nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2012‒07‒29
nine papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Empirical Approaches to Inequality of Opportunity: Principles, Measures, and Evidence By Xavier Ramos Morilla; Dirk Van de gaer
  2. Redistributive Preferences, Redistribution, and Inequality: Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries By Kuhn, Andreas
  3. Does it matter how happiness is measured? Evidence from a randomized controlled experiment By Raphael Studer
  4. Fair bounds based solidarity By Peris, Josep E.; Jiménez-Gómez, José M.
  5. Delayed Entry into First Marriage: Further Evidence on the Becker-Landes-Michael Hypothesis By Lehrer, Evelyn L.; Chen, Yu
  6. Life Satisfaction and Air Quality in Europe By Ferreira, Susana; Akay, Alpaslan; Brereton, Finbarr; Cuñado, Juncal; Martinsson, Peter; Moro, Mirko
  7. Heterogeneity in the relationship between happiness and age: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel By Gregori Baetschmann
  8. Well-being and psychological consequences of temporary contracts: the case of younger Italian employees By Vincenzo Carrieri; Cinzia Di Novi; Rowena Jacobs; Silvana Robone
  9. Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results By Bargain, Olivier; Orsini, Kristian; Peichl, Andreas

  1. By: Xavier Ramos Morilla (Departament d'Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona); Dirk Van de gaer (SHERPPA, Vakgroep Sociale Economie, F.E.B., Ghent University, Tweekerkenstraat 2, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.)
    Abstract: We put together the different conceptual issues involved in measuring inequality of opportunity, discuss how these concepts have been translated into computable measures, and point out the problems and choices researchers face when implementing these measures. Our analysis identifies and suggests several new possibilities to measure inequality of opportunity. The approaches are illustrated with a selective survey of the empirical literature on income inequality of opportunity.
    Keywords: equality of opportunity, measurement, compensation, responsibility, effort, circumstances.
    JEL: D3 D63
    Date: 2012–07
  2. By: Kuhn, Andreas (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: This paper describes individuals’ inequality perceptions, distributional norms, and redistributive preferences in a panel of OECD countries, primarily focusing on the association between these subjective measures and the effective level of inequality and redistribution. Not surprisingly, the effective level of redistribution (after tax-and-transfer inequality) is positively (negatively) correlated with redistributive preferences. There is also evidence showing that the subjective and objective dimension of inequality and redistribution are, at least partially, linked with individuals’ political preferences and their voting behavior. The association between objective and subjective measures of inequality and redistribution vanishes, however, once more fundamental country characteristics are taken into account. This suggests that these characteristics explain both redistributive preferences as well as the effective level of redistribution and after tax-and-transfer inequality.
    Keywords: inequality perceptions, distributional norms, redistributive preferences, inequality, redistribution, political preferences
    JEL: D31 D63 J31
    Date: 2012–07
  3. By: Raphael Studer
    Abstract: A continuous and a discrete rating scale were implemented for a single item happiness question in a representative survey. A randomized controlled experiment enables unique analyses on data quality and distributions, which suggest superiority of the continuous scale. Results raise doubts about earlier inferences drawn on correlates of happiness. So far only self-assessed discrete happiness data have been used for research into the determinants of happiness. However, distribution distortions were found for the numerically labeled discrete scale, especially for women. Through this discretization bias, the widely reported gender happiness inequality puzzle can be explained.
    Keywords: Happiness, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, likert scale, visual analogue scale, rating scales, gender inequalities, gender gap
    JEL: C81 I31
    Date: 2011–11
  4. By: Peris, Josep E. (Universidad de Alicante, Departamento de Métodos Cuantitativos y Teoría Económica); Jiménez-Gómez, José M. (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Dep. d'Economia and CREIP)
    Abstract: How should scholarships be distributed among the (public) higher education students? We raise this situation as a redistribution problem. Following the approach developed in Fleurbaey (1994) and Bossert (1995), redistribution should be based on the notion of solidarity and it reallocates resources taking into account only agents' relevant characteristics. We also follow Luttens (2010a), who considers that compensation of relevant characteristics must be based on a lower bound on what every individual deserves. In doing so, we use the so called fair bound (Moulin (2002)) to define an egalitarian redistribution mechanism and characterize it in terms of non-negativity, priority in lower bound and solidarity. Finally, we apply our approach to the scholarships redistribution problem.
