nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2021‒02‒15
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Covid-19, lockdowns and well-being: evidence from Google trends By Abel Brodeur; Andrew E. Clark; Sarah Flèche; Nattavudh Powdthavee
  2. Myth or Measurement: What Does the New Minimum Wage Research Say about Minimum Wages and Job Loss in the United States? By David Neumark; Peter Shirley
  3. Impacts of Labor Market Institutions and Demographic Factors on Labor Markets in Latin America By Adriana D. Kugler
  4. The Effect of Grandchildren on the Happiness of Grandparents: Does the Grandparent's Child's Gender Matter? By Yamamura, Eiji; Brunello, Giorgio
  5. The Innovation Premium to Soft Skills in Low-Skilled Occupations By Philippe Aghion; Antonin Bergeaud; Richard Blundell; Rachel Griffith
  6. Technological Advance, Social Fragmentation and Welfare By Steven J. Bosworth; Dennis J. Snower
  7. Subjective job insecurity and the rise of the precariat: evidence from the UK, Germany and the United States By Alan Manning; Graham Mazeine

  1. By: Abel Brodeur; Andrew E. Clark; Sarah Flèche; Nattavudh Powdthavee
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led many governments to implement lockdowns. While lockdowns may help to contain the spread of the virus, they may result in substantial damage to population well-being. We use Google Trends data to test whether the lockdowns implemented in Europe and America led to changes in well-being related topic search terms. Using differences-in-differences and a regression discontinuity design to evaluate the causal effects of lockdown, we find a substantial increase in the search intensity for boredom in Europe and the US. We also found a significant increase in searches for loneliness, worry and sadness, while searches for stress, suicide and divorce on the contrary fell. Our results suggest that people's mental health may have been severely affected by the lockdown.
    Keywords: boredom, COVID-19, loneliness, well-being
    JEL: I12 I31 J22
    Date: 2020–05
  2. By: David Neumark; Peter Shirley
    Abstract: The disagreement among studies of the employment effects of minimum wages in the United States is well known. What is less well known, and more puzzling, is the absence of agreement on what the research literature says – that is, how economists even summarize the body of evidence on the employment effects of minimum wages. Summaries range from “it is now well-established that higher minimum wages do not reduce employment,” to “the evidence is very mixed with effects centered on zero so there is no basis for a strong conclusion one way or the other,” to “most evidence points to adverse employment effects.” We explore the question of what conclusions can be drawn from the literature, focusing on the evidence using subnational minimum wage variation within the United States that has dominated the research landscape since the early 1990s. To accomplish this, we assembled the entire set of published studies in this literature and identified the core estimates that support the conclusions from each study, in most cases relying on responses from the researchers who wrote these papers. Our key conclusions are: (i) there is a clear preponderance of negative estimates in the literature; (ii) this evidence is stronger for teens and young adults as well as the less-educated; (iii) the evidence from studies of directly-affected workers points even more strongly to negative employment effects; and (iv) the evidence from studies of low-wage industries is less one-sided.
    JEL: J23 J38
    Date: 2021–01
  3. By: Adriana D. Kugler
    Abstract: This paper documents recent labor market performance in the Latin American region. The paper shows that unemployment, informality, and inequality have been falling over the past two decades, though still remain high. By contrast, productivity has remained stubbornly low. The paper, then, turns to the potential impacts of various labor market institutions, including employment protection legislation (EPL), minimum wages (MW), payroll taxes, unemployment insurance (UI) and collective bargaining, as well as the impacts of demographic changes on labor market performance. The paper relies on evidence from carefully conducted studies based on micro-data for countries in the region and for other countries with similar income levels to draw conclusions on the impact of labor market institutions and demographic factors on unemployment, informality, inequality and productivity. The decreases in unemployment and informality can be partly explained by the reduced strictness of EPL and payroll taxes, but also by the increased shares of more educated and older workers. By contrast, the fall in inequality starting in 2002 can be explained by a combination of binding MW throughout most of the region and, to a lesser extent, by the introduction of UI systems in some countries and the role of unions in countries with moderate unionization rates. Falling inequality can also be explained by the fall in the returns to skill associated with increased share of more educated and older workers.
    Keywords: Employment;Wages;Employment protection;Labor markets;Unemployment;WP,unemployment rate,Gini coefficient,collective bargaining,wage inequality,inequality in Latin America,reservation wage
    Date: 2019–07–17
  4. By: Yamamura, Eiji (Seinan Gakuin University); Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova)
    Abstract: Using a representative sample from Japan and a difference-in-differences strategy, we investigate whether the effect of having grandchildren on the happiness of grandparents varies with the gender of their (own) single child. In line with our expectations, we find that maternal grandmothers have more to lose or less to gain from having grandchildren than paternal grandmothers. In contrast, grandfathers' changes in happiness do not depend on their own child's gender. This result is explained by the fact that grandmothers are more likely to be involved in child-rearing when their daughter has a child.
    Keywords: grandparents, grandchildren, happiness, gender differences
    JEL: J13 J14 J16 I31
    Date: 2021–01
  5. By: Philippe Aghion; Antonin Bergeaud; Richard Blundell; Rachel Griffith
    Abstract: Matched employee-employer data from the UK are used to analyze the wage premium to working in an innovative firm. We find that firms that are more R&D intensive pay higher wages on average, and this is particularly true for workers in some low-skilled occupations. We propose a model in which a firm's innovativeness is reflected in the degree of complementarity between workers in low-skill and high-skilled occupations, and in which non-verifiable soft skills are an important determinant of the wages of workers in low-skilled occupations. The model yields additional predictions on training, tenure and outsourcing which we also find support for in data.
    Keywords: innovation, skill-based technological change, wage, complementarity
    JEL: O33 L23 J31
    Date: 2019–12
  6. By: Steven J. Bosworth; Dennis J. Snower
    Abstract: This paper models the welfare consequences of social fragmentation arising from technological advance. We start from the premise that technological progress falls primarily on market-traded commodities rather than prosocial relationships, since the latter intrinsically require the expenditure of time and thus are less amenable to productivity increases. Since prosocial relationships require individuals to identify with others in their social group whereas marketable commodities are commonly the objects of social status comparisons, a tradeoff arises between in-group affiliation and inter-group status comparisons. People consequently narrow the bounds of their social groups, reducing their prosocial relationships and extending their status-seeking activities. As prosocial relationships generate positive externalities whereas status-seeking activities generate negative preference externalities, technological advance may lead to a particular type of “decoupling” of social welfare from material prosperity. Once the share of status goods in total production exceeds a crucial threshold, techno-logical advance is shown to be welfare-reducing.
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Alan Manning; Graham Mazeine
    Abstract: There is a widespread belief that work is less secure than in the past, that an increasing share of workers are part of the 'precariat'. It has been hard to find evidence for this is objective measures of job security but perhaps subjective measures show different trends. However, this paper shows that in the US, UK and Germany, there is no trend towards increased subjective measures of job security. This conclusion seems robust to controlling for the changing mix of the labour force and true for specific sub-sets of workers.
    Keywords: job security, precariat
    JEL: J28
    Date: 2020–08

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