nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2020‒09‒28
ten papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Wages, Experience and Training of Women over the Lifecycle By Richard Blundell; Monica Costa Dias; David Goll; Costas Meghir
  2. Who are the Essential and Frontline Workers? By Blau, Francine D.; Koebe, Josefine; Meyerhofer, Pamela
  3. Big Data and Happiness By Rossouw, Stephanie; Greyling, Talita
  4. A Second Chance? Labor Market Returns to Adult Education Using School Reforms By Bennett, Patrick; Blundell, Richard; Salvanes, Kjell G.
  5. Expanding the Measurement of Culture with a Sample of Two Billion Humans By Nick Obradovich; Ömer Özak; Ignacio Martín; Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín; Edmond Awad; Manuel Cebrián; Rubén Cuevas; Klaus Desmet; Iyad Rahwan; Ángel Cuevas
  6. Large Losses from Little Lies: Randomly Assigned Opportunity to Misrepresent Substantially Lowers Later Cooperation and Worsens Income Inequality By Drouvelis, Michalis; Gerson, Jennifer; Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Riyanto, Yohanes E.
  7. Now Unions Increase Job Satisfaction and Well-being By David G. Blanchflower; Alex Bryson
  8. Intergenerational Effects of Early-Life Advantage: Lessons from a Primate Study By Amanda Dettmer; James J. Heckman; Juan Pantano; Victor Ronda; Stephen Suomi
  9. Gender and Culture By Giuliano, Paola
  10. The Persistence of Socio-Emotional Skills: Life Cycle and Intergenerational Evidence By Orazio Attanasio; Áureo de Paula; Alessandro Toppeta

  1. By: Richard Blundell (University College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Monica Costa Dias (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Porto); David Goll (University College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Costas Meghir (Cowles Foundation, Yale University, NBER, IZA, CEPR, and Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We investigate the role of training in reducing the gender wage gap using the UK-BHPS. Based on a lifecycle model and using tax and welfare benefit reforms as a source of exogenous variation we evaluate the role of formal training and experience in defining the evolution of wages and employment careers, conditional on education. Training is potentially important in compensating for the e?ects of children, especially for women who left education after completing high school, but does not fundamentally change the wage gap resulting from labor market interruptions following child birth.
    Keywords: Workplace training, On the job training, Female labor supply, Gender wage differentials, Human capital, Fertility and the gender wage gap, Lifecycle labor supply
    JEL: E24 H24 I26 I28 J16 J22 J24 J31 J71
    Date: 2019–04
  2. By: Blau, Francine D. (Cornell University); Koebe, Josefine (University of Hamburg); Meyerhofer, Pamela (Montana State University)
    Abstract: Identifying essential and frontline workers and understanding their characteristics is useful for policymakers and researchers in targeting social insurance and safety net policies in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We develop a working definition that may inform additional research and policy discussion and provide data on the demographic and labor market composition of these workers. In a three-step approach, we first apply the official industry guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to microdata from the 2017 and 2018 American Community Survey to identify essential workers regardless of actual operation status of their industry. We then use data on the feasibility of work from home in the worker's occupation group (Dingel and Neiman 2020) to identify those most likely to be frontline workers who worked in-person early in the COVID-19 crisis in March/April 2020. In a third step we exclude industries that were shutdown or running under limited demand at that time (Vavra, 2020). We find that the broader group of essential workers comprises a large share of the labor force and tends to mirror its demographic and labor market characteristics. In contrast, the narrower category of frontline workers is, on average, less educated, has lower wages, and has a higher representation of men, disadvantaged minorities, especially Hispanics, and immigrants. These results hold even when excluding industries that were shutdown or operating at a limited level.
    Keywords: COVID-19, essential workers, frontline workers, gender, race differences, hispanics, immigrants
    JEL: J15 J16 J21
    Date: 2020–08
  3. By: Rossouw, Stephanie; Greyling, Talita
    Abstract: The pursuit of happiness. What does that mean? Perhaps a more prominent question to ask is, 'how does one know whether people have succeeded in their pursuit'? Survey data, thus far, has served us well in determining where people see themselves on their journey. However, in an everchanging world, one needs high-frequency data instead of data released with significant time-lags. High-frequency data, which stems from Big Data, allows policymakers access to virtually real-time information that can assist in effective decision-making to increase the quality of life for all. Additionally, Big Data collected from, for example, social media platforms give researchers unprecedented insight into human behaviour, allowing significant future predictive powers.
