This blog is an experiment to explore the feasibility of scientific discussion on an Economics blog. NEP-LTV disseminates every week new working papers in the field of Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty. Among them, the NEP-LTV editor selects one to be discussed. Everyone is invited to comment. Try to stay civil, or your comments will be removed. And encourage others to read or join in the discussion.
By: Luisa Natali
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
This paper explores the use of Gallup World Poll Data to assess the impact of the Great Recession on various dimensions of well-being in 41 OECD and/or EU countries from 2007 up until 2013. It should be read as a complementary background paper to the UNICEF Report Card which explores trends in child well-being in EU/OECD countries since 2007/8. Overall the findings provide clear indications that the crisis has had an impact across a number of self-reported dimensions of well-being. Indeed, a strong correlation between the intensity of the recession and the worsening of people’s perceptions about their own life is recorded since 2007. Data also indicate that the impact has still not peaked in a number of countries where indicators were still deteriorating as late as 2013. A “League Table” is also presented where countries are ranked in terms of change between 2007 and 2013 for four selected Gallup World Poll indicators related material well-being, perceptions of how society treats its children, health and subjective well-being.
Keywords: child well-being; economic crisis; indicators; surveys;
By: Efstratia Arampatzi (EURAC b.v.)
Martijn J. Burger (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Ruut Veenhoven (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
Using data for 28 European countries for the 2008-2012 period, we examine whether employed individuals are affected by the economic crisis. We provide robust evidence that unfavourable macroeconomic conditions are negatively associated with the life satisfaction of employees. In addition, we find that higher levels of regional unemployment and inflation are predominantly associated with lower levels of life satisfaction for employees who are in a bad financial situation or who expect that their future financial situation will be worse. By contrast, employed people who do well financially and who have good prospects are not affected by the crisis.
Keywords: life satisfaction, financial distress, economic crisis, Europe
JEL: I00 D60
By: Shannon Seitz (Boston College)
Geoffrey Sanzenbacher (Analysis Group)
Andrew Beauchamp (Boston College)
Meghan Skira (University of Georgia)
Why do some men father children outside of marriage but not provide support? Why are single women willing to have children outside of marriage when they receive little or no support from unmarried fathers? To answer these questions, we develop and estimate a dynamic equilibrium model of marriage, employment, fertility, and child support. We consider the extent to which two explanations account for the prevalence of ‘deadbeat dads’ and non-marital childbearing: low wages and a shortage of single men relative to single women. Even if women prefer to have children within marriage, when faced with a shortage of high wage spouses it may be optimal to have children with low wage men outside of marriage. In response, some men have incentives to have children and not support them. The model is estimated by efficient method of moments using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. We conduct several counterfactual experiments including equating black and white population supplies and eliminating the racial gap in wages to explore the implications of the model. We also analyze a counterfactual policy in which child support enforcement is perfect.
By: John Jerrim (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)
Lindsey Macmillan (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)
It is widely believed that countries with greater levels of income inequality also have lower levels of intergenerational mobility. This relationship, known as the Great Gatsby Curve (GGC), has been prominently cited by high-ranking public policy makers, best-selling authors and Nobel Prize winning academics. Yet relatively little cross-national work has empirically examined the mechanisms thought to underpin the GGC – particularly with regards to the role of educational attainment. This paper uses the cross-nationally comparable Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) dataset to shed new light on this issue. We find that income inequality is associated with several key components of the intergenerational transmission process – including access to higher education, the financial returns to education, and the direct effect of parental education upon labour market earnings. Thus, consistent with theoretical models, we find that educational attainment is an important driver of the relationship between intergenerational mobility and income inequality. We hence conclude that unequal access to financial resources plays a central role in the intergenerational transmission of advantage.
Keywords: Income inequality, intergenerational mobility, Great Gatsby Curve, PIAAC.
