nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2023‒03‒13
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Why life gets better after age 50, for some: mental well-being and the social norm of work By Coen van de Kraats; Titus Galama; Maarten Lindeboom
  2. Marriage, Labor Supply and the Dynamics of the Social Safety Net By Hamish Low; Costas Meghir; Luigi Pistaferri; Alessandra Voena
  3. The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective By Costas Meghir; Marten Palme; Marieke Schnabel
  4. Socioemotional Skills in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Maternal Psychosocial Intervention By Sevim, Dilek; Baranov, Victoria; Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Maselko, Joanna; Biroli, Pietro
  5. Compensation or accentuation? How parents from different social backgrounds decide to support their children By Philipp Dierker; Martin Diewald

  1. By: Coen van de Kraats (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Titus Galama (University of Southern California); Maarten Lindeboom (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Monash University)
    Abstract: We provide evidence that the social norm (expectation) of work has a detrimental causal effect on the mental well-being of individuals not able to abide by it. Using SHARE data on men aged 50+ from 10 European countries, we identify the social norm of work effect in a difference-in-differences model that compares mental well-being scores of unemployed/disabled individuals (the treatment group) with those of employed/retired individuals (the control group) at varying levels of the fraction of retirees of comparable age. The initial mental well-being gap at age 50 is large, with unemployed/disabled men experiencing substantially lower levels of mental well-being, comparable to, e.g., the detriment of being widowed. Beyond age 50, the mental well-being of unemployed and disabled men improves as peers of comparable age retire, and full convergence occurs generally at an age that is slightly above the normal retirement age, when everyone has retired.
    Keywords: mental well-being, social norm of work, retirement institutions
    JEL: I10 I31 J60 D63
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Hamish Low (University of Oxford and IFS); Costas Meghir (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Luigi Pistaferri (Stanford University, NBER, CEPR and SIEPR); Alessandra Voena (Stanford University, NBER, CEPR and SIEPR)
    Abstract: The 1996 US welfare reform introduced time limits on welfare receipt. We use quasi-experimental evidence and a lifecycle model of marriage, divorce, program participa-tion, labor supply and savings to understand the impact of time limits on behavior and well-being. Time limits cause women to defer claiming in anticipation of future needs, an effect that depends on the probabilities of marriage and divorce. Time limits cost women 0.5% of life-time consumption, net of revenue savings redistributed by reduced taxation, with some groups affected much more. Expectations over future marital status are important determinants of the value of the social safety net.
    Keywords: Time limits, Welfare reform, Life-cycle, marriage and divorce, time limits, limited commitment, intrahousehold allocations
    JEL: D91 H53 J12 J21
    Date: 2022–12
  3. By: Costas Meghir (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Marten Palme (Stockholm University); Marieke Schnabel (University College London)
    Abstract: We study the intergenerational effect of education policy on crime. We use Swedish administrative data that links outcomes across generations with crime records and we show that the comprehensive school reform, gradually implemented between 1949 and 1962, reduced conviction rates both for the generation directly affected by the reform and for their sons. The reduction in conviction rates occurred across many types of crime. Key mediators for this reduction in the child generation are an increase in education and a decline in crime amongst their fathers.
    Date: 2023–02
  4. By: Sevim, Dilek (University of Basel); Baranov, Victoria (University of Melbourne); Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Warwick); Maselko, Joanna (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Biroli, Pietro (University of Bologna)
    Abstract: We study the formation of social and emotional skills in the first three years of life, and investigate the impact of a cluster-randomized peer-led psychosocial intervention targeting perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. The intervention significantly improved maternal mental health, especially among mothers of boys. It resulted in imprecisely estimated increases in parental investment, without any discernible impacts on the child's socioemotional skills or on indicators of their development in the cognitive and physical health domains. A descriptive analysis of mechanisms reveals that the intervention modified the production function of children's skills, by lowering the productivity of maternal mental health in the first 12 months of life. It moved outcomes for depressed women closer to outcomes for women not depressed during pregnancy.
    Keywords: mental health, stress, socioemotional, RCT, child development, technology of skill formation, gender
    JEL: D1 I1 J1 O2
    Date: 2023–02
  5. By: Philipp Dierker (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Martin Diewald (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Previous research has shown that parents respond to differences in their children’s potential by providing them with different levels of support, and that such support allocation decisions are shaped by socioeconomic status (SES). We extend this observation to the assumption, raised in research on parental compensation and social mobility, that not only the allocation, but also the form of support provided is socially stratified. Specifically, we investigate whether socioeconomically advantaged parents use mechanisms that do not rely directly on cognitive enhancement. Drawing on data from three consecutive waves of the German TwinLife study (N=962), we use twin fixed-effects models to examine how parents respond to their children having different grades. We investigate parental support strategies, including help with schoolwork and school-related communication, encouragement and explicitly formulated expectations, and extracurricular cognitive stimulation. Our findings suggest that high-SES parents tend to compensate for their children’s poor performance by helping them with schoolwork, fostering communication, and formulating academic expectations and encouragement. In contrast, we found no evidence that parents in either high- or low-SES families respond to differences in their children’s school performance by providing them with extracurricular cognitive stimulation.
    Keywords: secondary education, social stratification, twins
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2023

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