nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2012‒01‒18
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. "A Comparison of Inequality and Living Standards in Canada and the United States Using an Expanded Measure of Economic Well-Being" By Edward N. Wolff; Ajit Zacharias; Thomas Masterson; Selcuk Eren; Andrew Sharpe; Elspeth Hazell
  2. What Has Really Happened to Poverty in the Philippines? New Measures, Evidence, and Policy Implications By Arsenio M. Balisacan
  3. Education and Health: Insights from International Comparisons By David M. Cutler; Adriana Lleras-Muney
  4. A cross-country experimental comparison of preferences for redistribution By Francesco Farina; Gianluca Grimalda
  5. Top Incomes in Chile 1957-2007:Evolution and Mobility By Claudia Sanhueza; Ricardo Mayer
  6. Self-discrimination: A field experiment on obesity. By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Antonios Proestakis
  7. Perception of HIV risk and the quantity and quality of children: The case of rural Malawi By Rubén Castro; Jere Behrman; Hans-Peter Kohler

  1. By: Edward N. Wolff; Ajit Zacharias; Thomas Masterson; Selcuk Eren; Andrew Sharpe; Elspeth Hazell
    Abstract: We use the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-being (LIMEW), the most comprehensive income measure available to date, to compare economic well-being in Canada and the United States in the first decade of the 21st century. This study represents the first international comparison based on LIMEW, which differs from the standard measure of gross money income (MI) in that it includes noncash government transfers, public consumption, income from wealth, and household production, and nets out all personal taxes. We find that, relative to the United States, median equivalent LIMEW was 11 percent lower in Canada in 2000. By 2005, this gap had narrowed to 7 percent, while the difference in median equivalent MI was only 3 percent. Inequality was notably lower in Canada, with a Gini coefficient of 0.285 for equivalent LIMEW in 2005, compared to a US coefficient of 0.376-a gap that primarily reflects the greater importance of income from wealth in the States. However, the difference in Gini coefficients declined between 2000 and 2005. We also find that the elderly were better off relative to the nonelderly in the United States, but that high school graduates did better relative to college graduates in Canada.
    Keywords: Well-Being; Living Standards; Inequality; Income; International Comparisons
    JEL: D31 D63 P17
    Date: 2012–01
  2. By: Arsenio M. Balisacan (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)
    Abstract: That poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon is no longer debatable. What remains a contentious issue is whether the various dimensions of individual deprivation should be aggregated--and how these are to be aggregated--into a summary measure of poverty.This study employs the Alkire-Foster aggregation methodology, which preserves the "dashboard" of dimensions of poverty, to systematically assess the magnitude, intensity, and sources of multidimensional poverty over the past two decades and across subpopulation groups in the Philippines. It finds that what is generally known about the country’s performance in poverty reduction in recent years, as seen in income measures of poverty, is quite different from what the lens of multidimensional poverty measures reveal. While income-based poverty remained largely unaffected by economic growth during the past decade, multidimensional poverty did actually decline. This finding is robust to sources of nationally-representative household survey data and to assumptions about the poverty cutoff. From a policy perspective,this result reinforces the view that nothing less than economic growth, even in the short term, is required to reduce poverty (broadly interpreted to include individual deprivations beyond income). Moreover, the diversity of both deprivation intensity and magnitude of poverty across geographic areas and sectors of the Philippine society is enormous, suggesting that, beyond growth, much needs to be done to make development more inclusive.
    Date: 2011–12
  3. By: David M. Cutler; Adriana Lleras-Muney
    Abstract: In this review we synthesize what is known about the relationship between education and health. A large number of studies from both rich and poor countries show that education is associated with better health. While previous work has thought of the effect of education separately for rich and poor countries, we argue that there are insights to be gained by integrating the two. For example, education is associated with lower malnutrition in most countries, but in richer countries the educated have lower BMIs whereas in poor countries the educated have higher BMIs. This suggests that the behaviors associated with better health differ depending on the level of development. We illustrate this approach by comparing the effects of education on various health and health behaviors around the world, to generate hypotheses about why education is so often (but not always) predictive of health. Finally, we review the empirical evidence on the relationship between education and health, paying particular attention to causal evidence and evidence on mechanisms linking education to better health.
    JEL: I1 I12 I15
    Date: 2012–01
  4. By: Francesco Farina; Gianluca Grimalda
    Abstract: We examine experimentally individual preferences for redistributions in the US, Italy, and Norway. We decompose demand for redistribution due to luck vis-à-vis individual merit, and study how they are affected by individual and social characteristics. Experimental subjects made four different decisions on how much earning redistribution they wanted to implement in their group starting from a given initial distribution of earnings. The first decision measured preferences for inequality under a condition of impersonality. The second and third decisions were made behind a “veil of ignorance”, whereas the fourth decision was taken knowing one’s position in the earnings scale. Ambiguity and risk aversions were measured in an independent set of decisions. Between-country differences are sizable. Norwegian subjects were generally the most redistributive of the three, and the US subjects the least redistributive. Italian subjects seemed more willing to accept inequality differences due to individual merit than others. Conversely, Norwegian subjects demanded high levels of redistribution regardless of how inequality had been generated. Experimental redistribution is significantly higher in Norway than Italy, in spite of the two samples holding comparable views over social mobility. This calls for a re-examination of existing theories that see beliefs on mobility as the main explanation of demand for redistribution.
    Keywords: Inequality, redistribution, individual merit, cross-country experiments.
    JEL: C91 D31 D63 P52
    Date: 2011–02
  5. By: Claudia Sanhueza (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad Diego Portales); Ricardo Mayer (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad Diego Portales)
    Date: 2010–08
  6. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Universidad de Granada, Spain); Antonios Proestakis (Universidad de Granada, Spain)
    Abstract: While it is well-established in the literature that obese people are discriminated against in the working environment, little is known about their own actual behavior. Our experimental setting investigates whether these potentially discriminated people respond in a different way when faced with the opportunity of earning a positive amount of money. Significant lower money requests by people who are self-reported as obese confirm our self-discrimination hypothesis, offering an additional explanation for the wage gap; Thus, it seems that these obese people earn less not only because of discrimination against them but also because they themselves are less demanding. Interestingly, results are more robust for females, especially for those who "feel", but they are not actually, obese.
    Keywords: Discrimination, obesity, field experiment, gender, self-perception
    JEL: C93 J16
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Rubén Castro (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Universidad Diego Portales); Jere Behrman (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); Hans-Peter Kohler (Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania)
    Date: 2011–05

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