nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2019‒03‒18
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Narratives, Imperatives, and Moral Reasoning By Roland Bénabou; Armin Falk; Jean Tirole
  2. Ethnic Inequality and Poverty in Malaysia Since 1969 By Martin Ravallion
  3. Attitudes Towards Public Health Spending: The Case of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom By Peter Dolton; Mehmet Kutluaye; Richard S.J. Tol

  1. By: Roland Bénabou; Armin Falk; Jean Tirole
    Abstract: By downplaying externalities, magnifying the cost of moral behavior, or suggesting not being pivotal, exculpatory narratives can allow individuals to maintain a positive image when in fact acting in a morally questionable way. Conversely, responsibilizing narratives can help sustain better social norms. We investigate when narratives emerge from a principal or the actor himself, how they are interpreted and transmitted by others, and when they spread virally. We then turn to how narratives compete with imperatives (general moral rules or precepts) as alternative modes of communication to persuade agents to behave in desirable ways.
    Date: 2019–02
  2. By: Martin Ravallion
    Abstract: Ethnic riots broke out in Malaysia in 1969, prompting a national effort at affirmative action favoring the poorer (majority) of “Bumiputera” (mainly Malays). Since then, Malaysia’s official poverty measures indicate one of the fastest long-term rates of poverty reduction in the world, due to both economic growth and falling inequality. Did ethnic inequality fall since 1969 and was that a key factor in the country’s success in reducing poverty and in managing inequality? New measures in this paper indicate a substantial decline in relative ethnic inequality. This brought down national relative inequality, though not enough to prevent rising absolute inequality, given the initial disparities. A new analytic decomposition of the rate of poverty reduction reveals that ethnic redistribution helped reduce poverty, although it was not as important as the overall rate of growth in household incomes. Despite past progress in reducing ethnic inequality, the responsiveness of the national poverty rate to ethnic redistribution remains high even today.
    JEL: I32 O15 O53
    Date: 2019–03
  3. By: Peter Dolton (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK; National Institute of Economic and Social Research, London, UK; IZA, Bonn, Germany; CESifo, Munich, Germany); Mehmet Kutluaye (Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands); Richard S.J. Tol (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK; CESifo, Munich, Germany; Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Payne Institute for Earth Resources, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, USA)
    Abstract: The funding of the NHS in the UK is in perennial crisis. In times of austerity it is difficult to advocate extra health spending from tax revenue. Our central questions are: how much extra do people think should be spent on the NHS; how much extra tax might they be willing to pay; or to what extent would they like to see public money redistributed away from other public services towards the NHS? We answer these questions using a large survey of the UK general public. On average the answers to these questions are $279, $176 and $33 per person, per year, respectively. We examine people's appetite for other measures to increase spending on patients and find that their spending preferences are somewhat related to their own health but strongly related to their age, gender, religious beliefs, political sentiments, and views on the structure of the NHS.
    Keywords: NHS spending, public provision of private good, other regarding preferences, time, risk
    JEL: I12 I18 H51
    Date: 2019–03

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