nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2021‒07‒12
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. The Dynastic Benefits of Early Childhood Education By Jorge Luis Garcia; Frederik Bennhoff; Duncan Ermini Leaf; James J. Heckman
  2. Motherhood and the Allocation of Talent By Berniell, Maria Ines; Berniell, Lucila; De la Mata, Dolores; Edo, María; Fawaz, Yarine; Machado, Matilde P.; Marchionni, Mariana
  3. The Risk of Automation in Latin America By Leonardo Gasparini; Irene Brambilla; Guillermo Falcone; Carlo Lombardo; Andrés César
  4. Skills, Degrees, and Labor Market Inequality By Peter Blair; Papia Debroy; Justin Heck
  5. Inequality of Opportunity in Household Income, China 2002-2018 By Yang, Xiuna; Gustafsson, Björn Anders; Sicular, Terry
  6. Intergenerational transmission of lockdown consequences: Prognosis of the longer-run persistence of COVID-19 in Latin America By Neidhöfer, Guido; Lustig, Nora; Tommasi, Mariano
  7. Did COVID-19 Affect the Division of Labor within the Household? Evidence from Two Waves of the Pandemic in Italy By Del Boca, Daniela; Oggero, Noemi; Profeta, Paola; Rossi, Maria Cristina

  1. By: Jorge Luis Garcia (Clemson University); Frederik Bennhoff (The University of Chicago); Duncan Ermini Leaf (University of Southern California); James J. Heckman (The University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper monetizes the life-cycle intragenerational and intergenerational benefits of the Perry Preschool Project, a pioneering high-quality early childhood education program implemented before Head Start that targeted disadvantaged African-Americans and was evaluated by a randomized trial. It has the longest follow-up of any experimentally evaluated early childhood education program. We follow participants into late midlife as well as their children into adulthood. Impacts on the original participants and their children generate substantial benefits. Access to life-cycle data enables us to evaluate the accuracy of widely used schemes to forecast life-cycle benefits from early-life test scores, which we find wanting.
    Keywords: cost-benefit analysis, dynastic benefits, early childhood education, intergenerational program evaluation, life-cycle benefits
    JEL: J13 I28 C93 H43
    Date: 2021–06
  2. By: Berniell, Maria Ines (University of La Plata); Berniell, Lucila (Development Bank of Latin America); De la Mata, Dolores (Development Bank of Latin America); Edo, María (Universidad de San Andrés); Fawaz, Yarine (CEMFI, Madrid); Machado, Matilde P. (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Marchionni, Mariana (Universidad Nacional de la Plata)
    Abstract: In this paper we show that motherhood triggers changes in the allocation of talent in the labor market besides the well-known effects on gender gaps in employment and earnings. We use an event study approach with retrospective data for 29 countries drawn from SHARE to assess the labor market responses to motherhood across groups with different educational attainment, math ability by the age of 10, and personality traits. We find that while even the most talented women— both in absolute terms and relative to their husbands—leave the labor market or uptake part-time jobs after the birth of the first child, all men, including the least talented, stay employed. We also find that motherhood induces a negative selection of talents into self-employment. Overall, our results suggest relevant changes in the allocation of talent caused by gender differences in nonmarket responsibilities that can have sizable impacts on aggregate market productivity. We also show that the size of labor market responses to motherhood are larger in societies with more conservative social-norms or with weaker policies regarding work-life balance.
    Keywords: child penalty, part-time, self-employment, motherhood, allocation of Talent
    JEL: J13 J16 J22 J24
    Date: 2021–06
  3. By: Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Irene Brambilla (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Guillermo Falcone (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Carlo Lombardo (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Andrés César (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP)
    Abstract: In this paper we characterize workers’ vulnerability to automation in the near future in the six largest Latin American economies as a function of the exposure to routinization of the tasks that they perform and the potential automation of their occupation. We combine (i) indicators of potential automatability by occupation and (ii) worker’s information on occupation and other labor variables. We find that the ongoing process of automation is likely to significantly affect the structure of employment. In particular, unskilled and semi-skilled workers are likely to bear a disproportionate share of the adjustment costs. Automation will probably be a more dangerous threat for equality than for overall employment.
