nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2013‒01‒19
thirteen papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Robust Estimates of Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Post-Independence Namibia By Sebastian Levine; Benjamin Roberts
  2. Fiscall Adjustments and Income Inequality:A First Assessment By Luca Agnello; Ricardo M. Sousa
  3. Unemployment Insurance, Wage Dynamics and Inequality over the Life Cycle By Bingley, Paul; Cappellari, Lorenzo; Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C.
  4. Who Earns Minimum Wages in Europe? New Evidence Based on Household Surveys By François Rycx; Stephan Kampelmann
  5. Female Labor Supply: Why is the US Falling Behind? By Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn
  6. Poverty Where People Live: What do National Poverty Lines Tell us about Global Poverty? By Ugo Gentilini; Andy Sumner
  7. Revisiting the Minimum Wage-Employment Debate: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater? By David Neumark; J.M. Ian Salas; William Wascher
  8. Shocking Labor Supply: A Reassessment of the Role of World War II on U.S. Women’s Labor Supply By Claudia Goldin; Claudia Olivetti
  9. Do Highly Educated Women Choose Smaller Families? By Hosny Zoabi; Moshe Hazan
  10. Health, Education, and the Post-Retirement Evolution of Household Assets By James M. Poterba; Steven F. Venti; David A. Wise
  11. Jobs and Kids: Female Employment and Fertility in China By Fang, Hai; Eggleston, Karen N.; Rizzo, John A.; Zeckhauser, Richard J.
  12. Transfers to Households with Children and Child Development By Daniela Del Boca; Christopher Flinn; Matthew Wiswall
  13. The Expansion of Non-Contributory Transfers in Uruguay in Recent Years By Verónica Amarante; Andrea Vigorito

  1. By: Sebastian Levine (UNDP); Benjamin Roberts (Human Sciences Research Council)
    Abstract: The authors estimate changes in the distribution of household consumption expenditure in Namibia since Independence in 1990 and the effects on poverty. To produce comparability between two household surveys, they use survey matching techniques and apply the framework of stochastic dominance to test the robustness of the results. The results reveal a significant decrease in the poverty headcount over the period and small but insignificant decreases in the country?s extremely high levels of inequality. Decomposition analysis shows that poverty reduction in Namibia is largely driven by growth in mean incomes rather than redistribution. Even so, there have been important changes in inequality, especially between different social groups, as educational attainment has replaced ethnicity as the main determinant of inequality between groups. (?)
    Keywords: Robust Estimates of Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Post-Independence Namibia
    Date: 2012–12
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipc:wpaper:102&r=ltv
  2. By: Luca Agnello (University of Palermo, Department of Economics, Business and Finance); Ricardo M. Sousa (Universidade do Minho - NIPE)
    Abstract: Using a statistical approach to identify fiscal adjustments, we find that fiscal consolidation appears to shorten the income gap. Fiscal austerity plans that succeed in bringing public debt to a sustainable path seem to be more likely to reduce inequality. Expansionary fiscal adjustments are particularly important to promote changes in the income distribution.
    Keywords: Inequality, fiscal consolidation, Kuznets curve, openness.
    JEL: H10 G18
    Date: 2012
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nip:nipewp:19/2012&r=ltv
  3. By: Bingley, Paul (SFI - Danish National Centre for Social Research); Cappellari, Lorenzo (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C. (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between life cycle wages and individual membership of unemployment insurance schemes in Denmark. We separate permanent from transitory wages and characterise them using membership of unemployment insurance funds. We find that unemployment insurance is associated with lower wage growth heterogeneity over the life cycle and greater wage instability, changing the nature of wage inequality from permanent to transitory. While we are in general unable to formally test for moral hazard against adverse selection into unemployment insurance, robustness checks suggest that moral hazard is the relevant interpretation.
