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.

Lockdowns, Loneliness and Life Satisfaction

June 4, 2020
By: Hamermesh, Daniel S. (Barnard College)
Abstract: Using the 2012-13 American Time Use Survey, I find that both who people spend time with and how they spend it affect their happiness, adjusted for numerous demographic and economic variables. Satisfaction among married individuals increases most with additional time spent with spouse. Among singles, satisfaction decreases most as more time is spent alone. Assuming that lockdowns constrain married people to spend time solely with their spouses, simulations show that their happiness may have been increased compared to before the lockdowns; but sufficiently large losses of work time and income reverse this inference. Simulations demonstrate clearly that, assuming lockdowns impose solitude on singles, their happiness was reduced, reductions that are made more severe by income and work losses.
Keywords: Coronavirus, time use, happiness, isolation, well-being, COVID-19
JEL: I12 J22 I31


Market income inequality, left-wing political parties, and redistribution in Latin America

June 4, 2020
Abstract: The paper uses household-level data from more than 200 household income surveys from 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries to explore the (revised) median voter hypothesis and the political determinants of the recent decrease of Latin American inequality. We find that more unequal market-income countries, and greater market-income inequality within a given country, are associated with greater pro-poor redistribution, although such redistribution is rather weak in Latin America compared to the economically advanced countries. We also find that more pro-left political orientation of national legislatures has been associated with greater redistribution. We thus argue that there are political roots to the recent decrease of inequality in Latin America.
Keywords: Amérique latine

Cash Transfer Programs and Household Labor Supply

June 2, 2020
By: Daniela Del BocaChiara PronzatoGiuseppe Sorrenti
Abstract: Employment contributes to reduce the risk of poverty. Through a randomized controlled trial, we evaluate the impact of a conditional cash transfer program (CCT) to low-income families with dependent children on household members’ labor supply. The attendance of labor-market-oriented mentoring courses constitutes the condition to obtain the transfer. One year after admission to the program, fathers assigned to the CCT program are more likely to work (+14 percent) than fathers assigned to an unconditional cash transfer program or to a pure control group. No effect arises for mothers. Increased paternal investments in activities enhancing labor market opportunities and improved family networks seem to explain the results.
Keywords: conditional cash transfers, poverty, household labor supply, mentoring courses
JEL: I10 I20 J24 I31
Date: 2020

When to release the lockdown: a wellbeing framework for analysing costs and benefits

June 2, 2020
By: Layard, RichardClark, Andrew E.De Neve, Jan-EmmanuelKrekel, ChristianFancourt, DaisyHey, NancyO’Donnell, Gus
Abstract: In choosing when to end the lockdown, policy-makers have to balance the impact of the decision upon incomes, unemployment, mental health, public confidence and many other factors, as well as (of course) upon the number of deaths from COVID-19. To facilitate the decision it is helpful to forecast each factor using a single metric. We use as our metric the number of Wellbeing-Years resulting from each date of ending the lockdown. This new metric makes it possible to compare the impact of each factor in a way that is relevant to all public policy decisions.
Keywords: Covid-19; coronavirus; Wellbeing Economics; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Health Policy
JEL: D60 D61 I31
Date: 2020–04

Inequality in the Impact of the Coronavirus Shock: Evidence from Real Time Surveys

June 2, 2020
By: Abi Adams-PrasslTeodora BonevaMarta GolinChristopher Rauh
Abstract: We present real time survey evidence from the UK, US and Germany showing that the labor market impacts of COVID-19 differ considerably across countries. Employees in Germany, which has a well-established short-time work scheme, are substantially less likely to be affected by the crisis. Within countries, the impacts are highly unequal and exacerbate existing inequalities. Workers in alternative work arrangements and in occupations in which only a small share of tasks can be done from home are more likely to have reduced their hours, lost their jobs and suffered falls in earnings. Less educated workers and women are more affected by the crisis.
Keywords: recessions, inequality, labor market, unemployment, coronavirus
JEL: J21 J22 J24 J33 J63

Are Estimates of Early Education Programs Too Pessimistic? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment that Causally Measures Neighbor Effects

December 18, 2019
By: List, JohnMomeni, FatemehZenou, Yves
Abstract: We estimate the direct and spillover effects of a large-scale early childhood intervention on the educational attainment of over 2,000 disadvantaged children in the United States. We show that failing to account for spillover effects results in a severe underestimation of the impact. The intervention induced positive direct effects on test scores of children assigned to the treatment groups. We document large spillover effects on both treatment and control children who live near treated children. On average, spillover effects increase a child’s non-cognitive (cognitive) scores by about 1.2 (0.6 to 0.7) standard deviations. The spillover effects are localized, decreasing with the spatial distance to treated neighbors. Our evidence suggests the spillover effect on non-cognitive scores are likely to operate through the child’s social network. Alternatively, parental investment is an important channel through which cognitive spillover effects operate. We view our results as speaking to several literatures, perhaps most importantly the role of public programs and neighborhoods on human capital formation at an early age.
Keywords: early education; field experiment; neighborhood; non-cognitive skills; spillover effects
JEL: C93 I21 R1

What might explain today’s conflicting narratives on global inequality?

December 18, 2019
By: Ravallion Martin
Abstract: How unequal is the world today? Is global income inequality falling, as many economists claim, or is it rising, as one often hears?This paper reviews the arguments and evidence. A number of concerns about the underlying data are identified, with biases going in both directions. Conceptual issues further cloud the picture. The claim that global inequality has been falling since 1990 can be defended for a subset of the admissible parameter values, but only a subset.Global inequality is found to be rising if one or more of the following conditions holds: (i) one attaches a high ethical weight to the poorest; (ii) one has a strong ethical aversion to high-end inequality; (iii) one takes a nationalistic perspective, emphasizing relative deprivation within countries; or (iv) one sees inequality as absolute rather than relative.Popular debates on this topic would benefit from greater clarity on the concepts used, and greater awareness of data limitations.
Keywords: Measurement,Axioms,Global inequality,Growth,Household surveys