    Keywords: Happiness,Big Data,Sentiment analysis
    JEL: C88 I31 I39 J18
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Bennett, Patrick (Norwegian School of Economics); Blundell, Richard (University College London); Salvanes, Kjell G. (Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: Roughly one third of a cohort drop out of high school across OECD countries, and developing effective tools to address prime-aged high school dropouts is a key policy question. We leverage high quality Norwegian register data, and for identification we exploit reforms enabling access to high school for adults above the age of 25. The paper finds that considerable increases in high school completion and beyond among women lead to higher earnings, increased employment, and decreased fertility. As male education remains unchanged by the reforms, later life education reduces the pre-existing gender earnings gap by a considerable fraction.
    Keywords: adult education, returns to education, fertility, gender inequality
    JEL: I26 I28 J13
    Date: 2020–08
  5. By: Nick Obradovich (Center for Humans and Machines, Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Ömer Özak (Southern Methodist University); Ignacio Martín (Universidad Carlos III); Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín (Universidad Carlos III); Edmond Awad (University of Exeter Business School); Manuel Cebrián (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Rubén Cuevas (Universidad Carlos III); Klaus Desmet (Southern Methodist University); Iyad Rahwan (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Ángel Cuevas (Universidad Carlos III)
    Abstract: Culture has played a pivotal role in human evolution. Yet, the ability of social scientists to study culture is limited by the currently available measurement instruments. Scholars of culture must regularly choose between scalable but sparse survey-based methods or restricted but rich ethnographic methods. Here, we demonstrate that massive online social networks can advance the study of human culture by providing quantitative, scalable, and high-resolution measurement of behaviorally revealed cultural values and preferences. We employ publicly available data across nearly 60,000 topic dimensions drawn from two billion Facebook users across 225 countries and territories. We first validate that cultural distances calculated from this measurement instrument correspond to traditional survey-based and objective measures of cross-national cultural differences. We then demonstrate that this expanded measure enables rich insight into the cultural landscape globally at previously impossible resolution. We analyze the importance of national borders in shaping culture, explore unique cultural markers that identify subnational population groups, and compare subnational divisiveness to gender divisiveness across countries. The global collection of massive data on human behavior provides a high-dimensional complement to traditional cultural metrics. Further, the granularity of the measure presents enormous promise to advance scholars’ understanding of additional fundamental questions in the social sciences. The measure enables detailed investigation into the geopolitical stability of countries, social cleavages within both small and large-scale human groups, the integration of migrant populations, and the disaffection of certain population groups from the political process, among myriad other potential future applications.
    Keywords: Culture, Cultural Distance, Identity, Regional Culture, Gender Differences, Economic Development
    JEL: C80 F1 J1 O10 R10 Z10
    Date: 2020–09
  6. By: Drouvelis, Michalis (University of Birmingham); Gerson, Jennifer (University of London); Powdthavee, Nattavudh (University of Warwick); Riyanto, Yohanes E. (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
    Abstract: Social media has made anonymized behavior online a prevalent part of many people's daily interactions. The implications of this new ability to hide one's identity information remain imperfectly understood. Might it be corrosive to human cooperation? This paper investigates the possibility that a small deceptive act of misrepresenting some information about one's real identity to others – a social media-related behavior commonly known as 'catfishing' – increases the likelihood that the individual will go on to behave uncooperatively in an otherwise anonymous prisoner's dilemma game. In our intention-to-treat analysis, we demonstrated that randomly allowing people to misrepresent their gender identity information reduced the aggregate cooperation level by approximately 12-13 percentage points. Not only that the average catfisher was substantially more likely to go on to defect than participants in the control and the true gender groups, those who were paired with a potential catfisher also defected significantly more often as well. Participants also suffered a significant financial loss from having been randomly matched with a catfisher; 64% of those who played against someone who chose to misrepresent information about their gender received a payoff of zero from the prisoner's dilemma game. Our results suggest that even small short-term opportunities to misrepresent one's identity to others can potentially be extremely harmful to later human cooperation and the economic well-being of the victims.
