nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2020‒02‒24
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Human capital and social mobility in low- and middle-income countries By Behrman Jere
  2. The gender gap in wages over the life course: evidence from a British cohort born in 1958. By Heather Joshi; Alex Bryson; David Wilkinson; Kelly Ward
  3. Health Inequality among Chinese Older Adults: The Role of Childhood Circumstances By Yan, Binjian; Chen, Xi; Gill, Thomas M.
  4. Extending the Race between Education and Technology By David Autor; Claudia Goldin; Lawrence F. Katz
  5. The Cost of Being Too Patient By Giuliano, Paola; Sapienza, Paola
  6. After-School Tutoring, Household Substitution and Student Achievement: Experimental Evidence from Rural China By Jere R. Behrman; C. Simon Fan; Xiangdong Wei; Hongliang Zhang; Junsen Zhang
  7. Linguistic Traits and Human Capital Formation By Oded Galor; Ömer Özak; Assaf Sarid

  1. By: Behrman Jere
    Abstract: Parental human capital and endowments may affect children’s human capital, which in turn may affect children’s earning and occupations and thus affect social mobility.This paper focuses on what we know about these possible links in low- and middle-income countries. It starts with definitions of human capital and endowments and simple frameworks for guiding the summary of what we know and do not know about these links in low- and middle-income countries.It discusses determinants of children’s human capital in the form of cognitive skills, socioemotional skills and health, which pertain directly to some indicators of social mobility; reviews estimates of the impacts of these forms of human capital, which pertain to some other indicators of social mobility, such as incomes and earnings; and concludes with a summary suggesting some positive impacts of parental human capital and endowments on social mobility in low- and middle-income countries and a discussion of gaps in the literature pertaining to both data and methodology.
    Keywords: Human capital,Emotional skills,Cognitive ability,Social mobility,Social skills,Health
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Heather Joshi (University College London); Alex Bryson (University College London, National Institute of Social and Economic Research and Institute for the Study of Labor); David Wilkinson (University College London); Kelly Ward (University College London)
    Abstract: Using data tracking all those born in a single week in Great Britain in 1958 through to their mid-50s we observe an inverse U-shaped gender wage gap (GWG) over their life-course: an initial gap in early adulthood widened substantially during childrearing years, affecting earnings in full-time and part-time jobs. In our descriptive approach, education related differences are minor. Gender differences in work experience are the biggest contributor to that part of the gender wage gap we can explain in our models. Family formation primarily affects the GWG through its impact on work experience. Family composition is similar for male and female workers but attracts opposite wage premia. Not all of the GWG however is linked to family formation. There was a sizeable GWG on labour market entry and there are some otherwise unexplained gaps between the pay of men and women who do not become parents.
    Keywords: family formation, gender wage gap; work experience; life course; NCDS birth cohort
    JEL: J16 J31
    Date: 2019–10–01
  3. By: Yan, Binjian (Nanjing University); Chen, Xi (Yale University); Gill, Thomas M. (Yale University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the extent to which childhood circumstances contribute to health inequality in old age and how the contributions may vary across key dimensions of health. We link the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) in 2013 and 2015 with its Life History Survey in 2014 to quantify health inequality due to childhood circumstances for which they have little control. We evaluate comprehensive dimensions of health ranging from cognitive health, mental health, physical health, self-rated health to mortality. Our analytic sample includes about 8,000 Chinese persons age above 60. Using the Shapley value decomposition approach, we first show that childhood circumstances may explain 1-23 percent of health inequality in old age across multiple health outcomes. Second, while both direct health-related circumstances and indirect health-related circumstances contribute significantly to health inequality, the latter tends to be more sizable. Our findings support the value of a life course approach in identifying the key determinants of health in old age.
    Keywords: life course approach, inequality of opportunity, physical health, cognitive ability, mental health, mortality
    JEL: I14 D63 I18 J13 J14
    Date: 2019–12
  4. By: David Autor; Claudia Goldin; Lawrence F. Katz
    Abstract: The race between education and technology provides a canonical framework that does an excellent job of explaining U.S. wage structure changes across the twentieth century. The framework involves secular increases in the demand for more-educated workers from skill-biased technological change, combined with variations in the supply of skills from changes in educational access. We expand the analysis backwards and forwards. The framework helps explain rising skill differentials in the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, but needs to be augmented to illuminate the recent convexification of education returns and implied slowdown in the growth of the relative demand for college workers. Increased educational wage differentials explain 75 percent of the rise of U.S. wage inequality from 1980 to 2000 as compared to 38 percent for 2000 to 2017.
    JEL: J2 J31
    Date: 2020–01
  5. By: Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles); Sapienza, Paola (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: We study the cost of being too patient on happiness. We find that the relationship between patience and various measures of subjective well-being is hump- shaped: it exists an optimal amount of patience that maximizes happiness. Beyond this optimal level, higher levels of patience have a negative impact on well-being.
    Keywords: patience, happiness
    JEL: A10 D9 Z1
    Date: 2020–01
  6. By: Jere R. Behrman (University of Pennsylvania); C. Simon Fan (Lingnan University); Xiangdong Wei (Lingnan University); Hongliang Zhang (Hong Kong Baptist University); Junsen Zhang (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
    Abstract: Worldwide children’s access to after-school learning activities is highly depen-dent on family backgrounds. Concern over the implications of such activities for child development and educational inequality has led to a global rise of public provision of after-school learning support. However little is known about inter-actions of public after-school activities and household investments in children’s learning. This paper contributes to the literature on the e?ects of public inputs on household inputs and student achievement in after-school settings. We build a model that integrates public and private inputs to produce student achievement through two competing mechanisms – diminishing returns to total inputs and complementarity between public and private inputs. When diminishing returns dominate complementarity, the model predicts the substitution away of private inputs due to increases in public inputs for all households, although the extent of crowding-out is smaller and therefore the test score gains are larger for children from disadvantaged family backgrounds facing higher costs of private inputs. We implement a randomized controlled after-school tutoring experiment in rural China where many children are left-behind by both parents and cared for by grandparents. During the program, tutees living with parents reported large and significant reductions in the amount of tutoring received at home, whereas tutees living apart from both parents reported much smaller, and often insignificant, re-ductions. We find that tutees’ math scores improved significantly, and more for children living without parents, although there is no evidence for improvement in tutees’ endline reading scores.Length: 50 pages
    Keywords: inequality of educational opportunity; after-school tutoring; home tutoring
    JEL: F63 I24 I25
    Date: 2020–01–20
  7. By: Oded Galor; Ömer Özak; Assaf Sarid
    Abstract: This research establishes the influence of linguistic traits on human behavior. Exploiting variations in the languages spoken by children of migrants with identical ancestral countries of origin, the analysis indicates that the presence of periphrastic future tense, and its association with long-term orientation has a significant positive impact on educational attainment, whereas the presence of sex-based grammatical gender, and its association with gender bias, has a significant adverse impact on female educational attainment.
    JEL: D91 I25 J16 J24 Z13
    Date: 2020–01

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