nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2013‒09‒24
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Economic Growth and equality of opportunity By Peragine, Vito; Palmisano, Flaviana; Brunori, Paolo
  2. Has the attitude of US citizens towards redistribution changed over time? By M. Grazia Pittau; Roberto Zelli
  3. Educational Inequality and the Returns to Skills By Lundberg, Shelly
  4. Multidimensional Targeting and Evaluation: A General Framework with an Application to a Poverty Program in Bangladesh By Robano, Virginia; Smith, Stephen C.
  5. Development policies and income inequality in selected developing regions, 1980-2010 By Giovanni Andrea Cornia; Bruno Martorano

  1. By: Peragine, Vito; Palmisano, Flaviana; Brunori, Paolo
    Abstract: The paper proposes an approach to understand the relationship between inequality and economic growth obtained by shifting the analysis from the space of final achievements to the space of opportunities. To this end, it introduces a formal framework based on the concept of the Opportunity Growth Incidence Curve. This framework can be used to evaluate the income dynamics of specific groups of the population and to infer the role of growth in the evolution of inequality of opportunity over time. The paper shows the relevance of the introduced framework by providing two empirical analyses, one for Italy and the other for Brazil. These analyses show the distributional impact of the recent growth experienced by Brazil and the recent crisis suffered by Italy from both the income inequality and opportunity inequality perspectives.
    Keywords: Achieving Shared Growth,Inequality,Economic Growth,Economic Theory&Research,Poverty Impact Evaluation
    Date: 2013–09–01
  2. By: M. Grazia Pittau (Sapienza Universita' di Roma); Roberto Zelli (Sapienza Universita' di Roma)
    Abstract: Demand for redistribution has been traditionally investigated within a static scenario, giving the perception of a stationary association between individual determinants and preferences. Using repeated cross-sectional survey data from the General Social Survey over the period 1978{2010, we model individual preferences in the U.S. within a chronological perspective. We t a a logistic non-nested multilevel model with three dierent levels of variation: individuals, time and cohort. Despite an overall stable trend in demand for redistribution, we nd that driving factors in shaping redistributive preferences have changed rapidly. Personal income is always a strong predictor, with the poor-rich gap increasing over time. Large changes have characterized the eects of education, ethnic bonds and self-declared party identication. Over time, highly educated people have increased their probability to be in favor of redistribution while the less educated have become less prone. Ethnicity mattered more in the 1970s than in the 2000s. In the 2000s it is party aliation that shapes preferences rather than ethnic bonds: white and black democrats have similar feelings toward redistribution and so do white and black republicans.
    Keywords: Individual preferences, demand for redistribution, multilevel models, time-varying slopes models, weakly informative priors.
    JEL: C3 D31 D6 H23
    Date: 2013–09
  3. By: Lundberg, Shelly (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: Research and policy discussion about the diverging fortunes of children from advantaged and disadvantaged households have focused on the skill disparities between these children – how they might arise and how they might be remediated. Analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health reveals another important mechanism in the determinants of educational attainment – differential returns to skills for children in different circumstances. Though the returns to cognitive ability are generally consistent across family background groups, personality traits have very different effects on educational attainment for young men and women with access to different levels of parental resources. These results are consistent with a model in which the provision of focused effort in school is complementary with parental inputs while openness, associated with imagination and exploration, is a substitute for information provision by educated parents and thus contributes to resilience in low-resource environments. In designing interventions to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children, we need to be cognizant of interactions between a child's skills and their circumstances.
    Keywords: education, inequality, noncognitive skills
    JEL: I24 J24
    Date: 2013–08
  4. By: Robano, Virginia (George Washington University); Smith, Stephen C. (George Washington University)
    Abstract: Many poverty, safety net, training, and other social programs utilize multiple screening criteria to determine eligibility. We apply recent advances in multidimensional measurement analysis to develop a straightforward method for summarizing changes in groups of eligibility (screening) indicators, which have appropriate properties. We show how this impact can differ across participants with differing numbers of initial deprivations. We also examine impacts on other specially designed multidimensional poverty measures (and their components) that address key participant deficits. We apply our methods to a BRAC ultra-poverty program in Bangladesh, and find that our measures of multidimensional poverty have fallen significantly for participants. This improvement is most associated with better food security and with acquisition of basic assets (though this does not mean that the cause of poverty reduction was program activities focused directly on these deficits). In general, we find that the BRAC program had a greater impact on reducing multidimensional poverty for those with a larger initial number of deprivations. We also showed how evaluation evidence can be used to help improve the selection of eligibility characteristics of potential participants.
    Keywords: poverty, multidimensional poverty, poverty alleviation strategies, BRAC, microfinance institutions, ultra-poverty, ultra-poor, CFPR/TUP, Bangladesh, difference-in-difference, impact assessment, program evaluation, counterfactual targeting, assignment errors
    JEL: O15 I32
    Date: 2013–08
  5. By: Giovanni Andrea Cornia (Università degli Studi di Firenze); Bruno Martorano
    Abstract: The paper discusses the income inequality changes which have taken place in a few representative developing regions during the last 30 years. While inequality rose in the majority of the countries of these regions in the 1980s and 1990s, the last decade was characterized by a bifurcation of inequality trends. This divergence offers the possibility to contrast the experience of virtuous regions (Latin America and parts of East and South-East Asia) and non-virtuous regions (the European economies in transition and China) so as to draw useful lessons. Since the global economic conditions affecting inequality in these countries were not too dissimilar and since no major variations in endogenous factors were evident across the regions analysed, the difference in inequality trends between virtuous and non-virtuous regions was most likely due to institutional factors and public policies. An econometric test confirms that the reduction of inequality is possible even under open economy conditions if a given set of appropriate macroeconomic, labour, fiscal and social policies is adopted by governments.
    Keywords: trends in income inequality, factor income distribution, democracy, policy reforms, international economic integration, international crisis, China, South East Asia, Latin America, transition economies of Europe.
    JEL: D31 E60 I38 J08 P51
    Date: 2013

This nep-ltv issue is ©2013 by Maximo Rossi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.