    Keywords: cooperation, misrepresentation, social media, social dilemma, experiment
    JEL: C92 D91
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: David G. Blanchflower (University of Stirling, GLO, Bloomberg and NBER); Alex Bryson (University College London, NIESR and IZA)
    Abstract: Using data from the United States and Europe on nearly two million respondents we show the partial correlation between union membership and employee job satisfaction is positive and statistically significant. This runs counter to findings in the seminal work of Freeman (1978) and Borjas (1979) in the 1970s and most empirical studies since. With data for the United States we show the association between union membership and job satisfaction switched from negative to positive in the 2000s. Cohorts with positive union effects over time come to dominate those with negative effects. The negative association between membership and job satisfaction is apparent in cohorts born in the 1940s and 1950s but turns positive for those born between the 1960s and 1990s. Analyses for Europe since the 2000s confirm the positive association between union membership and worker wellbeing is apparent elsewhere. We also find evidence in the United Kingdom from panel estimation of a positive relation between union membership and job satisfaction. We find positive union associations with other aspects of worker wellbeing including life satisfaction and happiness, several macro variables and various measures of trust. Union members are also less likely to be stressed, worried, depressed, sad or lonely. The findings have important implications for our understanding of trade unionism.
    Keywords: : union membership; job satisfaction; worker wellbeing; trust; age; cohort effects; union density
    JEL: J28 J50 J51
    Date: 2020–08–01
  8. By: Amanda Dettmer (Yale Child Study Center); James J. Heckman (The University of Chicago); Juan Pantano (Center for the Economics of Human Development); Victor Ronda (Aarhus University); Stephen Suomi (National Institute of Child Health & Human Development)
    Abstract: This paper uses three decades of studies with Rhesus monkeys to investigate the intergenerational effects of early life advantage. Monkeys and their offspring were both randomly assigned to be reared together or apart from their mothers. We document significant intergenerational effects of maternal presence. We also estimate, for the first time, the intergenerational complementarity of early life advantage, where the intergenerational effects of maternal rearing are only present for offspring that were mother-reared. This finding suggests that parenting is the primary mechanism driving the intergenerational effects. Our paper demonstrates how studies of primates can inform human development.
    Keywords: maternal influence, animal studies, early-life adversity, intergenerational treatment effects, intergenerational complementarity
    JEL: I12 C21
    Date: 2020–08
  9. By: Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on gender and culture. Gender gaps in various outcomes (competitiveness, labor force participation, and performance in mathematics, amongst many others) show remarkable differences across countries and tend to persist over time. The economics literature initially explained these differences by looking at standard economic variables such as the level of development, women's education, the expansion of the service sector, and discrimination. More recent literature has argued that gender differences in a variety of outcomes could reflect underlying cultural values and beliefs. This article reviews the literature on the relevance of culture in the determination of different forms of gender gap. I examine how differences in historical situations could have been relevant in generating gender differences and the conditions under which gender norms tend to be stable or to change over time, emphasizing the role of social learning. Finally, I review the role of different forms of cultural transmission in shaping gender differences, distinguishing between channels of vertical transmission (the role of the family), horizontal transmission (the role of peers), and oblique transmission (the role of teachers or role models).
    Keywords: gender, culture, social norms
    JEL: A13 J16 Z1
    Date: 2020–08
  10. By: Orazio Attanasio (University College London); Áureo de Paula (University College London); Alessandro Toppeta (University College London)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the evolution of socio-emotional skills over the life cycle and across generations. We start by characterising the evolution of these skills in the first part of the life cycle. We then examine whether parents’ socio-emotional skills in early childhood rather than in adolescence are more predictive of their children’s socio-emotional skills. We exploit data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and focus on two dimensions of socioemotional skills: internalizing and externalizing skills, linked respectively to the ability of focusing attention and engaging in interpersonal activities. When looking at the evolution of socio-emotional skills over the life cycle, we notice a considerable amount of persistence which leads to a rejection of the simple Markov dynamic models often used in the literature. The BCS70 contains data on the skills of three generations. Moreover, the skills for cohort members and their children are not observed at the same calendar time, but at similar ages. We establish that parents’ and children’s socio-emotional skills during early childhood are comparable and estimate intergenerational mobility in socio-emotional skills, examining the link between the parent’s socio-emotional skills at age 5, 10 and 16 and the child’s socio-emotional skills between ages 3 and 16. We show that the magnitudes of intergenerational persistence estimates are smaller than the magnitude of intergenerational persistence estimates in occupation and income found for the United Kingdom. Finally, we estimate multi-generational persistence in socio-emotional skills and find that the grandmother’s internalizing skill correlates with the grandchild’s socio-emotional skills even after controlling for parental skills.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, Inequality, socio-emotional skills, spectral gap mobility index
    JEL: J62 D63 I21 J24
    Date: 2020–09

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