nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2015‒05‒22
eight papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Income Inequality in Education, and Children's Schooling Attainment in Brazil By Ricardo Barros; David Lam
  2. Vertical Transmission of Overweight: Evidence from English Adoptees By Costa-Font, J.;; Jofre-Bonet, M.;; Le Grand, J.;
  3. Distributional and Behavioral Effects of the Gender Wage Gap By Patricia Gallego-Granados; Johannes Geyer
  4. Changing income inequality and panel income changes By Robert Duval Hernandez; Gary S. Fields; George H. Jakubson
  5. Who got what, then and now? A Fifty Year Overview from the Global Consumption and Income Project By Arjun Jayadev; Rahul Lahoti; Sanjay G. Reddy
  6. Learning about Job Search: A Field Experiment with Job Seekers in Germany By Altmann, Steffen; Falk, Armin; Jäger, Simon; Zimmermann, Florian
  7. Can a poverty-reducing and progressive tax and transfer system hurt the poor? By Sean Higgins; Nora Lustig
  8. Is Poverty the Main Cause of Child Work in Urban Brazil? By Ricardo Paes de Barros; Rosane Mendonça; Tatiana Velazco

  1. By: Ricardo Barros; David Lam
    Date: 2015–01
  2. By: Costa-Font, J.;; Jofre-Bonet, M.;; Le Grand, J.;
    Abstract: We examine the vertical transmission of overweight drawing upon a sample of English children, both adopted and non-adopted, and their families. Our results suggest strong evidence of an intergenerational association of overweight among adoptees, indicating transmission through cultural factors. We find that, when both adoptive parents are overweight, the likelihood of an adopted child being overweight is between 10% and 20% higher than when they are not. We also find that the cultural transmission of overweight is not aggravated by having afull-time working mother, so do not confirm the existence of a female labour market participation penalty on child overweight among adoptees. Overall, our findings, despite subject to data limitations, are robust to a battery of robustness checks, specification and sample selection corrections.
    Keywords: vertical transmission; cultural transmission; overweight; children; natural parents; Body Mass Index; sample selection;
    JEL: I18 D13 Z1
    Date: 2015–05
  3. By: Patricia Gallego-Granados; Johannes Geyer
    Abstract: The gender wage gap is a persistent labor market phenomenon. Most research focuses on the determinants of these wage differences. We contribute to this literature by exploring a different research question: if wages of women are systematically lower than male wages, what are the distributional consequences (disposable income) and what are the labor market effects (labor supply) of the wage gap? We demonstrate how the gender gap in gross hourly wages shows up in the distribution of disposable income of households. This requires taking into account the distribution of working hours as well as the tax-benefit system and other sources of household income. We present a methodological framework for deriving the gender wage gap in terms of disposable income which combines quantile decomposition, simulation techniques and structural labor supply estimation. This allows us to examine the implications of the gender wage gap for income inequality and working incentives. We illustrate our approach with an application to German data.
    Keywords: Gender wage gap, quantile regression, wage decomposition, labor supply, microsimulation, income distribution, tax-benefit system
    JEL: D31 J31 J16 H23
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Robert Duval Hernandez (UCY and CIDE); Gary S. Fields (Cornell University, USA, and IZA); George H. Jakubson (Cornell University, USA)
    Abstract: When economic growth (or economic decline) takes place, who benefits and who is hurt how much? The more traditional way of answering this question is to compare two or more comparable cross sections and gauge changing income inequality among countries or individuals. A newer way is to utilize data on a panel of countries or a panel of people and assess the pattern of panel income changes. How do these two approaches relate to one another? This paper shows, first, that it is possible to have all four combinations - rising or falling inequality and divergent or convergent panel income changes, and second, under what conditions, for various measures of rising/falling inequality and various measures of divergent/convergent income changes, each of the four possible combinations can arise.
    Keywords: Income inequality, economic mobility.
