nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2014‒10‒22
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Robust Wagstaff Orderings of Distributions of Self-Reported Health Status By Paul Makdissi; Myra Yazbeck
  2. Career Progression, Economic Downturns and Skills By Jérôme Adda; Christian Dustmann; Costas Meghir; Jean-Marc Robin
  3. How useful is inequality of opportunity as a policy construct? By Ravi Kanbur; Adam Wagstaff
  4. On the Robustness of Minimum Wage Effects: Geographically-Disparate Trends and Job Growth Equations By John T. Addison; McKinley L. Blackburn; Chad D. Cotti
  5. Energy Prices, Energy Poverty, and Well-Being: Evidence for European Countries By Heinz Welsch; Philipp Biermann

  1. By: Paul Makdissi (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa); Myra Yazbeck (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: When assessing socioeconomic health inequalities researchers often draw upon measures of income inequality that were developed for ratio scale variables. As a result, the use of categorical data (such as self-reported health status) produces rankings that may be arbitrary and contingent to the scaling adopted. In this paper, we develop a method that overcomes this problem by providing conditions for which these rankings are invariant to the scaling function chosen by the researcher. In doing so, we draw on the insight provided by Alkire and Foster (2004) and extend their method to the dimension of socioeconomic inequality exploiting the properties of Wagstaff’s class of indices. We then provide an empirical illustration using the National Institute of Health Survey 2012.
    Date: 2014–09–30
  2. By: Jérôme Adda (University College London - London's Global University); Christian Dustmann (University College London - London's Global University (UCL)); Costas Meghir (UCL Department of Economics); Jean-Marc Robin (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the career progression of skilled and unskilled workers, with a focus on how careers are affected by economic downturns and whether formal skills, acquired early on, can shield workers from the effect of recessions. Using detailed administrative data for Germany for numerous birth cohorts across different regions, we follow workers from labor market entry onwards and estimate a dynamic life-cycle model of vocational training choice, labor supply, and wage progression. Most particularly, our model allows for labor market frictions that vary by skill group and over the business cycle. We find that sources of wage growth differ: learning-by-doing is an important component for unskilled workers early on in their careers, while job mobility is important for workers who acquire skills in an apprenticeship scheme before labor market entry. Likewise, economic downturns affect skill groups through very different channels: unskilled workers lose out from a decline in productivity and human capital, whereas skilled individuals suffer mainly from a lack of mobility.
    Date: 2013–03
  3. By: Ravi Kanbur (Cornell University); Adam Wagstaff (The World Bank)
    Abstract: The academic literature on equality of opportunity has burgeoned. More recently, the concepts and measures have begun to be used by policy institutions, including in specific sectors like health and education. Indeed, it is argued that one advantage of focusing on equality of opportunity is that policy makers are more responsive to that discourse than on equality of outcomes per se. This paper presents a critique of equality of opportunity in the policy context. While the empirical analysis to which the literature has given rise is useful and is to be welcomed, current methods for quantifying and implementing the concept with a view to informing the policy discourse face a series of fundamental questions that remain unanswered. Without a full appreciation of these difficulties, these methods may prove to be misleading in the policy context.
    Date: 2014–08
  4. By: John T. Addison (University of South Carolina, Durham University, GEMF-University of Coimbra, and IZA Bonn); McKinley L. Blackburn (University of South Carolina); Chad D. Cotti (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Recent attempts to incorporate spatial heterogeneity in minimum-wage employment models have been attacked for using overly simplistic trend controls, and for neglecting the potential impact on employment growth. We investigate whether such considerations call into question our earlier findings of statistically insignificant employment effects for the restaurant-and-bar sector. We find that a focus on employment levels is still appropriate, and nonlinear trend controls do not dislodge our limited support for the existence of minimum-wage effects.
    Keywords: minimum wages, employment, employment change, spatial controls.
    JEL: J23 J38
    Date: 2014–09
  5. By: Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics); Philipp Biermann (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper uses data on the life satisfaction of more than 100,000 individuals in 21 European countries, 2002-2011, to study the relationship between subjective well-being and the prices for households of electricity, oil and gas. We find that energy prices have statistically and economically significant effects on subjective well-being. The effect sizes are smaller than but comparable to the effects of important personal factors of well-being. Effects above average are found in individuals from the lowest income quartile. In addition, effects are strongest at times when required energy expenditures can be expected to be high. The empirical results are consistent with the prediction that greater energy poverty implies a greater effect of energy prices on well-being.
    Keywords: energy price; energy poverty; fuel poverty, consumer welfare; subjective well-being
    JEL: Q41 I31 D12
    Date: 2014–09

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