nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2018‒05‒14
nine papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Is Envy Harmful to a Society’s Psychological Health and Wellbeing? A Longitudinal Study of 18,000 Adults By Mujcic, Redzo; Oswald, Andrew J.
  2. Emigration, remittances and the subjective well-being of those staying behind By Artjoms Ivlevs; Milena Nikolova; Carol Graham
  3. Digit ratio (2D:4D) predicts pro-social behavior in economic games only for unsatisfied individuals By Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
  4. Skills, Signals, and Employability: An Experimental Investigation By Piopiunik, Marc; Schwerdt, Guido; Simon, Lisa; Woessmann, Ludger
  5. An analysis of the distributive effects of public policies and their spillovers By Alan André Borges da Costa; Sergio Pinheiro Firpo
  6. How valid are synthetic panel estimates of poverty dynamics? By Hérault, Nicolas; Jenkins, Stephen P.
  7. Varieties of Health Care Devolution: 'Systems or Federacies'? By Joan Costa-Font; Laurie Perdikis
  8. When do populations polarize? An explanation By Benoît, Jean-Pierre; Dubra, Juan
  9. Gender differences in altruism on Mechanical Turk: Expectations and actual behaviour By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Valerio Capraro; Ericka Rascón Ramírez

  1. By: Mujcic, Redzo (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Vienna); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick, CAGE, and IZA)
    Abstract: Nearly 100 years ago, the philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell warned of the social dangers of widespread envy. One view of modern society is that it is systematically developing a set of institutions - such as social media and new forms of advertising - that make people feel inadequate and envious of others. If so, how might that be influencing the psychological health of our citizens? This paper reports the first large-scale longitudinal research into envy and its possible repercussions. The paper studies 18,000 randomly selected individuals over the years 2005, 2009, and 2013. Using measures of SF-36 mental health and psychological well-being, four main conclusions emerge. First, the young are especially susceptible. Levels of envy fall as people grow older. This longitudinal finding is consistent with a cross-sectional pattern noted recently by Nicole E. Henniger and Christine R. Harris, and with the theory of socioemotional regulation suggested by scholars such as Laura L.Carstensen. Second, using fixed-effects equations and prospective analysis, the analysis reveals that envy today is a powerful predictor of worse SF-36 mental health and well-being in the future. A change from the lowest to the highest level of envy, for example, is associated with a worsening of SF-36 mental health by approximately half a standard deviation (p
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Artjoms Ivlevs (University of the West of England); Milena Nikolova (University of Maryland, College Park); Carol Graham (The Brookings Institution)
    Abstract: Despite growing academic and policy interest in the subjective well-being consequences of emigration for those left behind, existing studies have focused on single origin countries or specific world regions. Our study is the first to offer a global perspective on the well-being consequences of emigration for those staying behind using several subjective well-being measures (evaluations of best possible life, positive affect, stress, and depression). Drawing upon Gallup World Poll data for 114 countries during 2009-2011, we find that both having family members abroad and receiving remittances are positively associated with evaluative well-being (evaluations of best possible life) and positive affect (measured by an index of variables related to experiencing positive feelings at a particular point in time). Our analysis provides novel results showing that remittances are particularly beneficial for evaluative well-being in less developed and more unequal contexts; in richer countries, only the out-migration of family members is positively associated with life evaluations, while remittances have no additional association. We also find that having household members abroad is linked with increased stress and depression, which are not offset by remittances. The out-migration of family members appears more traumatic in contexts where migration is less common, such as more developed countries, and specific world regions, such as Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as among women. Relying on subjective well-being measures, which reflect both material and non-material aspects of life and are broad measures of well-being, allows us to provide additional insights and a more well-rounded picture of the possible consequences of emigration on migrant family members staying behind relative to standard outcomes employed in the literature, such as the left-behind’s consumption, income or labor market responses.
    Keywords: migration, remittances, depression, stress, Cantril ladder of life, happiness, Gallup World Poll
    JEL: F22 F24 I30 O15 J61
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
    Abstract: Prenatal exposure to hormones, and to sex hormones in particular, exerts organizational effects on the brain and these have observable behavioral correlates in adult life. There are reasons to expect that social behaviors—which are fundamental for the evolutionary success of humans—might be related to biological factors such as prenatal sex hormone exposure. Nevertheless, the existing literature is inconclusive as to whether and how prenatal exposure to testosterone and estrogen, proxied by the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D), may predict non-selfish behavior. Here, we investigate this question using economic experiments with real monetary stakes and analyzing five different dimensions of social behavior in a comparatively large sample of Caucasian participants (n=560). For both males and females, our results show no robust association between right- or left-hand 2D:4D and generosity, bargaining, or trust-related behaviors. Since 2D:4D is thought to be a marker for status, we set-up and test the hypothesis that 2D:4D explains prosocial behavior only for people with low subjective wellbeing who are in need for status. Using two different measures of subjective wellbeing, we find considerable support for our hypothesis, especially among males. These results contribute to the debate regarding the context-dependent interpretation of the effect of prenatal hormone exposure on behavior by suggesting that important moderating factors may explain the differing results in the literature. In particular, we uncover the importance of accounting for the subjective nature of need for status, which has been largely overlooked in previous work.
