nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2022‒02‒21
nine papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. A second chance? Labor market returns to adult education using school reforms By Patrick Bennett; Richard Blundell; Kjell G. Salvanes
  2. Compensating for academic loss: Online learning and student performance during the COVID-19 pandemic By Andrew E. Clark; Huifu Nong; Hongjia Zhu; Rong Zhu
  3. Estimating the production function for human capital: results from a randomized controlled trial in Colombia By Orazio Attanasio; Sarah Cattan; Emla Fitzsimons; Costas Meghir; Marta Rubio Codina
  4. Inequality in socio-emotional skills: a cross-cohort comparison By Orazio Attanasio; Richard Blundell; Gabriella Conti; Giacomo Mason
  5. The Marginal Labor Supply Disincentives of Welfare: Evidence from Administrative Barriers to Participation By Moffitt, Robert A.; Zahn, Matthew V.
  6. Health and Labor Market Impacts of Twin Birth: Evidence from a Swedish IVF Policy Mandate By Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Clarke, Damian; Mühlrad, Hanna; Palme, Mårten
  7. A decomposition method to evaluate the 'paradox of progress' with evidence for Argentina By Javier Alejo; Leonardo Gasparín; Gabriel Montes Rojas; Walter Sosa Escudero
  8. Parental Investments in Early Childhood and the Gender Gap in Math and Literacy By Amanda Chuan; John List; Anya Samek; Shreemayi Samujjwala
  9. Inequalities in children’s experiences of home learning during the COVID-19 lockdown in England By Alison Andrew; Sarah Cattan; Monica Costa Dias; Christine Farquharson; Lucy Kraftman; Sonya Krutikova; Angus Phimister; Almudena Sevilla

  1. By: Patrick Bennett (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Richard Blundell (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Kjell G. Salvanes (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: Roughly one third of a cohort drop out of high school across OECD countries, and developing e?ective tools to address prime-aged high school dropouts is a key policy question. We leverage high quality Norwegian register data, and for identi?cation we exploit reforms enabling access to high school for adults above the age of 25. The paper ?nds 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.
    Date: 2020–08–25
  2. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Huifu Nong (Guangdong University of Finance & Economics); Hongjia Zhu (Jinan University [Guangzhou]); Rong Zhu (Flinders University [Adelaide, Australia])
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread school shutdowns, with many continuing distance education via online-learning platforms. We here estimate the causal effects of online education on student exam performance using administrative data from Chinese Middle Schools. Taking a difference-in-differences approach, we find that receiving online education during the COVID-19 lockdown improved student academic results by 0.22 of a standard deviation, relative to pupils without learning support from their school. Not all online education was equal: students who were given recorded online lessons from external higher-quality teachers had higher exam scores than those whose lessons were recorded by teachers from their own school. The educational benefits of distance learning were the same for rural and urban students, but the exam performance of students who used a computer for online education was better than those who used a smartphone. Last, while everyone except the very-best students performed better with online learning, it was low achievers who benefited from teacher quality.
    Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic,Online education,Student performance,Teacher quality
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Orazio Attanasio (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University); Sarah Cattan (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Emla Fitzsimons (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Costas Meghir (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University); Marta Rubio Codina (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We examine the channels through which a randomized early childhood intervention in Colombia led to signi?cant gains in cognitive and socio-emotional skills among a sample of disavantaged children aged 12 to 24 months at baseline. We estimate the determinants of parents’ material and time investments in these children and evaluate the impact of the treatment on such investments. We then estimate the production functions for cognitive and socio-emotional skills. The effects of the program can be explained by increases in parental investments, emphasizing the importance of parenting interventions at an early age.
    Date: 2020–01–22
  4. By: Orazio Attanasio (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University); Richard Blundell (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Gabriella Conti (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Giacomo Mason (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We examine changes in inequality in socio-emotional skills very early in life in two British cohorts born 30 years apart. We construct comparable scales using two validated instruments for the measurement of child behaviour and identify two dimensions of socio-emotional skills: ‘internalising’ and ‘eternalising’. Using recent methodological advances in factor analysis, we establish comparability in the inequality of these early skills across cohorts, but not in their average level. We document for the first time that inequality in socio-emotional skills has increased across cohorts, especially for boys and at the bottom of the distribution. We also formally decompose the sources of the increase in inequality and find that compositional changes explain half of the rise in inequality in externalising skills. On the other hand, the increase in inequality in internalising skills seems entirely driven by changes in returns to background characteristics. Lastly, we document that socio-emotional skills measured at an earlier age than in most of the existing literature are significant predictors of health and health behaviours. Our results show the importance of formally testing comparability of measurements to study skills di?erences across groups, and in general point to the role of inequalities in the early years for the accumulation of health and human capital across the life course.
