nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2021‒07‒19
eight papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Skills, Degrees and Labor Market Inequality By Peter Q. Blair; Papia Debroy; Justin Heck
  2. The impacts of a multifaceted pre-natal intervention on human capital accumulation in early life By Pedro Carneiro; Lucy Kraftman; Giacomo Mason; Lucie Moore; Imran Rasul; Molly Scott
  3. All geared towards success? Cultural origins of gender gaps in student achievement By Holmlund, Helena; Rainer, Helmut; Reich, Patrick
  4. Biden, COVID and Mental Health in America By David G. Blanchflower; Alex Bryson
  5. The institutions of the work-leisure divide By Massimo D'Antoni; Ugo Pagano
  6. For whom are cities good places to live? By Fredrik Carlsen; Stefan Leknes
  7. Does Money Strengthen Our Social Ties? Longitudinal Evidence of Lottery Winners By Costa-Font, Joan; Powdthavee, Nattavudh
  8. Neighborhoods Matter: Assessing the Evidence for Place Effects By Eric Chyn; Lawrence F. Katz

  1. By: Peter Q. Blair; Papia Debroy; Justin Heck
    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, workers 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.
    JEL: I24 I26 J01 J1 J2 J24 J3 J6 L2
    Date: 2021–07
  2. By: Pedro Carneiro (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Lucy Kraftman (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Giacomo Mason (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Lucie Moore (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Imran Rasul (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London and IFS); Molly Scott (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We evaluate an intervention targeting early life nutrition and well-being for households in extreme poverty in Northern Nigeria. The intervention leads to large and sustained improvements in children’s anthropometric and health outcomes, including an 8% reduction in stunting four years post-intervention. These impacts are partly driven by information-related channels. However, the certain and substantial ‡ow of cash transfers is also key. They induce positive labor supply responses among women, and enables them to undertake productive investments in livestock. These provide protein rich diets for children, and generate higher household earnings streams long after the cash transfers expire.
    Date: 2020–12–14
  3. By: Holmlund, Helena (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Rainer, Helmut (University of Munich); Reich, Patrick (ifo Institute)
    Abstract: Although geographical and temporal variations in gender achievement gaps have received considerable attention, the role of culture in explaining this variation is not well understood. We exploit a large Swedish administrative data set to study gender gaps in education among second-generation immigrant youth with different cultural backgrounds. Guided by hypotheses we derive from the economics literature on gender differences and gender convergence, we explore the predictive power of a set of cultural dimensions including achievement orientation, acceptance of inequality, risk avoidance, and long-term orientation. Our empirical strategy relies on within-family, cross-gender sibling comparisons, identifying culture's differential impact on girls relative to boys while netting out unobserved family heterogeneity. We find that the central cultural dimension that matters for gender gaps in student achievement is the extent to which a society emphasizes ambition, competition, and achievement, which is strongly predictive of a relative achievement disadvantage of girls compared with boys. Exploring factors that may explain the results, we find that parents from achievement-oriented cultures choose higher quality schools for their children, and that boys benefit more from exposure to higher quality schools than girls do. Using PISA data to probe external validity, we find qualitatively and quantitatively remarkably similar results in a very different sample of second-generation immigrant youth.