    Keywords: Social Preferences, Economic Games, Digit Ratio, Life Satisfaction
    JEL: C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2018–04–10
  4. By: Piopiunik, Marc (University of Munich); Schwerdt, Guido (University of Konstanz); Simon, Lisa (University of Munich); Woessmann, Ludger (University of Munich)
    Abstract: As skills of labor-market entrants are usually not directly observed by employers, individuals acquire skill signals. To study which signals are valued by employers, we simultaneously and independently randomize a broad range of skill signals on pairs of resumes of fictitious applicants among which we ask a large representative sample of German human-resource managers to choose. We find that signals in all three studied domains – cognitive skills, social skills, and maturity – have a significant effect on being invited for a job interview. Consistent with the relevance, expectedness, and credibility of different signals, the specific signal that is effective in each domain differs between apprenticeship applicants and college graduates. While GPAs and social skills are significant for both genders, males are particularly rewarded for maturity and females for IT and language skills. Older HR managers value school grades less and other signals more, whereas HR managers in larger firms value college grades more. Keywords: Signals, cognitive skills, social skills, resume, hiring, labor market JEL Classification: J24, J21, I26
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Alan André Borges da Costa; Sergio Pinheiro Firpo
    Abstract: The purpose of this work is to define and identify the effects of treatment saturation on the several quantiles of the outcome variable in the presence of treatment spillover. Exploring the variation resulting from two stage randomization, we propose and estimator that depends on the proportion of treated individuals allowing estimate quantile direct, indirect and saturation treatment effects. In addition we also defined and identified que unconditional quantile private and spillover effects which is similar to the average effects of Phillipson (2000).
    Keywords: Quantile; Saturation; Spillover
    JEL: C21 C31 C93
    Date: 2018–04–26
  6. By: Hérault, Nicolas; Jenkins, Stephen P.
    Abstract: A growing literature uses repeated cross-section surveys to derive ‘synthetic panel’ data estimates of poverty dynamics statistics. It builds on the pioneering study by Dang, Lanjouw, Luoto, and McKenzie (Journal of Development Economics, 2014) providing bounds estimates and the innovative refinement proposed by Dang and Lanjouw (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 6504, 2013) providing point estimates of the statistics of interest. We provide new evidence about the accuracy of synthetic panel estimates relative to benchmarks based on estimates derived from genuine household panel data, employing high quality data from Australia and Britain, while also examining the sensitivity of results to a number of analytical choices. Overall, we are more agnostic about the validity of the synthetic panel approach applied to these two rich countries than are earlier validity studies in their applications focusing on middle- and low-income countries.
    Keywords: synthetic panel,pseudo panel,poverty dynamics,poverty entry,poverty exit,BHPS,HILDA
    JEL: I32 D31 C52
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Joan Costa-Font; Laurie Perdikis
    Abstract: Some European countries have devolved health care services to subnational units. This is especially the case in unitary states that are organised as a national health service, where choice is not 'built into' the health care system. We argue that there are different models of devolving authority to subnational jurisdictions which have repercussions for regional health care inequalities and the amount of policy interdependence across regions. We examine broad trends in two institutional models of devolution: a 'federacy model', where only a few territories obtain health care responsibilities (such as in the United Kingdom), and a 'systems model', where the whole health system is devolved to a full set of subnational units (such as in Spain). This paper briefly discusses the impact of these two models of devolution on the regional diversity of the health system. Our findings suggest that a 'systems model' of decentralisation, unlike a 'federacy model', gives rise to significant policy interdependence. Another finding indicates that geographical dispersion of health care activity is larger in the 'federacy model'.
    Keywords: regional dispersion, models of devolution, federacy, policy interdependence, systems model, Spain, UK
    Date: 2018–02
  8. By: Benoît, Jean-Pierre; Dubra, Juan
    Abstract: Numerous experiments demonstrate attitude polarization. For instance, Lord, Ross & Lepper presented subjects with the same mixed evidence on the deterrent effect of the death penalty. Both believers and skeptics of its deterrent effect became more convinced of their views; that is, the population polarized. However, not all experiments find this attitude polarization. We propose a theory of rational updating that accounts for both the positive and negative experimental findings. This is in contrast to existing theories, which predict either too much or too little polarization.
    Keywords: Attitude Polarization; Confirmation Bias; Bayesian Decision Making
    JEL: D10 D11 D12 D81 D82 D83
    Date: 2018–04–10
  9. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Loyola Andalucia University); Valerio Capraro (Middlesex University); Ericka Rascón Ramírez (Middlesex University)
    Abstract: Whether or not there are gender differences in altruistic behavior in Dictator Game experiments has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Earlier studies found women to be more altruistic than men. However, this conclusion has been challenged by more recent accounts, which have argued that gender differences in altruistic behaviour may be a peculiarity of student samples and may not extend to random samples. Here we study gender differences in altruistic behavior and, additionally, in expectations of altruistic behaviour, in a sample of Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdworkers living in the US. In Study 1, we report a mega-analysis of more than 3,500 observations and we show that women are significantly more altruistic than men. In Study 2, we show that both women and men expect women to be more altruistic than men.
    Date: 2018–02

This nep-ltv issue is ©2018 by Maximo Rossi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.