nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2015‒01‒19
seven papers chosen by

  1. The Effect of Family Disruption on Children's Personality Development: Evidence from British Longitudinal Data By Prevoo, Tyas; ter Weel, Bas
  2. Can political inequalities be educated away? Evidence from a Swedish school reform By Lindgren, Karl-Oskar; Oskarsson, Sven; T Dawes, Christopher
  3. Education, HIV, and Early Fertility: Experimental Evidence from Kenya By Esther Duflo; Pascaline Dupas; Michael Kremer
  4. Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success By Kautz, Tim; Heckman, James J.; Diris, Ron; ter Weel, Bas; Borghans, Lex
  5. Share Capitalism and Worker Wellbeing By Bryson, Alex; Clark, Andrew E.; Freeman, Richard B.; Green, Colin P.
  6. Attitudes Towards Partner Violence and Gender Roles in Uruguayan Women By Marisa Bucheli; Máximo Rossi
  7. A Theory of Wage Adjustment under Loss Aversion By Ahrens, Steffen; Pirschel, Inske; Snower, Dennis J.

  1. By: Prevoo, Tyas (Maastricht University); ter Weel, Bas (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: This research documents the effects of different forms of family disruptions – measured by separation, divorce and death – on personality development of British children included in the 1970 British Cohort Study. There are statistically significant correlations between family disruptions prior to the age of 16 and personality development in early childhood. Parental divorce has the largest negative effect on a child's personality development. Family disruptions have smaller effects on personality development when children are older and patterns differ by gender. The relationship between personality development and family disruption is partially driven by selection. Placebo regressions reveal significant correlations between family disruption and personality development before disruption. The omitted variable bias is mitigated by investigating mechanisms through which the selection operates.
    Keywords: family disruption, personality development
    JEL: J12 J24
    Date: 2014–12
  2. By: Lindgren, Karl-Oskar (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Oskarsson, Sven (Department of Government, Uppsala University); T Dawes, Christopher (Department of Politics, New York University)
    Abstract: Over the years, many suggestions have been made on how to reduce the importance of family background in political recruitment. In this study, we examine the effectiveness of one such proposal: the expansion of mass education. More precisely, we utilize a difference-in-difference strategy to analyze how a large school reform launched in Sweden in the 1950s, which lengthened compulsory schooling and postponed tracking, affected the likelihood of individuals with different family backgrounds to run for public office. The data comes from public registers and pertains to the entire Swedish population born between 1943 and 1955. Overall, the empirical analysis provides strong support for the view that improved educational opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds can be an effective means to reduce the importance of family background in political recruitment. According to our estimates, the Swedish comprehensive school reform served to reduce the effect of family background on the likelihood of running for public office by up to 40 percent.
    Keywords: Political inequality; political participation; political candidacy; inequality; education
    JEL: H70 I24
    Date: 2014–12–19
  3. By: Esther Duflo; Pascaline Dupas; Michael Kremer
    Abstract: A seven-year randomized evaluation suggests education subsidies reduce adolescent girls' dropout, pregnancy, and marriage but not sexually transmitted infection (STI). The government's HIV curriculum, which stresses abstinence until marriage, does not reduce pregnancy or STI. Both programs combined reduce STI more, but cut dropout and pregnancy less, than education subsidies alone. These results are inconsistent with a model of schooling and sexual behavior in which both pregnancy and STI are determined by one factor (unprotected sex), but consistent with a two-factor model in which choices between committed and casual relationships also affect these outcomes.
    JEL: I12 I25 I38 O12
    Date: 2014–12
  4. By: Kautz, Tim (University of Chicago); Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Diris, Ron (K.U.Leuven); ter Weel, Bas (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Borghans, Lex (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the recent literature on measuring and boosting cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The literature establishes that achievement tests do not adequately capture character skills: personality traits, goals, motivations, and preferences that are valued in the labor market, in school, and in many other domains. Their predictive power rivals that of cognitive skills. Reliable measures of character have been developed. All measures of character and cognition are measures of performance on some task. In order to reliably estimate skills from tasks, it is necessary to standardize for incentives, effort, and other skills when measuring any particular skill. Character is a skill, not a trait. At any