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 O33
    Date: 2021–06
  4. By: Peter Blair (Harvard Graduate School of Education); Papia Debroy (Opportunity@Work); Justin Heck (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
    Abstract: Over the past four decades, income inequality grew significantly between workers with bachelor’s degrees and those with high school diplomas (often called “unskilled”). Rather than being unskilled, we argue that these workers are STARs because they are skilled through alternative routes—namely their work experience. Using the skill requirements of a worker’s current job as a proxy of their actual skill, we find that though both groups of workers make transitions to occupations requiring similar skills to their previous occupations, worke rs with bachelor’s degrees have dramatically better access to higher wage occupations where the skill requirements exceed the workers’ observed skill. This measured opportunity gap offers a fresh explanation of income inequality by degree status and reestablishes the important role of on-the-job training in human capital formation.
    Keywords: occupational training, college education, opportunity gap
    JEL: I21 J24 J62
    Date: 2021–06
  5. By: Yang, Xiuna (China Development Research Foundation); Gustafsson, Björn Anders (University of Gothenburg); Sicular, Terry (University of Western Ontario)
    Abstract: This study contributes to the literature on inequality of opportunity (IOp) in China by covering a longer and more recent span of time, employing better measures of given characteristics, and analyzing IOp for household income per capita with comparisons to individual income. Furthermore, we study how IOp differs between the rural- and urban-born, and how IOp changes across birth cohorts and with age. We use 2002, 2013 and 2018 data from the Chinese Household Income Study and focus on income inequality among working-age persons. Between the years of study, IOp in China declined, especially between 2013 and 2018. In 2002 the large contributors to IOp were region, hukou type at birth, and parents' characteristics. In 2018 the contributions of region, hukou type at birth and parents' occupation had decreased, but that of parents' education had increased. We find that IOp is larger among those born in rural than urban China. Furthermore, IOP's contribution to total inequality within each birth cohort is highest earlier in individuals' work lives and declines with age. IOp is higher for older than younger birth cohorts, reflecting that younger cohorts have benefited from increased opportunities associated with China's reforms and opening up.
    Keywords: Gini, income inequality, inequality of opportunity, China
    JEL: D31 D63 J62
    Date: 2021–06
  6. By: Neidhöfer, Guido; Lustig, Nora; Tommasi, Mariano
    Abstract: The shock on human capital caused by COVID-19 is likely to have long lasting consequences, especially for children of low-educated families. Applying a counterfactual exercise we project the effects of school closures and other lockdown policies on the intergenerational persistence of education in 17 Latin American countries. First, we retrieve detailed information on school lockdowns and on the policies enacted to support education from home in each country. Then, we use these information to estimate the potential impact of the pandemic on schooling, high school completion, and intergenerational associations. In addition, we account for educational disruptions related to household income shocks. Our findings show that, despite that mitigation policies were able to partly reduce instructional losses in some countries, the educational attainment of the most vulnerable could be seriously affected. In particular, the likelihood of children from low educated families to attain a secondary schooling degree could fall substantially.
    Keywords: COVID-19,lockdowns,human capital,school closures,intergenerational persistence,education,inequality,Latin America
    JEL: I24 I38 J62
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Del Boca, Daniela (University of Turin); Oggero, Noemi (University of Turin); Profeta, Paola (Bocconi University); Rossi, Maria Cristina (University of Turin)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on families' lives, with parents all over the world struggling to meet the increased demands of housework, childcare and home-schooling. Much of the additional burden has been shouldered by women, particularly in countries with a traditionally uneven division of household labor. Yet the dramatic increase in remote work from home since the pandemic also has the potential to increase paternal involvement in family life and thus to redress persistent domestic gender role inequalities. This effect depends on the working arrangements of each partner, whether working remotely, working at their usual workplace or ceasing work altogether. We examine the role of working arrangements during the pandemic on the traditional division of household labor in Italy using survey data from interviews with a representative sample of working women conducted during the two waves of COVID-19 (April and November 2020). Our data show that the gender gap in household care related activities was widest during the first wave of the pandemic, and although it was less pronounced during the second wave, it was still higher than pre-COVID-19. The time spent by women on housework, childcare, and assisting their children with distance learning did not depend on their partners' working arrangements. Conversely, men spent fewer hours helping with the housework and distance learning when their partners were at home. It is interesting, however, that although men who worked remotely or not at all did devote more time to domestic chores and child care, the increased time they spent at home did not seem to lead to a reallocation of couples' roles in housework and child care. Finally, we find that working arrangements are linked to women's feelings of uncertainty, with heterogeneous effects by level of education.
    Keywords: COVID-19, work arrangements, housework, childcare, distance learning
    JEL: J13 J16 J21
    Date: 2021–06

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