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: Andrew E. Clark
Health and well-being are socially determined. One of the ways in which this comes about is via social comparisons with other individuals in the same personal, geographic or social networks, with the comparisons referring either to income or other aspects of economic and social life. The existence of such comparison effects with respect to income may help to explain the social gradient in health.
Keywords: well-being; comparisons; income; unemployment; divorce; religion; social health gradient
By: Joan Costa-Font
Julian Le Grand
We examine the vertical transmission of overweight drawing upon a sample of English children, both adopted and non-adopted, and their families. Our results suggest strong evidence of an intergenerational association of overweight among adoptees, indicating transmission through cultural factors. We find that, when both adoptive parents are overweight, the likelihood of an adopted child being overweight is between 10% and 20% higher than when they are not. We also find that the cultural transmission of overweight is not aggravated by having a full-time working mother, so do not confirm the existence of a female labour market participation penalty on child overweight among adoptees. Overall, our findings, despite subject to data limitations, are robust to a battery of robustness checks, specification and sample selection corrections.
Keywords: Vertical transmission; cultural transmission; overweight; children; natural parents; Body Mass Index; sample selection
JEL: D13 I18 Z1
Money, well-being and loss aversion: does an income loss have a greater effect on well-being than an equivalent income gain?February 20, 2015
By: James Banks
Gordon D.A. Brown
Christopher J. Boyce
Alex M. Wood
Andrew E. Clark
Higher income is associated with greater well-being, but do income gains and losses impact on well-being differently? Loss aversion, whereby losses loom larger than gains, is typically examined with relation to decisions about anticipated outcomes. Here, using subjective well-being data from Germany (N = 28,723) and the UK (N = 20,570), we find that experienced falls in income have a larger impact on well-being than equivalent income gains. The effect is not explained by the diminishing returns to well-being of income. Our findings show that loss aversion applies to experienced losses, counteracting suggestions that loss aversion is only an affective forecasting error. Longitudinal studies of the income/well-being relationship may, by failing to take account of loss aversion, have overestimated the positive effect of income for well-being. Moreover, societal well-being may be best served by small and stable income increases even if such stability impairs long-term growth.
Keywords: loss aversion; money; income; subjective well-being
By: Farber, Henry S. (Princeton University)
Rothstein, Jesse (UC Berkeley)
Valletta, Robert G. (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)
Unemployment Insurance benefit durations were extended during the Great Recession, reaching 99 weeks for most recipients. The extensions were rolled back and eventually terminated by the end of 2013. Using matched CPS data from 2008-2014, we estimate the effect of extended benefits on unemployment exits separately during the earlier period of benefit expansion and the later period of rollback. In both periods, we find little or no effect on job-finding but a reduction in labor force exits due to benefit availability. We estimate that the rollbacks reduced the labor force participation rate by about 0.1 percentage point in early 2014.
By: Jeffrey G. Williamson
Most analysts of the modern Latin American economy have held the pessimistic belief in historical persistence — they believe that Latin America has always had very high levels of inequality, and that it’s the Iberian colonists’ fault. Thus, modern analysts see today a more unequal Latin America compared with Asia and most rich post-industrial nations and assume that this must always have been true. Indeed, some have argued that high inequality appeared very early in the post-conquest Americas, and that this fact supported rent-seeking and anti-growth institutions which help explain the disappointing growth performance we observe there even today. The recent leveling of inequality in the region since the 1990s seems to have done little to erode that pessimism. It is important, therefore, to stress that this alleged persistence is based on an historical literature which has made little or no effort to be comparative, and it matters. Compared with the rest of the world, inequality was not high in the century following 1492, and it was not even high in the post-independence decades just prior Latin America’s belle époque and start with industrialization. It only became high during the commodity boom 1870-1913, by the end of which it had joined the rich country unequal club that included the US and the UK. Latin America only became relatively high between 1913 and the 1970s when it missed the Great Egalitarian Leveling which took place almost everywhere else. That Latin American inequality has its roots in its colonial past is a myth.
JEL: D3 N16 N36 O15
By: John F. Helliwell
This paper first reviews existing studies of the links between good governance and subjective well-being. It then brings together the largest available sets of national-level measures of the quality of governance to assess the extent to which they contribute to explaining the levels and changes in life evaluations in 157 countries over the years 2005-2012, using data from the Gallup World Poll. The results show not just that people are more satisfied with their lives in countries with better governance quality, but also that actual changes in governance quality since 2005 have led to large changes in the quality of life. For example, the ten-most-improved countries, in terms of delivery quality changes between 2005 and 2012, when compared to the ten countries with most worsened delivery quality, are estimated to have thereby increased average life evaluations by as much as would be produced by a 40% increase in per capita incomes. The results also confirm earlier findings that the delivery quality of government services generally dominates democratic quality in supporting better lives. The situation changes as development proceeds, with democratic quality having a positive influence among countries that have already achieved higher quality of service delivery.
JEL: H11 I31 P52
By: Joan Costa-i-Font
We examine the role of political economy drivers of the choice agenda in European health systems including middle class electoral support. Building on the reform trajectories and current institutional framework in eight western European countries where there have been significant choice reforms, we explore the preferences for choice and health system satisfaction in those countries. We find provider choice to be supported by middle class demands and health systems satisfaction, but weak evidence of other alternative political motivations for the expansion of provider choice. We conclude that in addition to efficiency improvements, provider choice is largely correlated with the demands for choice among the middle class. The provider choice agenda responds as much to political economy consideration as it does to efficiency arguments.
Keywords: provider choice, health system satisfaction, tax funded health systems, middle class demands