JEL: I20 J62 J24
What, If Anything, Can Labor Do to Rejuvenate Itself and Improve Worker Well-being in an Era of Inequality and Crisis-driven Austerity?November 12, 2014
By: Freeman, Richard Barry
The economic position of workers has weakened in much of the advanced world. Over the past 30–40 years the share of national income going to labor has fallen. Labor earnings have become more unequally distributed. The proportion of workers in trade unions has trended downward, accompanied in some countries with commensurate declines in collective bargaining coverage. Union influence on the direction of the economy has diminished even in countries where firms and unions negotiate wage and working conditions for most employees and where left-oriented parties are in government. Increases in government deficits and debt resulting from the Great Recession have induced many governments to introduce austerity policies that are likely to perpetuate high joblessness and inequality into the foreseeable future. Finance’s speculative excesses fed market capitalism but much of the costs of the implosion of finance and ensuing Great Recession will fall on labor into the foreseeable future. There is no easy answer to the title question. As the phrase â€œif anythingâ€ indicates, it is unclear whether labor can rejuvenate itself and pressure societies to restore full employment and raise living standards in the face of inequality and pressures for austerity programs. Differences in the labor relations systems among countries, in levels of inequality, in the importance of money in politics, and in the post Great Recession state of economies will undoubtedly produce different responses across countries and labor movements. In this paper I examine the situation in the US, where the ability of trade unions to represent labor’s interest has declined more than in any other major economy. Collective bargaining in the US is co-terminus with union density. For over half a century union density has fallen in the private sector. In 2012 6.6% of private sector workers were union members (US BLS, 2013, table 3) – below the 1900 level when total density, then based almost entirely on private sector workers, was 6.8% (Freeman, 1998, p 291). In the 2000s unions gained so few members in National Labor Relations Board representation elections or in other ways that the anti-unionists’ once quixotic dream of a union-free labor market has become a reality in the private sector. American labor law and custom makes it difficult for workers and firms to substitute other forms of workplace labor activity for collective bargaining. The law forbids employer-initiated works councils. There are no mechanisms for extending collective contracts beyond the firm and local unions who negotiate and sign a contract. Employer associations are more interested in undermining collective bargaining than in discussing labor issues with the AFL-CIO or some other union federation. Unionism and collective bargaining have followed a different path in the public sector. Union density increased from the 1960s to the 2000s when about 37% of employees were union members, including teachers, police, firefighters, university professors, graduate student teaching assistants, as well as bus drivers, clerical workers, and so on.1 When recession-induced budget crises hit cities and states in the late 2000s, however, opponents of unions attacked public sector bargaining as a contributing factor to the deficits. In the US federal system, state law governs state and local government collective bargaining. Some states encourage public sector collective bargaining. Other states, largely in the South, make it illegal for public sector employers to bargain with unions. Following the 2008 elections, Republican-dominated legislatures in several states that had encouraged collective bargaining passed bills to restrict bargaining, outlaw dues checkoffs/agency fees (which provide a funding stream to unions), and limit union political activities. Wisconsin, which had pioneered laws favorable to public sector bargaining, added provisions to its budget bill that effectively eliminated collective bargaining for all state and local workers except police and fire. Ohio enacted legislation of a similar kind that targeted all state and local employees including police and fire. Opponents of the Wisconsin legislation forced the state’s governor into a recall election but failed to turn him out of office or reverse the legislative decision. Opponents of the Ohio legislation overturned their law in a referendum (Freeman and Han, 2012), which seemed to stem the anti-union movement. But in 2012 the Republican dominated legislature in historically pro-union Michigan passed a bill to weaken unions there. At this writing anti-union groups have bills pending in the legislatures of many other states. Unions have circled their wagons to defend the one part of the labor market where they still hold considerable sway. The experience of the US is extreme but nonetheless informative for other advanced countries where crisis-driven austerity and increased inequality weaken union ability to represent workers and may embolden groups opposed to collective action, welfare state protections of workers and the like to follow the lead of their US counterparts. The failure of US unions to develop alternatives to collective bargaining to advance worker interests as union density fell is a â€œcanary in the mineâ€ warning to labor elsewhere. The new efforts by US labor activists, social entrepreneurs, some unions, and in 2013 the AFL-CIO itself to mobilize citizens to defend workers’ interests without collective bargaining directs attention to innovative ways for labor to develop countervailing power and press for full employment and rising living standards for all. The paper is divided into three sections. Section one reviews the decline in labor as a force determining outcomes in modern capitalism, with particular attention to the collapse of the firm-based collective bargaining model in the US. Section two highlights the need for a strong labor movement to help reform the finance-dominated model of capitalism that underlies the implosion of Wall Street and ensuing economic crisis. Section three examines the ways that labor activists, social entrepreneurs, and unions are developing ways to rejuvenate labor power and improve labor conditions absent collective bargaining. There is a brief conclusion.
By: Fabio Sabatini
Does Facebook make people lonely and unhappy? Empirical studies have produced conflicting results about the effect of social networking sites (SNS) use on individual welfare. We use a representative sample of the Italian population to investigate how actual and virtual networks of social relationships influence subjective well-being (SWB). We find a significantly negative correlation between online networking and self-reported happiness. We address endogeneity in online networking by exploiting technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures that exogenously determined the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet. We try to further disentangle the direct effect of SNS use on well-being from the indirect effect possibly caused by the impact of SNS’s on trust and sociability in a SEM analysis. We find that online networking plays a positive role in SWB through its impact on physical interactions. On the other hand, SNS use is associated with lower social trust, which is in turn positively correlated with SWB. The overall effect of networking on individual welfare is significantly negative.
Keywords: Social participation; online networks; Facebook; social trust; social capital; subjective well-being; hate speech; broadband; digital divide.
JEL: C36 D85 O33 Z13
By: Goldin, Claudia D.
The most prominent feature of the female labor force across the past hundred years is its enormous growth. But many believe that the increase was discontinuous. Our purpose is to identify the short- and long-run impacts of WWII on the labor supply of women who were currently married in 1950 and 1960. Using WWII mobilization rates by state, we find a wartime impact on weeks worked and the labor force participation of married white (non-farm) women in both 1950 and 1960. The impact, moreover, was experienced almost entirely by women in the top half of the education distribution.