nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2014‒08‒09
ten papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration By Proto, Eugenio; Oswald, Andrew J.
  2. The dark side of Chinese growth: Explaining decreasing well-being in times of economic boom. By Bartolini, Stefano; Sarracino, Francesco
  3. Self discrimination: A field experiment on obesity By Antonios Proestakisy; Pablo Branas-Garza; Praveen Kujal
  4. Family Structure and the Education Gender Gap: Evidence from Italian Provinces By Graziella Bertocchi; Monica Bozzano
  5. Shelter from the Storm: Upgrading Housing Infrastructure in Latin American Slums By Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler; Ryan Cooper; Sebastian Martinez; Adam Ross; Raimundo Undurraga
  6. Transferability of Human Capital and Immigrant Assimilation: An Analysis for Germany By Leilanie Basilio. Thomas K. Bauer; Anica Kramer
  7. Transfers to Households with Children and Child Development By Daniela Del Boca; Christopher Flinn; Matthew Wiswall
  8. An Investigation into Happiness, Dynamics and Adaptation By Piper, Alan T.
  9. Early child care and child outcomes: the role of grandparents. Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study By Daniela Del Boca; Daniela Piazzalunga; Chiara Daniela Pronzato
  10. Aggregate Demand, Idle Time, and Unemployment By Pascal Michaillat; Emmanuel Saez

  1. By: Proto, Eugenio (The University of Warwick); Oswald, Andrew J. (The University of Warwick)
    Abstract: This paper examines a famous puzzle in social science. Why do some nations report such high happiness? Denmark, for instance, regularly tops the league table of rich nations’ well-being; Great Britain and the US enter further down; France and Italy do relatively poorly. Yet the explanation for this ranking one that holds even after adjustment for GDP and socio-economic and cultural variables remains unknown. We explore a new avenue. Using data on 131 countries, we cautiously document a range of evidence consistent with the hypothesis that certain nations may have a genetic advantage in well-being.
    Keywords: Happiness
    Date: 2014
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cge:wacage:196&r=ltv
  2. By: Bartolini, Stefano; Sarracino, Francesco
    Abstract: The formidable economic growth of China in the past few decades led to outstanding improvements in virtually all objective indicators of standards of life. However, these objective records are in striking contrast with subjective ones. Between 1990 and 2007, Chinese average subjective well-being substantially declined. Using data from the World Values Survey, this paper identifies the predictors of the trend of life satisfaction in China between 1990 and 2007. Our findings suggest that subjective data capture something that objective data miss and that can explain the decrease in well-being: the increase in the importance of social comparisons and the decline of social capital. Moreover, economic growth resulted in higher well-being inequality: those in the lowest three income deciles and the middle-class experienced a significant reduction in well-being, whereas the latter increased among richer people. Differences in the erosion of social capital and in the impact of social comparisons seem to be the key to well-being differences among classes.
    Keywords: China; Easterlin paradox; GDP; economic growth; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; social capital; Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition; WVS
    JEL: I31 O12 O15
    Date: 2014–08–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:57765&r=ltv
  3. By: Antonios Proestakisy (Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Joint Research Centre, European Commission); Pablo Branas-Garza (Middlesex University Business School, Middlesex University London); Praveen Kujal (Middlesex University London)
    Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that physical characteristics such as obesity can result in a salary gap in the work place. It is, however, not clear how much of this (gap) is due to factors emanating from the demand or supply side of the market. In this paper we use a field experiment to study whether a part of this wage gap can be attributed to personality traits of individuals on the supply side. Monitors randomly select individuals to respond to a questionnaire. Individuals can make money requests for completing the questionnaire. In the questionnaire they also self-report several personality chracteristics. We nd that the more obese individuals perceive themselves to be, lesser is the money they request. The negative association between money requests and obesity is mostly driven by female participants. The eect of (self-perceived) non-obese individuals is asymmetric across gender. Self perceived "normal" females, perceived thin by the monitors, request more, meanwhile, males in this category request less relative to those that do not overstate their obesity levels. Our results suggest that lower salary request may anchor obese individuals to lower thresholds and may partly explain the wage gap.
    Keywords: Self-reported obesity, eld experiments, willingness to accept, gender bias
    Date: 2014
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:chu:wpaper:14-13&r=ltv
  4. By: Graziella Bertocchi; Monica Bozzano
    Abstract: We investigate the determinants of the education gender gap in Italy in historical perspective with a focus on the influence of family structure. We capture the latter with two indicators: residential habits (nuclear vs. complex families) and inheritance rules (partition vs. primogeniture). After controlling for economic, institutional, religious, and cultural factors, we find that over the 1861- 1901 period family structure is a driver of the education gender gap, with a higher female to male enrollment rate ratio in upper primary schools being associated with nuclear residential habits and equal partition of inheritance. We also find that only the effect of inheritance rules persists over the 1971-2001 period.
