nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2021‒08‒23
nine papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Long Term Effects of Cash Transfer Programs in Colombia By Orazio Attanasio; Lina Cardona Sosa; Carlos Medina; Costas Meghir; Christian Manuel Posso-Suárez
  2. The Lasting Effects of Early Childhood Education on Promoting the Skills and Social Mobility of Disadvantaged African Americans By Jorge Luis García; James J. Heckman; Victor Ronda
  3. The measurement of health inequalities: does status matter? By Costa-Font, Joan; Cowell, Frank
  4. The Analysis of Human Feelings: A Practical Suggestion for a Robustness Test By Bloem, Jeffrey R.; Oswald, Andrew J.
  5. Economic Insecurity and Well-being By Lars Osberg
  6. Macroeconomic Misery by Levels of Income in America By Martin Ravallion
  7. Labor Market Returns and the Evolution of Cognitive Skills: Theory and Evidence By Santiago Hermo; Miika M. Päällysaho; David G. Seim; Jesse M. Shapiro
  8. Long Run Effects of Aid: Forecasts and Evidence from Sierra Leone By Katherine Casey; Rachel Glennerster; Edward Miguel; Maarten J. Voors
  9. Athletes Greatly Benefit from Participation in Sports at the College and Secondary Level By Heckman, James J.; Loughlin, Colleen P.

  1. By: Orazio Attanasio; Lina Cardona Sosa; Carlos Medina; Costas Meghir; Christian Manuel Posso-Suárez
    Abstract: Conditional Cash transfer (CCT) programs have been shown to have positive effects on a variety of outcomes including education, consumption and health visits, amongst others. We estimate the long-run impacts of the urban version of Familias en Acción, the Colombian CCT program on crime, teenage pregnancy, high school dropout and college enrollment using a Regression Discontinuity design on administrative data. ITT estimates show a reduction on arrest rates of 2.7pp for men and a reduction on teenage pregnancy of 2.3pp for women. High school dropout rates were reduced by 5.8pp and college enrollment was increased by 1.7pp for men.
    JEL: D04 I23 I28 I31 J13 K42
    Date: 2021–07
  2. By: Jorge Luis García; James J. Heckman; Victor Ronda
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates multiple beneficial impacts of a program promoting intergenerational mobility for disadvantaged African-American children and their children. The program improves outcomes of the first-generation treatment group across the life cycle, which translates into better family environments for the second generation leading to positive intergenerational gains. There are long-lasting beneficial program effects on cognition through age 54, contradicting claims of fadeout that have dominated popular discussions of early childhood programs. Children of the first-generation treatment group have higher levels of education and employment, lower levels of criminal activity, and better health than children of the first-generation control group.
    JEL: C93 H43 I28 J13
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Costa-Font, Joan; Cowell, Frank
    Abstract: Approaches to measuring health inequalities are often problematic because they use methods that are inappropriate for categorical data. In this paper we focus on “pure” or univariate health inequality (rather than income-related or bivariate health inequality) and use a concept of individual status that allows a consistent treatment of such data. We take alternative versions of the status concept and apply methods for treating categorical data to examine self-assessed health inequality for the countries included in the World Health Survey. We also use regression analysis on the apparent determinants of these health inequality estimates. We show that the status concept that is used will affect health-inequality rankings across countries and the way health inequality is related to countries’ median health, income, demographics and governance.
    Keywords: health inequality; categorical data; entropy measures; health surveys; upward status; downward status; Springer deal
    JEL: D63 H23 I18
    Date: 2021–07–30
  4. By: Bloem, Jeffrey R. (University of Minnesota); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Governments, multinational companies, and researchers today collect unprecedented amounts of data on human feelings. These data provide information on citizens' happiness, levels of customer satisfaction, employees' satisfaction, mental stress, societal trust, and other important variables. Yet a key scientific difficulty tends to be downplayed, or even ignored, by many users of such information. Human feelings are not measured in objective cardinal units. This paper aims to address some of the ensuing empirical challenges. It suggests an analytical way to approach the scientific complications of ordinal data. The paper describes a dichotomous-around-the-median (DAM) test, which, crucially, uses information only on direction within an ordering and deliberately discards the potentially unreliable statistical information in ordered data. Applying the proposed DAM approach, the paper demonstrates that it is possible to check and replicate some of the key conclusions of previous research—including earlier work on the effects upon human well-being of higher income.
    Keywords: ordinal scales, satisfaction, subjective well-being, happiness, trust, corruption, robustness
    JEL: C18 C25 I31 I39
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Lars Osberg (Department of Economics, Dalhousie University)
    Date: 2021–08–15
  6. By: Martin Ravallion
    Abstract: Thirty years of distributional data are used to study the short-term impacts of popular macroeconomic indicators on real household incomes from the poorest to the richest Americans. The appropriate weights on unemployment versus inflation vary across the distribution. The unemployment rate matters at all levels, but especially so for the poorest. Inflation rates matter at middle incomes, though Okun’s famous Misery Index only performs well for the top income groups. GDP growth matters at all levels and proportionately more for the poorest, though only via the unemployment rate. Recessions are poverty-increasing, and skewness-decreasing, but with ambiguous effects on overall inequality.
    JEL: D31 E31 E32
    Date: 2021–07
  7. By: Santiago Hermo; Miika M. Päällysaho; David G. Seim; Jesse M. Shapiro
    Abstract: A large literature in cognitive science studies the puzzling "Flynn effect" of rising fluid intelligence (reasoning skill) in rich countries. We develop an economic model in which a cohort's mix of skills is determined by different skills' relative returns in the labor market and by the technology for producing skills. We estimate the model using administrative data from Sweden. Combining data from exams taken at military enlistment with earnings records from the tax register, we document an increase in the relative labor market return to logical reasoning skill as compared to vocabulary knowledge. The estimated model implies that changes in labor market returns explain 36 percent of the measured increase in reasoning skill, and can also explain the decline in knowledge. An original survey of parents, an analysis of trends in school curricula, and an analysis of occupational characteristics show evidence of increasing emphasis on reasoning as compared to knowledge.
    JEL: J24 J31 O52
    Date: 2021–08
  8. By: Katherine Casey; Rachel Glennerster; Edward Miguel; Maarten J. Voors
    Abstract: We evaluate the long-run effects of a decentralized approach to economic development, called community driven development (CDD), a prominent strategy for delivering foreign aid. Notably we revisit a randomized CDD program in Sierra Leone 11 years after launch. We estimate large persistent gains in local public goods and market activity, and modest positive effects on institutions. There is suggestive evidence that CDD slightly improved communities’ response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic. We compare estimates to the forecasts of experts from Sierra Leone and abroad, working in policy and academia, and find that local policymakers are overly optimistic about CDD’s effectiveness.
    JEL: H41 I25
    Date: 2021–07
  9. By: Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Loughlin, Colleen P. (Compass Lexecon)
    Abstract: The recent Supreme Court decision NCAA vs Alston (June 2021) has heightened interest in the benefits and costs of participation in sports for student athletes. Anecdotes about the exploitation of student athletes were cited in the opinion. This paper uses panel data for two different cohorts that follow students from high school through college and into their post-school pursuits to examine the generality of these anecdotes. On average, student athletes' benefit- often substantially so—in terms of graduation, post-collegiate employment, and earnings. Benefits in terms of social mobility for disadvantaged and minority students are substantial, contrary to the anecdotes in play in the media and in the courts.
    Keywords: sport economics, social mobility, returns to education
    JEL: Z2 I32 I26
    Date: 2021–07

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