nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2016‒03‒29
six papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations By Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn
  2. Higher education and the fall and rise of inequality By Prettner, Klaus; Schäfer, Andreas
  3. What Has Been Happening to UK Income Inequality Since the Mid-1990s? Answers from Reconciled and Combined Household Survey and Tax Return Data By Richard V. Burkhauser; Nicolas Hérault; Stephen P. Jenkins; Roger Wilkins
  4. Not Working at Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity By Michael Burda; Katie R. Genadek; Daniel S. Hamermesh
  5. Social Frictions to Knowledge Diffusion: Evidence from an Information Intervention By Arthur Alik-Lagrange; Martin Ravallion
  6. Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women By Marianne Bertrand; Patricia Cortés; Claudia Olivetti; Jessica Pan

  1. By: Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn
    Abstract: Using PSID microdata over the 1980-2010, we provide new empirical evidence on the extent of and trends in the gender wage gap, which declined considerably over this period. By 2010, conventional human capital variables taken together explained little of the gender wage gap, while gender differences in occupation and industry continued to be important. Moreover, the gender pay gap declined much more slowly at the top of the wage distribution that at the middle or the bottom and by 2010 was noticeably higher at the top. We then survey the literature to identify what has been learned about the explanations for the gap. We conclude that many of the traditional explanations continue to have salience. Although human capital factors are now relatively unimportant in the aggregate, women’s work force interruptions and shorter hours remain significant in high skilled occupations, possibly due to compensating differentials. Gender differences in occupations and industries, as well as differences in gender roles and the gender division of labor remain important, and research based on experimental evidence strongly suggests that discrimination cannot be discounted. Psychological attributes or noncognitive skills comprise one of the newer explanations for gender differences in outcomes. Our effort to assess the quantitative evidence on the importance of these factors suggests that they account for a small to moderate portion of the gender pay gap, considerably smaller than say occupation and industry effects, though they appear to modestly contribute to these differences.
    JEL: J16 J24 J31 J71
    Date: 2016–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21913&r=ltv
  2. By: Prettner, Klaus; Schäfer, Andreas
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of higher education on the evolution of inequality. In so doing we propose a novel overlapping generations model with three social classes: the rich, the middle class, and the poor. We show that there is an initial phase in which no social class invests in higher education of their children, such that the evolution of inequality is entirely driven by the level of bequests. Once a certain income threshold is surpassed, the rich start to invest in higher education of their children, which partially crowds out bequests and thereby reduces inequality in the short run. The better educated children of the rich, however, enjoy higher incomes and inequality starts to rise again. As time goes by, the middle class and eventually also the poor start to invest in higher education, but now the increase in inequality is driven by different levels of education. As the economy proceeds toward a balanced growth path, educational differences between social groups and thus inequality decline again. We argue that (1) the proposed mechanism has the potential to explain the Ushaped evolution of inequality in rich countries in the second half of the 20th Century and the first decade of the 21st Century and (2) the currently observed increase in inequality is rather a transitory phenomenon.
    Keywords: higher education,inequality,growth regime switch,middle income trap,Piketty curve
    JEL: I23 I24 I25 O11 O41
    Date: 2016
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:zbw:tuweco:032016&r=ltv
  3. By: Richard V. Burkhauser (Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University); Nicolas Hérault (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Stephen P. Jenkins (Department ofSocial Policy, London School of Economics); Roger Wilkins (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: Estimates of UK income inequality trends differ substantially according to whether estimates are based on household survey data (used for official statistics) or tax return data (used in the top incomes literature). We reconcile differences in variable definitions and combine survey and tax return data in order to take advantage of the much better coverage of top incomes in the latter, and provide improved estimates of UK inequality trends since the mid-1990s. We show there was a marked increase in income inequality in the early 2000s that survey-based estimates do not reveal, and our conclusions are robust to changes in the definitions of income, income-sharing unit, and summary inequality measure. In addition, our reconciled and combined data provide more comparable estimates of UK-US inequality trends than the top incomes literature to date. Classification-D31, C81
    Keywords: Inequality, income inequality, top income shares, HBAI, SPI, top incomes, tax return data, survey data
    Date: 2016–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2016n05&r=ltv
  4. By: Michael Burda; Katie R. Genadek; Daniel S. Hamermesh
    Abstract: We use the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) 2003-12 to estimate time spent by workers in non-work while on the job. Non-work time is substantial and varies positively with the local unemployment rate. While average time spent by workers in non-work conditional on any positive amount rises with the unemployment rate, the fraction of workers reporting positive values varies pro-cyclically, declining in recessions. These results are consistent with a model in which heterogeneous workers are paid efficiency wages to refrain from loafing on the job. That model correctly predicts relationships of the incidence and conditional amounts of non-work with wage rates and measures of unemployment benefits in state data linked to the ATUS, and it is consistent with estimated occupational differences.
    JEL: E24 J23
    Date: 2016–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21923&r=ltv
  5. By: Arthur Alik-Lagrange; Martin Ravallion
    Abstract: Does knowledge about antipoverty programs spread quickly within poor communities or are there significant frictions, such as due to social exclusion? We combine longitudinal and intra-household observations in estimating the direct knowledge gain from watching an information movie in rural India, while randomized village assignment identifies knowledge sharing with those in treatment villages who did not watch the movie. Knowledge is found to be shared within villages, but less so among illiterate and lower caste individuals, especially when also poor; these groups relied more on actually seeing the movie. Sizable biases are evident in impact estimators that ignore knowledge spillovers.
    JEL: D83 I38 O12
    Date: 2016–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21877&r=ltv
  6. By: Marianne Bertrand; Patricia Cortés; Claudia Olivetti; Jessica Pan
    Abstract: In most of the developed world, skilled women marry at a lower rate than unskilled women. We document heterogeneity across countries in how the marriage gap for skilled women has evolved over time. As labor market opportunities for women have improved, the marriage gap has been growing in some countries but shrinking in others. We discuss a theoretical model in which the (negative) social attitudes towards working women might contribute towards the lower marriage rate of skilled women, and might also induce a non-linear relationship between their labor market prospects and their marriage outcomes. The model is suited to understand the dynamics of the marriage gap for skilled women over time within a country with set social attitudes towards working women. The model also delivers predictions about how the marriage gap for skilled women should react to changes in their labor market opportunities across countries with more or less conservative attitudes towards working women. We test the key predictions of this model in a panel of 23 developed countries, as well as in a panel of US states.
    JEL: J0 J01 J11 J12 J16
    Date: 2016–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22015&r=ltv

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