    Keywords: unemployment insurance, wage dynamics, wage inequality, wage instability
    JEL: J31 J65
    Date: 2013–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7128&r=ltv
  4. By: François Rycx; Stephan Kampelmann
    Abstract: This paper aims to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based, and up-to-date assessment of minimum wages in a range of European countries. A first step towards a better understanding of where Europe stands today on this issue requires to grasp the diversity of European minimum wage systems, a key objective of the paper at hand. The second objective is to document international differences in the so-called "bite" of the minimum wage. This leads to questions such as "how do national minimum wages compare to the overall wage distribution?" and "how many people earn minimum wages in each country?" that are assessed for a set of nine countries from Western, Central and Eastern Europe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. This sample was designed to include countries for which recent evidence has been missing prior to this paper. What is more, the study also overcomes the narrow focus of extant overviews that have typically focussed only on full-time employment. Crucially, the study improves on existing work by looking beyond aggregate numbers; it provides a detailed panorama of the population of minimum wage earners in each country under investigation, notably by describing their composition in terms of a range of socio-demographic characteristics.
    Keywords: Minimum wage systems; Europe; Socio-economic consequences
    JEL: J51 J58 J83
    Date: 2013–01–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dul:wpaper:2013/137078&r=ltv
  5. By: Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn
    Abstract: In 1990, the US had the sixth highest female labor participation rate among 22 OECD countries. By 2010, its rank had fallen to 17th. We find that the expansion of “family-friendly” policies including parental leave and part-time work entitlements in other OECD countries explains 28-29% of the decrease in US women’s labor force participation relative to these other countries. However, these policies also appear to encourage part-time work and employment in lower level positions: US women are more likely than women in other countries to have full time jobs and to work as managers or professionals.
    JEL: J16 J22
    Date: 2013–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18702&r=ltv
  6. By: Ugo Gentilini (World Food Programme); Andy Sumner (Institute of Development Studies, Sussex)
    Abstract: Debate about national and international poverty measurement continued to evolve (see for example, Abu-Ismail et al., 2012). The basic question of how many poor people there are in the world generally assumes that poverty is measured according to international poverty lines (IPLs). Yet, an equally relevant question could be how many poor people there are in the world, based on how poverty is defined where those people live. In short, rather than a comparison based on monetary values, the latter question is germane to estimates based on a concept??poverty??as defined by countries? specific circumstances and institutions. (?)
    Keywords: Poverty Where People Live: What do National Poverty Lines Tell us about Global Poverty?
    Date: 2012–12
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipc:wpaper:98&r=ltv
  7. By: David Neumark; J.M. Ian Salas; William Wascher
    Abstract: We revisit the minimum wage-employment debate, which is as old as the Department of Labor. In particular, we assess new studies claiming that the standard panel data approach used in much of the “new minimum wage research” is flawed because it fails to account for spatial heterogeneity. These new studies use research designs intended to control for this heterogeneity and conclude that minimum wages in the United States have not reduced employment. We explore the ability of these research designs to isolate reliable identifying information and test the untested assumptions in this new research about the construction of better control groups. Our evidence points to serious problems with these research designs. We conclude that the evidence still shows that minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others, and that policymakers need to bear this tradeoff in mind when making decisions about increasing the minimum wage.
    JEL: J23 J38
    Date: 2013–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18681&r=ltv
  8. By: Claudia Goldin; Claudia Olivetti
    Abstract: The most prominent feature of the female labor force across the past hundred years is its enormous growth. But many believe that the increase was discontinuous. Our purpose is to identify the short- and long-run impacts of WWII on the labor supply of women who were currently married in 1950 and 1960. We use mobilization rates for various groups of men (by age, race, fatherhood) to see whether there was a wartime impact. We find that an aggregate mobilization rate produces the largest and most robust impacts on both weeks worked and the labor force participation of married white (non-farm) women. The impact, moreover, was experienced primarily by women in the top half of the education distribution. Women who were married but without children during WWII were the group most impacted by the mobilization rate in 1950, although by 1960 WWII still influenced the labor supply decisions of them as well as those with children during WWII. We end the paper with a resolution between the watershed and revisionist views of the role of WWII on female labor supply.