age, character skills are stable across different tasks, but skills can change over the life cycle. Character is shaped by families, schools, and social environments. Skill development is a dynamic process, in which the early years lay the foundation for successful investment in later years. High-quality early childhood and elementary school programs improve character skills in a lasting and cost-effective way. Many of them beneficially affect later-life outcomes without improving cognition. There are fewer long-term evaluations of adolescent interventions, but workplace-based programs that teach character skills are promising. The common feature of successful interventions across all stages of the life cycle through adulthood is that they promote attachment and provide a secure base for exploration and learning for the child. Successful interventions emulate the mentoring environments offered by successful families.
    Keywords: non-cognitive skills, human development, interventions
    JEL: D01 I20 J24
    Date: 2014–12
  5. By: Bryson, Alex (National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)); Clark, Andrew E. (Paris School of Economics); Freeman, Richard B. (Harvard University); Green, Colin P. (Lancaster University)
    Abstract: We show that worker wellbeing is not only related to the amount of compensation workers receive but also how they receive it. While previous theoretical and empirical work has often been pre-occupied with individual performance-related pay, we here demonstrate a robust positive link between the receipt of a range of group performance schemes (profit shares, group bonuses and share ownership) and job satisfaction. Critically, this relationship remains after conditioning on wage levels, which suggests these pay methods provide utility to workers in addition to that through higher wages. These findings survive a variety of methods aimed at accounting for unobserved individual and job-specific characteristics. We investigate two potential channels for this effect. We first demonstrate that half of the positive effect can be accounted for by employees' tendency to reciprocate in return for the "gift" of share capitalism. Second, we show that these 'share capitalist' modes of pay dampen the negative wellbeing effects of what we typically think of as "bad" aspects of job quality. Finally, share-capitalist pay methods also have positive wellbeing spill-over effects on co-workers.
    Keywords: compensation methods, wages, job satisfaction, working conditions
    JEL: J28 J33 J54 J63 J81 M52
    Date: 2014–12
  6. By: Marisa Bucheli (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Máximo Rossi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República y Associate Research Fellow, Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR), Tulane University)
    Abstract: According to World Health Organization (2013), 30% of even-partnered women have experienced either physical or/and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) in the course of their lives. The incidence of IPV in Latin America and Caribbean region is higher relative to other high income and middle-income countries. This problem is particularly relevant in Uruguay. The empirical literature provides evidence that violence towards partners is more likely among individuals that justify, approve or favor this type of violence. This paper explores the extent to which tolerant attitudes to violence against women are correlated with tolerance to violence against men, and the relation of these attitudes with three factors: a) having experienced violence when a child, b) attitudes to motherhood roles and, c) attitudes to gender roles in society.
    Keywords: Intimate partner violence; women; attitudes; intergenerational transmission of violence; motherhood roles; gender roles.
    JEL: D19 J16
    Date: 2014–12
  7. By: Ahrens, Steffen (Technische Universität Berlin); Pirschel, Inske (Kiel Institute for the World Economy); Snower, Dennis J. (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)
    Abstract: We present a new theory of wage adjustment, based on worker loss aversion. In line with prospect theory, the workers' perceived utility losses from wage decreases are weighted more heavily than the perceived utility gains from wage increases of equal magnitude. Wage changes are evaluated relative to an endogenous reference wage, which depends on the workers' rational wage expectations from the recent past. By implication, employment responses are more elastic for wage decreases than for wage increases and thus firms face an upward-sloping labor supply curve that is convexly kinked at the workers' reference price. Firms adjust wages flexibly in response to variations in labor demand. The resulting theory of wage adjustment is starkly at variance with past theories. In line with the empirical evidence, we find that (1) wages are completely rigid in response to small labor demand shocks, (2) wages are downward rigid but upward flexible for medium sized labor demand shocks, and (3) wages are relatively downward sluggish for large shocks.
    Keywords: downward wage sluggishness, loss aversion
    JEL: D03 D21 E24
    Date: 2014–12

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