    Keywords: Child Development; Time Allocation; Income Transfers; Conditional Cash Transfers
    Date: 2014
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cca:wchild:26&r=ltv
  5. By: Sebastian Galiani (University of Maryland); Paul Gertler (UC Berkeley); Ryan Cooper (J-PAL); Sebastian Martinez (Inter-American Development Bank); Adam Ross (Bill & Melinda Gates); Raimundo Undurraga (New York University)
    Abstract: This paper provides empirical evidence on the causal effects that upgrading slum dwellings has on the living conditions of the extremely poor. In particular, we study the impact of providing better houses in situ to slum dwellers in El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay. We experimentally evaluate the impact of a housing project run by the NGO TECHO which provides basic pre-fabricated houses to members of extremely poor population groups in Latin America. The main objective of the program is to improve household well-being. Our findings show that better houses have a positive effect on overall housing conditions and general well-being: treated households are happier with their quality of life. In two countries, we also document improvements in children’s health; in El Salvador, slum dwellers also feel that they are safer. We do not find this result, however, in the other two experimental samples. There are no other noticeable robust effects on the possession of durable goods or in terms of labor outcomes. Our results are robust in terms of both internal and external validity because they are derived from similar experiments in three different Latin American countries.
    JEL: I12 I31 J13 O15 O18
    Date: 2014–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dls:wpaper:0165&r=ltv
  6. By: Leilanie Basilio. Thomas K. Bauer; Anica Kramer
    Abstract: This paper investigates the transferability of human capital across countries and the contribution of imperfect human capital portability to the explanation of the immigrant-native wage gap. Using data for West Germany, our results reveal that, overall, education and in particular labor market experience accumulated in the home countries of the immigrants receive signifiantly lower returns than human capital obtained in Germany. We further find evidence for heterogeneity in the returns to human capital of immigrants across countries. Finally, imperfect human capital transferability appears to be a major factor in explaining the wage differential between natives and immigrants.
    Keywords: Human Capital, Rate of Return, Immigration, Assimilation
    JEL: J61 J31 J24
    Date: 2014
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp671&r=ltv
  7. By: Daniela Del Boca; Christopher Flinn; Matthew Wiswall
    Abstract: In this paper we utilize a model of household investments in the development of children to explore the impact of various transfer policies on the distribution of child outcomes. 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 an optimally chosen conditional cash transfer program is the most cost efficient way to attain any given gain in average child quality. We explore several design elements for the conditional cash transfer system and discuss the role of production function uncertainty and measurement error.
    Keywords: Child Development; Time Allocation; Income Transfers; Conditional Cash Transfers
    JEL: J13 D1
    Date: 2014
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cca:wchild:25&r=ltv
  8. By: Piper, Alan T.
    Abstract: This investigation discusses and employs dynamic panel analysis to provide new insights into the concept of happiness, and particularly its dynamics. Arguments are advanced for its use both in terms of the advantages such analysis offers, and also because it takes into account dynamics omitted by more standard panel data estimation methods like fixed effects. Using the British Household Panel Survey, it is demonstrated that happiness is largely (but not wholly) contemporaneous. This helps to provide explanations for previous findings, inform the adaptation discussion, and generate new understanding regarding well-being. An event – no matter when entered into - must have a contemporaneous impact on either the life of an individual or an individual’s perception of their life (or both) for it to be reflected in self-reported life satisfaction scores. Similarly, this contemporaneous finding also explains other results in the literature about the well-being legacy of events.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Dynamic Panel Analysis, GMM, Adaptation, Happiness
    JEL: I31 J12 J64
    Date: 2014–08–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:57778&r=ltv
  9. By: Daniela Del Boca; Daniela Piazzalunga; Chiara Daniela Pronzato
    Abstract: In this paper, we focus on the impact of early grandparents’ care on child cognitive outcomes, in the short and medium term, using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (UK). Compared with children looked after in a formal care centre, children cared by grandparents (as well as parents) are better in naming objects, but worse in tests concerning basic concepts development, problem-solving, mathematical concepts and constructing ability. These results hide strong heterogeneities: on the one hand, the positive association between family care and child outcomes is stronger for children in more advantaged households; on the other hand, the negative association is significant only for children in more disadvantaged households. In order to assess a causal link between early care and child outcomes, we employ panel methods and instrumental variables techniques. The results we obtain confirm the cross section results.
    Date: 2014
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cca:wchild:24&r=ltv
  10. By: Pascal Michaillat (London School of Economics); Emmanuel Saez (University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: This paper develops a model of unemployment fluctuations. The model keeps the architecture of the Barro and Grossman (1971) general disequilibrium model but replaces the disequilibrium framework on the labor and product markets by a matching framework. On the product and labor markets, both price and tightness adjust to equalize supply and demand. There is one more variable than equilibrium condition on each market, so we consider various price mechanisms to close the model, from completely flexible to completely rigid. With some price rigidity, aggregate demand influences unemployment through a simple mechanism: higher aggregate demand raises the probability that firms find customers, which reduces idle time for firms’ employees and thus increases labor demand, which in turn reduces unemployment. We use the comparative-statistics predictions of the model together with empirical measures of quantities and tightnesses to re-examine the origins of labor market fluctuations. We conclude that (1) price and real wage are not fully flexible because product and labor market tightness fluctuate significantly; (2) fluctuations are mostly caused by labor demand and not labor supply shocks because employment is positively correlated with labor market tightness; and (3) labor demand shocks mostly reflect aggregate demand and not technology shocks because output is positively correlated with product market tightness.
    Keywords: aggregate demand, unemployment, matching frictions, business cycles
    JEL: E10 E24 E30 J2 J64
    Date: 2014–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:upj:weupjo:14-214&r=ltv

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