    JEL: J31 D63
    Date: 2015–04
  5. By: Arjun Jayadev (University of Massachusetts at Boston); Rahul Lahoti (Georg-August-University Göttingen); Sanjay G. Reddy (The New School for Social Research and the Initiative for Policy Dialogue)
    Abstract: Using newly comprehensive data and tools from the Global Consumption and Income Project or CGIP, covering most of the world and five decades, we present a portrait of the changing global distribution of consumption and income and discuss its implications for our understanding of inequality, poverty, inclusivity of growth and development, world economic welfare, and the emergence of a global ‘middle class’. We show how regional distributions of income and consumption have evolved very differently over time. We also undertake sensitivity analysis to quantify the impact of various choices made in database construction and analysis. We find that levels of consumption and income have increased across the distribution, that the global distribution has become more relatively equal due to falling inter-country relative inequality, and that by some measures global poverty has declined greatly but by others it has hardly declined at all, even over the fifty years. The global middle class has grown markedly in certain countries but only slightly worldwide. Most of the marked changes have occurred after 1990. China’s rapid economic growth is by far the most important factor underlying almost all of them, notwithstanding sharply increasing inequalities within the country. Most improvements outside of China are associated with rapid developing country growth after 2000, and are of unknown durability. Country-experiences vary widely; there is for instance some evidence of ‘inequality convergence’ with previously more equal countries becoming less equal over time and the obverse. We provide support for previous findings (e.g. the replacement of the global ‘twin peaks’ by a unimodal distribution) but also arrive at some conclusions that overthrow old ‘stylized facts’ (e.g. that the Sub-Saharan African countries, and not Latin American ones, have the highest levels of inequality in the world, when measured using standardized surveys). The GCIP provides a resource for ongoing analysis, and forecasting, of developments in the world distribution.
    Keywords: Global Distribution; Inequality; Poverty; Economic Growth; Welfare
    JEL: D30 D31 D60 D63 I30 O10 O15 P50
    Date: 2015–05–09
  6. By: Altmann, Steffen (University of Copenhagen); Falk, Armin (University of Bonn); Jäger, Simon (Harvard University); Zimmermann, Florian (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: We conduct a large-scale field experiment in the German labor market to investigate how information provision affects job seekers' employment prospects and labor market outcomes. Individuals assigned to the treatment group of our experiment received a brochure that informed them about job search strategies and the consequences of unemployment, and motivated them to actively look for new employment. We study the causal impact of the brochure by comparing labor market outcomes of treated and untreated job seekers in administrative data containing comprehensive information on individuals' employment status and earnings. While our treatment yields overall positive effects, these tend to be concentrated among job seekers who are at risk of being unemployed for an extended period of time. Specifically, the treatment effects in our overall sample are moderately positive but mostly insignificant. At the same time, we do observe pronounced and statistically significant effects for individuals who exhibit an increased risk of long-term unemployment. For this group, the brochure increases employment and earnings in the year after the intervention by roughly 4%. Given the low cost of the intervention, our findings indicate that targeted information provision can be a highly effective policy tool in the labor market.
    Keywords: job search, information provision, unemployment, field experiment
    JEL: C93 D04 D83 J64 J68
    Date: 2015–05
  7. By: Sean Higgins (Department of Economics, Tulane University, USA); Nora Lustig (Department of Economics, Tulane University, USA)
    Abstract: Whether the poor are helped or hurt by taxes and transfers is generally determined by comparing income distributions before and after fiscal policy using stochastic dominance tests and measures of progressivity and horizontal inequity. We formally show that these tools can fail to capture an important aspect: that a substantial proportion of the poor are made poorer (or non-poor made poor) by the tax and transfer system. We call this fiscal impoverishment, and axiomatically derive a measure of its extent. An analogous measure of fiscal gains of the poor is also derived, and we show that changes in the poverty gap can be decomposed into our axiomatic measures of fiscal impoverishment and gains. We also establish dominance criteria for unambiguous comparisons of fiscal impoverishment and gains under the current system to that under a proposed reform, for a range of possible poverty lines. We illustrate using Brazilian data.
    Date: 2015–04
  8. By: Ricardo Paes de Barros; Rosane Mendonça; Tatiana Velazco
    Date: 2015–01

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