nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2018‒05‒21
ten papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham’s Happiness for All? By Blanchflower, David G.; Oswald, Andrew J.
  2. Alleviating Global Poverty: Labor Mobility, Direct Assistance, and Economic Growth By Pritchett, Lant
  3. Income Inequality in France, 1900-2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts (DINA) By Bertrand Garbinti, Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty
  4. Women Leaving the Playpen: The Emancipating Role of Female Suffrage By Michaela Slotwinski; Alois Stutzer
  5. Still More on Mariel: The Role of Race By Borjas, George J.
  6. A history of inequality: top incomes in Brazil, 1926?2015 By Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza
  7. Medical Marijuana laws and Mental Health in the United States By Jörg Kalbfuß; Reto Odermatt; Alois Stutzer
  8. Do Opioids Help Injured Workers Recover and Get Back to Work? The Impact of Opioid Prescriptions on Duration of Temporary Disability By Bogdan Savych; David Neumark; Randall Lea
  9. Job Vacancies and Immigration: Evidence from Pre- and Post-Mariel Miami By Jason Anastasopoulos; George J. Borjas; Gavin G. Cook; Michael Lachanski
  10. Jobs for the Heartland: Place-Based Policies in 21st Century America By Benjamin A. Austin; Edward L. Glaeser; Lawrence H. Summers

  1. By: Blanchflower, David G. (Dartmouth College, Stirling, NBER, Bloomberg and IZA); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick, CAGE, and IZA)
    Abstract: In Happiness for All?, Carol Graham raises disquieting ideas about today’s United States.The challenge she puts forward is an important one. Here we review the intellectual case and offer additional evidence. We conclude broadly on the author’s side. Strikingly, Americans appear to be in greater pain than citizens of other countries, and most subgroups of citizens have downwardly trended happiness levels. There is, however, one bright side to an otherwise dark story. The happiness of black Americans has risen strongly since the 1970s. It is now almost equal to that of white Americans.
    Keywords: Happiness; well-being; GHQ; mental-health; depression; life-course JEL Classification: I3, I31
    Date: 2018
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cge:wacage:360&r=ltv
  2. By: Pritchett, Lant (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Decades of programmatic experimentation by development NGOs combined with the latest empirical techniques for estimating program impact have shown that a well-designed, well-implemented, multi-faceted intervention can in fact have an apparently sustained impact on the incomes of the poor (Banerjee et al 2015). The magnitude of the income gains of the “best you can do†via direct interventions to raise the income of the poor in situ is about 40 times smaller than the income gain from allowing people from those same poor countries to work in a high productivity country like the USA. Simply allowing more labor mobility holds vastly more promise for reducing poverty than anything else on the development agenda. That said, the magnitude of the gains from large growth accelerations (and losses from large decelerations) are also many-fold larger than the potential gains from directed individual interventions and the poverty reduction gains from large, extended periods of rapid growth are larger than from targeted interventions and also hold promise (and have delivered) for reducing global poverty.
    Date: 2018–03
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp18-013&r=ltv
  3. By: Bertrand Garbinti, Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty
    Abstract: We combine national accounts, tax and survey data in a comprehensive and consistent manner for France, to build homogenous annual series on the distribution of national income by percentiles, from 1900 to 2014, with detailed breakdown by age, gender and income categories over the 1970-2014 period. Our new series deliver higher inequality levels for the recent decades, because the usual tax-based series miss a rising part of capital income. Growth incidence curves look dramatically different for the 1950-1983 and 1983-2014 periods. We also show that it has become increasingly difficult to access top wealth groups with labor income only. Next, gender inequality in labor income declined in recent decades, albeit fairly slowly among top labor incomes. Finally, we compare the evolution of income inequality between France and the U.S.
    Keywords: income distribution, income inequality, national accounts
    JEL: D31 E01 H2 N34
    Date: 2018
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:bfr:banfra:677&r=ltv
  4. By: Michaela Slotwinski; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: The role of women in Western societies changed dramatically in the 20th century. We study how political empowerment affected women’s emancipation as reflected in their life choices like marital decisions and labor market participation. The staggered introduction of female suffrage in Swiss states allows us to exploit the variation in the age women experienced enfranchisement to estimate the differences in life choices between women who were socialized in a world where women had a formal say in politics and those who were mainly socialized before. Our empirical findings document that political empowerment strongly increased female labor force participation, weakened marital bonds and motivated human capital investment. Moreover, being socialized with female suffrage increased long-term voting participation and perceptions of control. Our evidence suggests that changes in formal political institutions hold the power to change norms.
    Keywords: female suffrage, voting rights, institutions, norms, female labor force participation, marital choices, voting participation, efficacy
    JEL: D02 D72 J12 J16 J22 J24 Z13
    Date: 2018
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7002&r=ltv
  5. By: Borjas, George J. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Card’s (1990) study of the Mariel supply shock remains an important cornerstone of both the literature that measures the labor market impact of immigration, and of the “stylized fact†that immigration might not have much impact on the wage of workers in a receiving country. My recent reappraisal of the Mariel evidence (Borjas, 2017) revealed that the wage of low-skill workers in Miami declined substantially in the years after Mariel, and has already encouraged a number of re-reexaminations. Most recently, Clemens and Hunt (2017) argue that a data quirk in the CPS implies that wage trends in the sample of non-Hispanic prime-age men examined in my paper does not correctly represent what happened to wages in post-Mariel Miami. Specifically, there was a substantial increase in the black share of Miami’s low-skill workforce in the relevant period (particularly between the 1979 and 1980 survey years of the March CPS). Because African-American men earn less than white men, this increase in the black share would spuriously produce a drop in the average low-skill wage in Miami. This paper examines the robustness of the evidence presented in my original paper to statistical adjustments that control for the increasing number of black men in Miami’s low-skill workforce. The evidence consistently indicates that the race-adjusted low-skill wage in Miami fell significantly relative to the wage in other labor markets shortly after 1980 before fully recovering by 1990.