    Date: 2020–04–01
  5. By: Moffitt, Robert A. (Johns Hopkins University); Zahn, Matthew V. (Johns Hopkins University)
    Abstract: Existing research on the static effects of the manipulation of welfare program benefit parameters on labor supply has allowed only restrictive forms of heterogeneity in preferences. Yet preference heterogeneity implies that the marginal effects on labor supply of welfare expansions and contractions may differ in different time periods with different populations and which sweep out different portions of the distribution of preferences. A new examination of the heavily studied AFDC program uses variation in state-level administrative barriers to entering the program in the late 1980s and early 1990s to estimate the marginal labor supply effects of changes in program participation induced by that variation. The estimates are obtained from a theory-consistent reduced form model which allows for a nonparametric specification of how changes in welfare program participation affect labor supply on the margin. Estimates using a form of local instrumental variables show that the marginal treatment effects are quadratic, rising and then falling as participation rates rise (i.e., becoming more negative then less negative on hours of work). The average work disincentive is not large but that masks some margins where effects are close to zero and some which are sizable. Traditional IV which estimates a weighted average of marginal effects gives a misleading picture of marginal responses. A counterfactual exercise which applies the estimates to three historical reform periods in 1967, 1981, and 1996 when the program tax rate was significantly altered shows that marginal labor supply responses differed in each period because of differences in the level of participation in the period and the composition of who was on the program.
    Keywords: welfare, labor supply, marginal treatment effects
    JEL: I3 J2 C21
    Date: 2022–01
  6. By: Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Warwick); Clarke, Damian (University of Chile); Mühlrad, Hanna (IFN - Research Institute of Industrial Economics); Palme, Mårten (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: IVF allows women to delay birth and pursue careers, but IVF massively increases the risk of twin birth. There is limited evidence of how having twins influences women's post-birth careers. We investigate this, leveraging a single embryo transfer (SET) mandate implemented in Sweden in 2003, following which the share of twin births showed a precipitous drop of 70%. Linking birth registers to hospitalization and earnings registers, we identify substantial improvements in maternal and child health and women's earnings following IVF birth, along-side an increase in subsequent fertility. We provide the first comprehensive evaluation of SET, relevant given the secular rise in IVF births and growing concerns over twin birth risk. We contribute new estimates of the child penalty imposed by twin as opposed to singleton birth, relevant to the secular rise in the global twin birth rate.
    Keywords: twins, IVF, single embryo transfer, career costs of children, child penalty, gender wage gap, fertility, maternal health, neonatal health, gender
    JEL: J13 I11 I12 I38 J24
    Date: 2022–01
  7. By: Javier Alejo (Departmento de Economía, Universidad de la República, Uruguay); Leonardo Gasparín (Departmento de Economía, Universidad de La Plata); Gabriel Montes Rojas (Departmento de Economía, Universidad de Buenos Aires); Walter Sosa Escudero (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andrés)
    Abstract: The 'paradox of progress' is an empirical regularity that associates more education with larger income inequality. Two driving and competing factors behind this phenomenon are the convexity of the 'Mincer equation' (that links wages and education) and the heterogeneity in its returns, as captured by quantile regressions. We propose a joint least-squares and quantile regression statistical framework to derive a decomposition in order to evaluate the relative contribution of each explanation. The estimators are based on the 'functional derivative' approach. We apply the proposed decomposition strategy to the case of Argentina 1992 to 2015.
    Keywords: paradox of progress, quantile regression, inequality, returns to education, Argentina
    JEL: J31 C21 I24 J46 O54
    Date: 2021–12
  8. By: Amanda Chuan; John List; Anya Samek; Shreemayi Samujjwala
    Abstract: As early as middle school, girls self-select out of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses at greater rates than boys. Why? We link women's under-representation in STEM to their over-representation in nonSTEM fields. Prior work argues that this over-representation arises from women's comparative advantage in language arts, which emerges as early as age 5. A key question, therefore, is why might women have a comparative advantage in language arts? Since this advantage appears to arise early, early parental investments may play a role. As List et al. (2018) and others argue, parents play a central role in the development of child skills. In this paper, we use a longitudinal field experiment with 953 children and their parents to investigate whether there are differences in parental investments at early ages by child gender. We further investigate whether such investments are associated with test scores in math and language arts at older ages. We first survey parents on time spent teaching to children when they are 3-5 years old. We then collect data on Math and English test scores when children are 8-14 years old. Finally, we use a field experiment to explore whether early childhood interventions affect gender gaps in parental investments.
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Alison Andrew (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Sarah Cattan (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Monica Costa Dias (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Christine Farquharson (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Lucy Kraftman (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Sonya Krutikova (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Angus Phimister (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Almudena Sevilla (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: This paper combines novel data on the time use, home learning practices and economic circumstances of families with children during the COVID-19 lockdown with pre-lockdown data from the UK Time User Survey to characterise the time use of children and how it changed during lockdown, and to gauge the extent to which changes in time use and learning practices during this period are likely to reinforce the already large gaps in education attainment between children from poorer and better-off families. We find considerable heterogeneity in children’s learning experiences - amount of time spent learning, activities undertaken during this time and availability of resources to support learning. Concerningly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, this heterogeneity is strongly associated with family income and in some instances more so than before lockdown. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that any impacts of inequalities in time spent learning between poorer and richer children are likely to be compounded by inequalities not only in learning resources available at home, but also those provided by schools.
    Keywords: home learning, lockdown, covid-19
    Date: 2020–08–17

This nep-ltv issue is ©2022 by Maximo Rossi. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.