nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2017‒03‒19
six papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. The Political Economy of Compensatory Redistribution: Unemployment, Inequality and Policy Choice By Jonas Pontusson; David Weisstanner
  2. The Gender Pay Gap Across Countries: A Human Capital Approach By Solomon Polachek; Jun Xiang
  3. Reproducing Occupational Inequality: Motherhood and Occupational Segregation By Becky Pettit; Jennifer Hook
  4. Do Equal Rights for a Minority Affect General Life Satisfaction? By Berggren, Niclas; Bjørnskov, Christian; Nilsson, Therese
  5. Inequality of Opportunity in Income and Consumption in Egypt By Ragui Assaad; Caroline Krafft; John Roemer; Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
  6. The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries By Claudia Olivetti; Barbara Petrongolo

  1. By: Jonas Pontusson; David Weisstanner
    Abstract: This paper explores common trends in inequality and redistribution across OECD countries from the late 1980s to 2013. Low?end inequality rises during economic downturns while rising top?end inequality is associated with economic growth. Most countries retreated from redistribution from the mid?1990s until the onset of the Great Recession and compensatory redistribution in response to rising unemployment was weaker in 2008?13 than in the first half of the 1990s. As unemployment and poverty risk have become increasingly become concentrated among workers with low education, middle?income opinion has become more permissive of cuts in unemployment insurance generosity and income assistance to the poor. At constant generosity, the expansion of more precarious forms of employment reduces compensatory redistribution during downturns because temporary employees do not have the same access to unemployment benefits as permanent employees.
    Keywords: comparative political economy, income inequality, redistribution, unemployment, poverty risk
    Date: 2016–11
  2. By: Solomon Polachek; Jun Xiang
    Abstract: The gender wage gap varies across countries. For example, among OECD nations women in Australia, Belgium, Italy and Sweden earn 80% as much as males, whereas in Austria, Canada and Japan women earn about 60%. Current studies examining cross-country differences focus on the impact of labor market institutions such as minimum wage laws and nationwide collective bargaining. However, these studies neglect labor market institutions that affect women’s lifetime work behavior -- a factor crucially important in gender wage gap studies that employ individual data. This paper explicitly concentrates on labor market institutions that are related to female lifetime work that affect the gender wage gap across countries. Using ISSP (International Social Survey Programme), LIS (Luxembourg Income Study) and OECD wage data for 35 countries covering 1970-2002, we show that the gender pay gap is positively associated with the fertility rate, positively associated with the husband-wife age gap at first marriage, and positively related to the top marginal tax rate, all factors which negatively affect women’s lifetime labor force participation. In addition, we show that collective bargaining, as found in previous studies, is negatively associated with the gender pay gap.
    Date: 2015–09
  3. By: Becky Pettit; Jennifer Hook
    Abstract: We consider how motherhood is associated with occupational segregation, paying careful attention to how motherhood affects labor force withdrawal in ways that may obscure its relevance for occupational segregation. Using data on 12 countries from the Luxembourg Income Study (2000-2007), we find that mothers are more likely than childless women to be out of the labor force and both over- and under-represented in certain occupations. There is considerable variation across countries, consistent with expectations derived from considering how states reconcile, or fail to reconcile, women’s employment and motherhood.
    Date: 2015–07
  4. By: Berggren, Niclas (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Bjørnskov, Christian (Aarhus University); Nilsson, Therese (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: While previous research examines how institutions matter for general life satisfaction and how specific institutions embodying equal rights for gay people matter for the life satisfaction of gays, we combine these two issues to analyze how the latter type of institutions relates to general life satisfaction. The question is how people in general are affected by laws treating everyone equally irrespective of sexual orientation. We find that legal recognition of partnership, marriage and adoption rights, as well as an equal age of consent, relate positively to general life satisfaction. Consequently, same-sex marriage and similar reforms come at no “welfare” cost to society at large – if anything, the opposite appears to hold. We further build on previous research showing positive effects of economic freedom on happiness and on tolerance towards gay people and interact our rights measure with economic freedom. This reveals that the positive effect on general happiness of equal rights mainly appears in countries with low economic freedom. This likely follows because minority rights are perceived to indicate openness to much-desired reforms in other areas.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction; Same-sex marriage; Rights; Institutions; Culture; Immigration; Tolerance; Gays and lesbians; Minorities; Integration
    JEL: I31 Z13 Z18
    Date: 2017–03–08
  5. By: Ragui Assaad (University of Minnesota); Caroline Krafft (St. Catherine University); John Roemer; Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
    Abstract: We provide in this paper measures of inequality of opportunity of wages and consumption for Egypt at different points in time from 1988 to 2012. A standard way of measuring the degree of inequality of opportunity in a society is to choose a set of circumstances – characteristics of the individual’s environment that affect his future income and are beyond his control – and to partition the population into types, where a type is the set of individuals with the same circumstances. Inequality in the outcomes of interest between types is attributable to inequality of opportunity, whereas inequality within types is attributable to effort or luck. Although measures of inequality of wage income are increasing over time in Egypt starting in 1998, the share attributable to circumstances appears to be declining steadily throughout the whole period. We attribute this decline to the fact that outcomes for the middle class are moving closer to the outcomes of the lower classes. The outcomes for the most privileged groups remain quite different. Another possible explanation is that unobserved circumstances are playing a growing role in inequality of opportunity in Egypt.
    Date: 2016–05
  6. By: Claudia Olivetti (Boston College and NBER); Barbara Petrongolo (Queen Mary University of London, CEPR and CEP (LSE))
    Abstract: We draw lessons from existing work and our own analysis on the effects of parental leave and other interventions aimed at aiding families. The outcomes of interest are female employment, gender gaps in earnings and fertility. We begin with a discussion of the historical introduction of family policies ever since the end of the nineteenth century and then turn to the details regarding family policies currently in effect across high-income nations. We sketch a framework concerning the effects of family policy to motivate our country- and micro-level evidence on the impact of family policies on gender outcomes. Most estimates of the impact of parental leave entitlement on female labor market outcomes range from negligible to weakly positive. The verdict is far more positive for the beneficial impact of spending on early education and childcare.
    Keywords: Parental leave, Childcare, Family policies, Gender gaps
    JEL: J13 J16 J18
    Date: 2017–01

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