The NEP-LTV Blog

September 27, 2010

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.

When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men

March 31, 2017


By: David Autor ; David Dorn ; Gordon Hanson
The structure of marriage and child-rearing in U.S. households has undergone two marked shifts in the last three decades: a steep decline in the prevalence of marriage among young adults, and a sharp rise in the fraction of children born to unmarried mothers or living in single-headed households. A potential contributor to both phenomena is the declining labor-market opportunities faced by males, which make them less valuable as marital partners. We exploit large scale, plausibly exogenous labor-demand shocks stemming from rising international manufacturing competition to test how shifts in the supply of young ‘marriageable’ males affect marriage, fertility and children’s living circumstances. Trade shocks to manufacturing industries have differentially negative impacts on the labor market prospects of men and degrade their marriage-market value along multiple dimensions: diminishing their relative earnings—particularly at the lower segment of the distribution—reducing their physical availability in trade-impacted labor markets, and increasing their participation in risky and damaging behaviors. As predicted by a simple model of marital decision-making under uncertainty, we document that adverse shocks to the supply of `marriageable’ men reduce the prevalence of marriage and lower fertility but raise the fraction of children born to young and unwed mothers and living in in poor single-parent households. The falling marriage-market value of young men appears to be a quantitatively important contributor to the rising rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing and single-headed childrearing in the United States.
JEL: F16 J12 J13 J21 J23

The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program

March 31, 2017


By: García, Jorge Luis (University of Chicago) ; Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago) ; Leaf, Duncan Ermini (University of Southern California) ; Prados, Maria José (University of Southern California)
This paper estimates the long-term benefits from an influential early childhood program targeting disadvantaged families. The program was evaluated by random assignment and followed participants through their mid-30s. It has substantial beneficial impacts on health, children’s future labor incomes, crime, education, and mothers’ labor incomes, with greater monetized benefits for males. Lifetime returns are estimated by pooling multiple data sets using testable economic models. The overall rate of return is 13.7% per annum, and the benefit/cost ratio is 7.3. These estimates are robust to numerous sensitivity analyses.
Keywords: childcare, early childhood education, long-term predictions, gender differences in responses to programs, health, quality of life, randomized trials, substitution bias
JEL: J13 I28 C93


Global Inequality Dynamics: New Findings from

March 31, 2017


By: Facundo Alvaredo ; Lucas Chancel ; Thomas Piketty ; Emmanuel Saez ; Gabriel Zucman
This paper presents new findings on global inequality dynamics from the World Wealth and Income Database (, with particular emphasis on the contrast between the trends observed in the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom. We observe rising top income and wealth shares in nearly all countries in recent decades. But the magnitude of the increase varies substantially, thereby suggesting that different country-specific policies and institutions matter considerably. Long-run wealth inequality dynamics appear to be highly unstable. We stress the need for more democratic transparency on income and wealth dynamics and better access to administrative and financial data.
JEL: E01 H2 H5 J3


Creative destruction and subjective well-being

March 31, 2017


By: Philippe Aghion ; Ufuk Akcigit ; Angus Deaton ; Alexandra Roulet
In this paper we analyze the relationship between turnover-driven growth and subjective well-being. Our model of innovation-led growth and unemployment predicts that: (i) the effect of creative destruction on expected individual welfare should be unambiguously positive if we control for unemployment, less so if we do not; (ii) job creation has a positive and job destruction has a negative impact on well-being; (iii) job destruction has a less negative impact in areas with more generous unemployment insurance policies; and (iv) job creation has a more positive effect on individuals that are more forward-looking. The empirical analysis using cross sectional MSA (metropolitan statistical area)-level and individual-level data provide empirical support to these predictions.
JEL: I31 J63 J65 O33 O38

Dynastic human capital, inequality and intergenerational mobility

March 22, 2017


By: Adermon, Adrian (IFAU – Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy) ; Lindahl, Mikael (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg; IFAU; IZA; UCLS; CESifo) ; Palme, Mårten (Department of economics, Stockholm University; IZA)
We study the importance of the extended family – or the dynasty – for the persistence in human capital inequality across generations. We use data including the entire Swedish population, linking four generations. This data structure enables us to – in addition to parents, grandparents and great grandparents – identify parents’ siblings and cousins, as well as their spouses, and the spouses’ siblings. We introduce and estimate a new parameter, which we call the intergenerational transmission of dynastic inequality. This parameter measures the between-dynasty variation in intergenerational transmission of human capital. We use three different measures of human capital: years of schooling, family income and an index of occupational status. Our results show that traditional parent-child estimates miss about half of the persistence across generations estimated by the extended model.
Keywords: intergenerational mobility; extended family; dynasty; human capital
JEL: I24 J62


An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States

March 22, 2017


By: Jonathan V. Hall ; Alan B. Krueger
Uber, the ride-sharing company launched in 2010, has grown at an exponential rate. This paper provides the first comprehensive analysis of the labor market for Uber’s driver-partners, based on both survey and administrative data. Drivers who partner with Uber appear to be attracted to the platform largely because of the flexibility it offers, the level of compensation, and the fact that earnings per hour do not vary much with the number of hours worked. Uber’s driver-partners are more similar in terms of their age and education to the general workforce than to taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Most of Uber’s driver-partners had full- or part-time employment prior to joining Uber, and many continued in those positions after starting to drive with the Uber platform, which makes the flexibility to set their own hours all the more valuable. Uber’s driver-partners also often cited the desire to smooth fluctuations in their income as a reason for partnering with Uber.
JEL: J01

What’s the good of education on our overall quality of life?: a simultaneous equation model of education and life satisfaction for Australia

March 22, 2017


By: Nattavudh Powdthavee ; Warn N. Lekfuangfu ; Mark Wooden
Many economists and educators favour public support for education on the premise that education improves the overall quality of life of citizens. However, little is known about the different pathways through which education shapes people’s satisfaction with life overall. One reason for this is because previous studies have traditionally analysed the effect of education on life satisfaction using single-equation models that ignore interrelationships between different theoretical explanatory variables. In order to advance our understanding of how education may be related to overall quality of life, the current study estimates a structural equation model using nationally representative data for Australia to obtain the direct and indirect associations between education and life satisfaction through five different adult outcomes: income, employment, marriage, children, and health. Although we find the estimated direct (or net) effect of education on life satisfaction to be negative and statistically significant in Australia, the total indirect effect is positive, sizeable and statistically significant for both men and women. This implies that misleading conclusions regarding the influence of education on life satisfaction might be obtained if only single-equation models were used in the analysis.
Keywords: Australia; indirect effect; education; structural equation model; life satisfaction; HILDA
JEL: I20 I32