    Keywords: Culture; Achievement Orientation; Gender Gaps in Education
    JEL: J16 Z10
    Date: 2021–07–06
  4. By: David G. Blanchflower (Bruce V. Rauner ’78 Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755-3514. Adam Smith School of Business, University of Glasgow and NBER); Alex Bryson (Professor of Quantitative Social Science, UCL Social Research Institute, University College London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL)
    Abstract: Using US Census Household Pulse Survey data for the period April 2020 to June 2021 we track the evolution of the mental health of nearly 2.3 million Americans during the COVID pandemic. We find anxiety, depression and worry peaked in November 2020, coinciding with the Presidential election. The taking of prescription drugs for mental health conditions peaked two weeks later in December 2020. Mental health improved subsequently such that by April 2021 it was better than it had been a year previously. The probability of having been diagnosed with COVID did not rise significantly in the first half of 2021 but COVID infection rates were higher among the young than the old. COVID diagnoses were significantly lower in States that had voted for Biden in the Presidential Election. The probability of vaccination rose with age, was considerably higher in Biden states, and rose precipitously over the period among the young and old. Anxiety was higher among people in Biden states, whether they had been diagnosed or not, and whether they were vaccinated or not. The association between anxiety and depression and having had COVID was not significant in Biden or Trump states but being vaccinated was associated with lower anxiety and depression, with the effect being larger in Biden states. Whilst being in paid work was associated with lower anxiety, worry and depression and was associated with higher vaccination rates, it also increased the probability of having had COVID.
    Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; mental health; anxiety; depression; worry; vaccination; Biden; Trump
    JEL: I1 I18 I31 I38 H12
    Date: 2021–07–01
  5. By: Massimo D'Antoni; Ugo Pagano
    Abstract: Even in the most advanced societies, individuals seem to live in mutually exclusive social and economic spheres. During their leisure time, there is an increasing supply of all sorts of goods that should allow all sorts of happy activities. During their work time they feel used as increasingly flexible means of production. Institutions, which include consumption, are often excluding production. Institutions, which include production, are often excluding consumption. Standard economic theory has become a powerful ideology justifying this divide. The paper challenges this ideology and proposes a more general approach where in principle all human activities can contribute to final utility as well as to production. Our approach can give a rationale for policies favoring inclusive institutions that try to overcome the work-leisure divide and allow us to move towards a more satisfactory structure of human activitie
    Keywords: work, leisure, economic ideology, institutions of capitalism
    JEL: J18 I31 D13 L21
    Date: 2021–03
  6. By: Fredrik Carlsen (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology); Stefan Leknes (Research Department, Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: In this paper, we use survey data to examine heterogeneity in the urban gradient of subjective well-being. Are some sociodemographic groups more satisfied in cities than others? We find that young, single and childless persons with high income and education generally report higher levels of satisfaction in Norway’s largest city, Oslo, compared to the rest of the country. These results may shed light on why the received literature has produced mixed results, as the sociodemographic composition of city populations, as well as the surveys used to estimate urban gradients in subjective well-being, may vary.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being; life satisfaction; place satisfaction; cities; sociodemographics
    JEL: I31 J10 R23
    Date: 2021–05–04
  7. By: Costa-Font, Joan (London School of Economics); Powdthavee, Nattavudh (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We study the effect of lottery wins on social ties and support network in the United Kingdom. On average, we find that winning more in the lottery increases the probability of meeting friends on most days, which is consistent with the complementary effect of income on social ties. The opposite is true with regards to social ties held for more instrumental reasons such as talking to neighbors. Winning more in the lottery also lessens an individual support network consistently with a substitution for instrumental social ties. However, further robustness checks reveal that the average lottery effects are driven by the few outliers of very large wins in the sample, thus suggesting that small to medium-sized wins (
    Keywords: income, lottery, socialization effect, unearned income, friendships, neighborhood, social ties
    JEL: Z1
    Date: 2021–06
  8. By: Eric Chyn; Lawrence F. Katz
    Abstract: How does one's place of residence affect individual behavior and long-run outcomes? Understanding neighborhood and place effects has been a leading question for social scientists during the past half-century. Recent empirical studies using experimental and quasi-experimental research designs have generated new insights on the importance of residential neighborhoods in childhood and adulthood. This paper summarizes the recent neighborhood effects literature and interprets the findings. Childhood neighborhoods affect long-run economic and educational outcomes in a manner consistent with exposure models of neighborhood effects. For adults, neighborhood environments matter for their health and well-being but have more ambiguous impacts on labor market outcomes. We discuss the evidence on the mechanisms behind the observed patterns and conclude by highlighting directions for future research.
    JEL: H75 I38 R23 R38
    Date: 2021–06

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