nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2023‒05‒29
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Where Do STEM Graduates Stem From? The Intergenerational Transmission of Comparative Skill Advantages By Eric A. Hanushek; Babs Jacobs; Guido Schwerdt; Rolf van der Velden; Stan Vermeulen; Simon Wiederhold
  2. The Effects of Minimum Wages on (Almost) Everything? A Review of Recent Evidence on Health and Related Behaviors By David Neumark
  3. Why Do Labor Unions Advocate for Minimum Wage Increases? By Clemens, Jeffrey; Strain, Michael R.

  1. By: Eric A. Hanushek; Babs Jacobs; Guido Schwerdt; Rolf van der Velden; Stan Vermeulen; Simon Wiederhold
    Abstract: The standard economic model of occupational choice following a basic Roy model emphasizes individual selection and comparative advantage, but the sources of comparative advantage are not well understood. We employ a unique combination of Dutch survey and registry data that links math and language skills across generations and permits analysis of the intergenerational transmission of comparative skill advantages. Exploiting within-family between-subject variation in skills, we show that comparative advantages in math of parents are significantly linked to those of their children. A causal interpretation follows from a novel IV estimation that isolates variation in parent skill advantages due to their teacher and classroom peer quality. Finally, we show the strong influence of family skill transmission on children’s choices of STEM fields.
    JEL: I24 I26 J12 J62
    Date: 2023–04
  2. By: David Neumark
    Abstract: The effects of minimum wages on employment, wages, earnings, and incomes, have been studied and debated for decades. In recent years, however, researchers have turned to the effects on a multitude of other behaviors and outcomes – largely related to health. I review and assess the large and growing body of evidence on minimum wage effects on a wide variety of health outcomes and health-related behaviors. The evidence on overall physical health is mixed. The findings on diet and obesity either point to beneficial or null effects, but not negative effects, while other evidence indicates that higher minimum wages increase smoking and reduce exercise. The evidence for mental health is ambiguous, with somewhat more studies finding no impact than finding a positive impact (but none finding a negative impact). And the evidence for suicide points clearly to beneficial effects of higher minimum wages. Studies on family structure and children point in different directions, with evidence that mothers spend more time with children, no clear indication of changes in treatment of children, but declines in children’s test scores. The evidence generally points to minimum wages increasing risky behavior (drinking and smoking). Evidence on the effects of minimum wages on crime is mixed. The best evidence on employer-provided health insurance is more adverse, although Medicaid expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have mitigated this influence, and there is not clear evidence of greater unmet medical needs. Other evidence suggests that higher minimum wages may affect health adversely via different channels.
    JEL: H0 I14 J08
    Date: 2023–04
  3. By: Clemens, Jeffrey (University of California, San Diego); Strain, Michael R. (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research)
    Abstract: Over the past decade, organized labor has played a significant role in advocating for minimum wage increases. Why might this be, given that the minimum wage may act as a substitute for the bargaining power offered by labor unions? In this paper, we study the interplay between minimum wages and union membership. We estimate that each dollar in minimum wage increase predicts a 5 percent increase (0.3 pp) in the union membership rate among individuals ages 16–40. Consistent with a classic "free-riding" hypothesis, however, we find that minimum wage increases predict declines in union membership among the minimum wage's most direct beneficiaries. Instead, increases in union membership occur among much broader groups that are not directly affected by the minimum wage.
    Keywords: political economy, social choice, minimum wage, unionization
    JEL: D71 D78 P16
    Date: 2023–04

This nep-ltv issue is ©2023 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.