    JEL: J61
    Date: 2017–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp17-029&r=ltv
  6. By: Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "This paper uses income tax tabulations to estimate top income shares in Brazil over the long term. Between 1926 and 2015, the concentration of income at the top remained very high, following a sine wave trend: top shares ebbed and flowed over time, frequently in tandem with political and institutional disruptions. There is some evidence in favour of Williamson's 'missed levelling' hypothesis regarding the origins of Latin America's exceptionally high levels of inequality, but the recent decline in inequality is cast in a more dubious light, since top income shares have remained quite stable since 2000 and the 'tax-adjusted' Gini coefficients show a smaller and shorter, though still sizeable, decrease. The nature of the political regime matters, but democracy is not a sufficient condition for redistribution. Brazil's tumultuous political history suggests top income shares change substantially mostly during political-institutional crises, when the typical quid pro quo of more liberal regimes in normal times collapses. The analysis is complemented by international comparisons and a discussion of the role of institutions in shaping inequality". (...)
    Keywords: history, inequality, top, incomes, Brazil, 1926, 2015
    Date: 2018–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipc:wpaper:167&r=ltv
  7. By: Jörg Kalbfuß; Reto Odermatt; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: The consequences of legal access to medical marijuana for individual welfare are a matter of controversy. We contribute to the ongoing discussion by evaluating the impact of the staggered introduction and extension of medical marijuana laws across US states on self-reported mental health. Our main analysis is based on BRFSS survey data from more than six million respondents between 1993 and 2015. On average, we find that medical marijuana laws lead to a reduction in the self-reported number of days with mental health problems. Reductions are largest for individuals with high propensities to consume marijuana for medical purposes and people who are likely to suffer from chronic pain. Moreover, the introduction of prescription drug monitoring programs lead to a reduction in bad mental health days only in states that allow medical marijuana.
    Keywords: medical marijuana laws, cannabis regulation, mental health, chronic pain, prescription drug monitoring
    JEL: H75 I12 I18 I31 K42
    Date: 2018–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1546&r=ltv
  8. By: Bogdan Savych; David Neumark; Randall Lea
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of opioid prescriptions on the duration of temporary disability benefits among workers with work-related low back injuries. We use local opioid prescribing patterns to construct an instrumental variable that generates variation in opioid prescriptions but is arguably unrelated to injury severity or other factors affecting disability duration. Local prescribing patterns have a strong relationship with whether injured workers receive opioid prescriptions, including longer-term prescriptions. We find that more longer-term opioid prescribing leads to considerably longer duration of temporary disability, but little effect of a small number of opioid prescriptions over a short period of time.
    JEL: I12 I18 J28 J38
    Date: 2018–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24528&r=ltv
  9. By: Jason Anastasopoulos; George J. Borjas; Gavin G. Cook; Michael Lachanski
    Abstract: How does immigration affect labor market opportunities in a receiving country? This paper contributes to the voluminous literature by reporting findings from a new (but very old) data set. Beginning in 1951, the Conference Board constructed a monthly job vacancy index by counting the number of help-wanted ads published in local newspapers in 51 metropolitan areas. We use the Help-Wanted Index (HWI) to document how immigration changes the number of job vacancies in the affected labor markets. Our analysis begins by revisiting the Mariel episode. The data reveal a marked decrease in Miami’s HWI relative to many alternative control groups in the first 4 or 5 years after Mariel, followed by recovery afterwards. We find a similar initial decline in the number of job vacancies after two other supply shocks that hit Miami over the past few decades: the initial wave of Cuban refugees in the early 1960s, as well as the 1995 refugees who were initially detoured to Guantanamo Bay. We also look beyond Miami and estimate the generic spatial correlations that dominate the literature, correlating changes in the HWI with immigration across metropolitan areas. These correlations consistently indicate that more immigration is associated with fewer job vacancies. The trends in the HWI seem to most strongly reflect changing labor market conditions for low-skill workers (in terms of both wages and employment), and a companion textual analysis of help-wanted ads in Miami before and after the Mariel supply shock suggests a slight decline in the relative number of low-skill job vacancies.
    JEL: J6 J61 J63
    Date: 2018–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24580&r=ltv
  10. By: Benjamin A. Austin; Edward L. Glaeser; Lawrence H. Summers
    Abstract: The economic convergence of American regions has greatly slowed, and rates of long-term non-employment have even been diverging. Simultaneously, the rate of non-employment for working age men has nearly tripled over the last 50 years, generating a terrible social problem that is disproportionately centered in the eastern parts of the American heartland. Should more permanent economic divisions across space lead American economists to rethink their traditional skepticism about place-based policies? We document that increases in labor demand appear to have greater impacts on employment in areas where not working has been historically high, suggesting that subsidizing employment in such places could particularly reduce the not working rate. Pro-employment policies, such as a ramped up Earned Income Tax Credit, that are targeted towards regions with more elastic employment responses, however financed, could plausibly reduce suffering and materially improve economic performance.
    JEL: J01 J21 J38 R12 R23
    Date: 2018–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24548&r=ltv

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