norms governing marriage markets. Our main finding is that in all three societies, there is no evidence of increasing returns to scale in marriage markets, whereas the hypothesis of constant returns to scale cannot be rejected. The remarkably similar and precise estimates suggest that the number of eligibles (and potential contacts) in a marriage market is less important than economic factors, such as wealth levels and income dispersion, in affecting the marriage rate across different societies. The key message is that where individuals live, in large cities or small towns, have a minimal effect on their marriage rates.
    Date: 2011
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:igi:igierp:395&r=ltv
  2. 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
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pen:papers:11-013&r=ltv
  3. By: Alberto F. Alesina; Paola Giuliano; Nathan Nunn
    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.
    JEL: J16 N30
    Date: 2011–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17098&r=ltv
  4. By: James Banks; Zoe Oldfield; James P. Smith
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the link between retrospectively reported measures of childhood health and the prevalence of various major and minor diseases at older ages. Our analysis is based on comparable retrospective questionnaires placed in the Health and Retirement Study and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing – nationally representative surveys of the age 50 plus population in America and England respectively. We show that the origins of poorer adult health among older Americans compared to the English trace right back into the childhood years – the American middle and old-age population report higher rates of specific childhood health conditions than their English counterparts. The transmission into poor health in mid life and older ages of these higher rates of childhood illnesses also appears to be higher in America compared to England. Both factors contribute to higher rates of adult illness in the United States compared to England although even in combination they do not explain the full extent of the country difference in late-life health outcomes.
    JEL: I10
    Date: 2011–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17096&r=ltv

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