    JEL: J16 J2 N3
    Date: 2013–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18676&r=ltv
  9. By: Hosny Zoabi (Tel Aviv University); Moshe Hazan (Hebrew University)
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that in developed countries income and fertility are negatively correlated. We present new evidence that between 2001 and 2009 the cross-sectional relationship between fertility and women's education in the U.S. is U-shaped. At the same time, average hours worked increase monotonically with women's education. This pattern is true for all women and mothers to newborns regardless of marital status. In this paper, we advance the marketization hypothesis for explaining the positive correlation between fertility and female labor supply along the educational gradient. In our model, raising children and home-making require parents' time, which could be substituted by services bought in the market such as baby-sitting and housekeeping. Highly educated women substitute a significant part of their own time for market services to raise children and run their households, which enables them to have more children and work longer hours.
    Date: 2012
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:red:sed012:276&r=ltv
  10. By: James M. Poterba; Steven F. Venti; David A. Wise
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between education and the evolution of wealth after retirement. Asset growth following retirement depends in part on health capital and financial capital accumulated prior to retirement, which in turn are strongly related to educational attainment. These “initial conditions” for retirement can have a lingering effect on subsequent asset evolution. Our aim is to disentangle the effects of education on post-retirement asset evolution that operate through health and financial capital accumulated prior to retirement from the effects of education that impinge directly on asset evolution after retirement. We consider the indirect effect of education through financial resources—in particular Social Security benefits and defined benefit pension benefits—and through health capital that was accumulated before retirement. We also consider the direct effect of education on asset growth following retirement, emphasizing the correlation between education and the returns households earn on their post-retirement investments. Households with different levels of education invest, on average, in different assets, and they may consequently earn different rates of return. Finally, we consider the additional effects of education that are not captured through these pathways. Our empirical findings suggest a substantial association between education and the evolution of assets. For example, for two person households the growth of assets between 1998 and 2008 is on average much greater for college graduates than for those with less than a high school degree. This difference ranges from about $82,000 in the lowest asset quintile to over $600,000 in the highest.
    JEL: E21 I14 I24
    Date: 2013–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18695&r=ltv
  11. By: Fang, Hai (University of CO, Denver); Eggleston, Karen N. (Walter H Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University); Rizzo, John A. (Stony Brook University, SUNY); Zeckhauser, Richard J. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Data on 2,355 married women from the 2006 China Health and Nutrition Survey are used to study how female employment affects fertility in China. China has deep concerns with both population size and female employment, so the relationship between the two should be better understood. Causality flows in both directions. A conceptual model shows how employment prospects affect fertility. Then a well-validated instrumental variable isolates this effect. Female employment reduces a married woman's preferred number of children by 0.35 on average and her actual number by 0.50. Ramifications for China's one-child policy are discussed.
    JEL: J13 J18 O15
    Date: 2012–11
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp12-054&r=ltv
  12. By: Daniela Del Boca; Christopher Flinn; Matthew Wiswall
    Abstract: In this paper we utilize a model of household investments in the cognitive development of children to explore the impact of various transfer policies on the distribution of child cognitive outcomes in target populations. We develop a cost criterion that can be used to compare the cost effectiveness of unrestricted, restricted, and conditional cash transfer systems, and find that conditional cash transfers are the most cost efficient way to attain any given gain in average child quality in a target population. Of course, this is only true if one uses efficiently designed cash transfer systems, and we are able to explore their design using our modeling framework.
    Keywords: Time Allocation; Child Development, conditional and unconditional cash transfer.
    JEL: J13 D1
    Date: 2012
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cca:wpaper:273&r=ltv
  13. By: Verónica Amarante (ECLAC/CEPAL); Andrea Vigorito (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)
    Abstract: During the first half of the 20th century, Uruguay was able to establish an institutional system of universal social policies in the areas of education, labour and health which involved the coverage of most of the population (Filgueira, 1994). In the context of social protection, a system of contributory cash-based transfers was created which aimed to protect workers in the formal sector?and through them their families?and to provide them with an adequate retirement to replace their income. With regard to non-contributory transfers, in 1919 a social pension scheme for elderly and disabled people was created, targeting those people over 70 years of age considered socially vulnerable. In 1942 the system of contributory Family Allowances (Asignaciones Familiares) came into force, consisting of monthly cash benefits to workers in the formal sector with children. (...)
    Keywords: The Expansion of Non-Contributory Transfers in Uruguay in Recent Years
    Date: 2012–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipc:pbrief:29&r=ltv

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