    Keywords: Redistribution mechanism; Lower bounds; Scholarship; Solidarity
    JEL: C71 D63 D71
    Date: 2012–07–20
  5. By: Lehrer, Evelyn L. (University of Illinois at Chicago); Chen, Yu (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    Abstract: In their pioneering research, Becker, Landes and Michael (1977) found that beyond age 30 there is a positive relationship between women's age at first marriage and marital instability. They interpreted this finding as a "poor-match" effect emerging as the biological clock begins to tick. In analyses of the 2006-2010 National Surveys of Family Growth (NSFG), we find evidence of the existence of this effect: women who delay marriage disproportionately make unconventional matches, which are generally associated with high marital instability (N = 3,184). We also find, however, that their unions are very solid. We develop and test competing hypotheses that can account for these patterns. In addition, noting that women's delayed transition to first marriage has been accompanied by higher proportions of women entering marriage with 16 years of schooling or more, we examine changes across the last three NSFG cycles in the education - marital instability association.
    Keywords: divorce, marital stability, marital instability, marriage, marriage dissolution
    JEL: J12
    Date: 2012–07
  6. By: Ferreira, Susana (University of Georgia); Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Brereton, Finbarr (University College Dublin); Cuñado, Juncal (University of Navarra); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg); Moro, Mirko (University of Stirling)
    Abstract: Concerns for environmental quality and its impact on people's welfare are fundamental arguments for the adoption of environmental legislation in most countries. In this paper, we analyse the relationship between air quality and subjective well-being in Europe. We use a unique dataset that merges three waves of the European Social Survey with a new dataset on environmental quality including SO2 concentrations and climate in Europe at the regional level. We find a robust negative impact of SO2 concentrations on self-reported life satisfaction.
    Keywords: air quality, SO2 concentrations, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, Europe, European Social Survey, GIS
    JEL: I31 Q51 Q53 Q54
    Date: 2012–07
  7. By: Gregori Baetschmann
    Abstract: This paper studies the evolution of life satisfaction over the life course in Germany. It clarifies the causal interpretation of the econometric model by discussing the choice of control variables and the underidentification between age, cohort and time effects. The empirical part analyzes the distribution of life satisfaction over the life course at the aggregated, subgroup and individual level. To the findings: On average, life satisfaction is mildly decreasing up to age fifty-five followed by a hump shape with a maximum at seventy. The analysis at the lower levels suggests that people differ in their life satisfaction trends, whereas the hump shape after age fifty-five is robust. No important differences between men and women are found. In contrast, education groups differ in their trends: highly educated people become happier over the life cycle, where life satisfaction decreases for less educated people.
    Keywords: Aging, life satisfaction, well-being, happiness methodology
    JEL: C23 I31 D91
    Date: 2011–11
  8. By: Vincenzo Carrieri (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Statistiche, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Italy); Cinzia Di Novi (Dipartimento di EconomiaUniversità Ca' Foscari, Venezia, Italy); Rowena Jacobs (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK); Silvana Robone (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK and Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Università di Bologna, Italy)
    Abstract: Working conditions in Western countries have changed dramatically in the last twenty years, witnessing the emergence of new forms of employment contracts. The number of "standard" fulltime permanent jobs has decreased, while non-standard work arrangements such as temporary, contingent or part-time contracts have become much more common. This paper analyses the impact of temporary contracts and job insecurity on well-being among younger Italian employees. We use the "Health Conditions and Use of the Health Service Survey" carried out by the Italian National Institute of Statistics in conjunction with the Bank of Italy's Survey on Households Income and Wealth (SHIW). We consider four dimensions of individual well-being: physical health, mental health, self-assessed health and happiness. To account for individual heterogeneity we match each temporary worker with a permanent worker using propensity score matching. Well-being of matched individuals is compared to estimates of the average effect of working with a temporary as opposed to a permanent contract. Our analysis reveals a negative relationship between psychological well-being, happiness and having a temporary job and is particularly marked for males.
    Keywords: health, happiness, psychological well-being, young employees, fixed-term contracts
    JEL: I12 J08
    Date: 2012–07
  9. By: Bargain, Olivier (University of Aix-Marseille II); Orsini, Kristian (K.U.Leuven); Peichl, Andreas (IZA)
    Abstract: We suggest the first large-scale international comparison of labor supply elasticities for 17 European countries and the US, separately by gender and marital status. Measurement differences are netted out by using a harmonized empirical approach and comparable data sources. We find that own-wage elasticities are relatively small and much more uniform across countries than previously thought. Differences exist nonetheless and are found not to arise from different tax-benefit systems or demographic compositions across countries. Thus, we cannot reject that countries have genuinely different preferences. Three other results, important for welfare analysis, are consistent over all countries: the extensive (participation) margin dominates the intensive (hours) margin; for singles, this leads to larger labor supply responses in low-income groups; income elasticities are extremely small everywhere. Finally, the results for cross-wage elasticities in couples are opposed between regions, consistent with complementarity in spouses' leisure in the US versus substitution in spouses' household production in Europe.
    Keywords: household labor supply, elasticity, taxation, Europe, US
    JEL: C25 C52 H31 J22
    Date: 2012–07

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