nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2019‒06‒24
six papers chosen by

  1. Sibling Differences in Educational Polygenic Scores: How Do Parents React? By Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna; Terskaya, Anastasia
  2. Gender Gaps in Labor Informality: The Motherhood Effect By Inés Berniell; Lucila Berniell; Dolores de la Mata; María Edo; Mariana Marchionni
  3. The Measurement of Health Inequalities: Does Status Matter? By Costa-Font, Joan; Cowell, Frank A.
  4. A Local Community Course that Raises Mental Wellbeing and Pro-Sociality By Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Daisy Fancourt; Christian Krekel; Richard Layard
  5. Commuting, Migration and Local Joblessness By Michael Amior; Alan Manning
  6. Are Women Status-Ranking Averse? By Jordi Brandts; Klarita Gërxhani; Arthur Schram

  1. By: Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna (Universidad de Alicante); Terskaya, Anastasia (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: We take advantage of recent advances in behavioral genetics to revisit a classic question in economics: how do parents respond to children's endowments and to differences in endowments among siblings? Parental investment decisions depend both on parental preferences regarding inequality in the distribution of their children's quality and on how costly it is for parents to add to their children's quality by investing in their human capital (or the price effect). Our empirical strategy allows us to isolate the effect of parental preferences regarding equality from the price effect, a distinction that cannot be made when relying on sibling or twin fixed-effects models. Importantly, we use genetic variants that predict educational attainment as a measure of children's educational endowments. Individuals' genetic makeup is fixed at conception, so these indicators cannot be affected by parental investment decisions. We find evidence that parents of non-twin siblings display inequality aversion and, given the absolute endowment level of one child, they invest more in him/her if his/her sibling is better-endowed. In contrast, parents of twins do not significantly react to endowment differences among their children, likely because it is difficult to provide differential parental investments across children of exactly the same age.
    Keywords: intra-household allocation of resources, educational polygenic scores, parental investments, endogenous fertility, add health
    JEL: D13 D64 J13 J24
    Date: 2019–05
  2. By: Inés Berniell (Centro de Estudios Distributivos Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Lucila Berniell (CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, Research Department); Dolores de la Mata (CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, Research Department); María Edo (Universidad de San Andr´es and CONICET); Mariana Marchionni (Centro de Estudios Distributivos Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata and CONICET)
    Abstract: Recent work has quantified the large negative effects of motherhood on female labor market outcomes in Europe and the US. But these results may not apply to developing countries, where labor markets work differently and informality is widespread. In less developed countries, informal jobs, which typically include microenterprises and self-employment, offer more time flexibility but poorer social protection and lower labor earnings. These characteristics affect the availability of key inputs in the technology to raise children, and therefore may affect the interplay between parenthood and labor market outcomes. Through an event-study approach we estimate short and long-run labor market impacts of children in Chile, an OECD developing country with a relatively large informal sector. We find that the birth of the first child has strong and long lasting effects on labor market outcomes of Chilean mothers, while fathers remain unaffected. Becoming a mother implies a sharp decline in mothers’ labor supply, both in the extensive and intensive margins, and in hourly wages. We also show that motherhood affects the occupational structure of employed mothers, as the share of jobs in the informal sector increases remarkably. In order to quantify what the motherhood effect would have been in the absence of an informal labor market, we build a quantitative model economy, that includes an informal sector which offers more flexible working hours at the expense of lower wages and weaker social protection, and a technology to produce child quality that combines time, material resources and the quality of social protection services. We perform a counterfactual experiment that indicates that the existence of the informal sector in Chile helps to reduce the drop in LFP after motherhood in about 35%. We conclude that mothers find in the informal sector the flexibility to cope with both family and labor responsibilities, although at the cost of resigning contributory social protection and reducing their labor market prospects.
    JEL: J13 J16
    Date: 2019–06
  3. By: Costa-Font, Joan (London School of Economics); Cowell, Frank A. (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Approaches to measuring health inequalities are often problematic in that they use methods that are inappropriate for categorical data. The approach here focuses on "pure" or univariate health inequality (rather than income-related or bivariate health inequality) and is based on a concept of individual status that allows a consistent treatment of such data. We use several versions of the status concept and apply methods for treating categorical data to examine self-assessed health inequality for the countries contained in the World Health Survey; we also use regression analysis on the apparent determinants of these health inequality estimates. Our findings indicate major differences in health-inequality rankings depending on the status concept. We find evidence that health inequalities vary with median health status alongside indicators of institutional performance.
    Keywords: health inequality, categorical data, entropy measures, health surveys, upward status, downward status
    JEL: D63 H23 I18
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; Daisy Fancourt; Christian Krekel; Richard Layard
    Abstract: Although correlates of mental wellbeing have been extensively studied, little is known about how to effectively raise mental wellbeing in local communities. We conduct a randomised controlled trial of the "Exploring What Matters" course, a scalable social-psychological intervention aimed at raising general adult population mental wellbeing and pro-sociality. The course is run by volunteers in their local communities, and is currently conducted in more than nineteen countries around the world. We find that it has strong positive causal effects on participants' self-reported subjective wellbeing and pro-social behaviour while reducing measures of mental ill health. Impacts seem to be sustained two months post-treatment. Biomarkers are noisy and mostly insignificant. However, there is some evidence that, for certain individuals, effects on self-reported outcomes may be accompanied by positive changes in biomarker outcomes, in particular reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6.
    Keywords: wellbeing, pro-social behaviour, communities, intervention, RCT
    JEL: C93 I12 I31
    Date: 2019–06
  5. By: Michael Amior; Alan Manning
    Abstract: Britain suffers from persistent spatial disparities in employment rates. This paper develops an integrated framework for analyzing two forces expected to equalize economic opportunity across areas: commuting and migration. Our framework is applicable to any level of spatial aggregation, and we use it to assess their contribution to labor market adjustment across British wards (or neighborhoods). Commuting offers only limited insurance against local shocks, because commutes are typically short and shocks are heavily correlated spatially. Analogously, migration fails to fully equalize opportunity because of strong temporal correlation in local demand shocks.
    Keywords: spatial inequality, commuting, migration
    JEL: J21 J61 J64 R23
    Date: 2019–06
  6. By: Jordi Brandts (Institute for Economic Analysis, CSIC, Barcelona); Klarita Gërxhani (European University Institute); Arthur Schram (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Competition involves two dimensions, rivalry for resources and social-status ranking. In our experiment we exclude the first dimension and investigate gender differences in the preference for status ranking. Participants perform a task under non-rivalry incentives. Before doing so, individuals indicate whether they prefer to do the task in an environment with social-status ranking or one without, knowing whether or not the choice will be imposed upon the whole group (as opposed to being personal) and whether the ranking will be done by a man or a woman. We find no gender difference in mean status-ranking aversion when the ranking is personal. When the ranking is imposed, there are still no gender differences in the preferences for social ranking when the ranker is a women, and women are not affected by the ranker’s gender. With a male ranker, however, men have a much stronger desire to be ranked than with a female ranker.
    Keywords: status ranking, competition, gender
    JEL: C91 J16
    Date: 2019–06–10

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