A Theory of Cultural Revivals

November 28, 2019
By: Murat Iyigun (University of Colorado, Boulder); Jared Rubin (Chapman University); Avner Seror (Aix-Marseille Univ, CNRS, EHESS, Ecole Centrale, AMSE, Marseille, France)
Abstract: Why do some societies fail to adopt more efficient institutions? And why do such failures often coincide with cultural movements that glorify the past? We propose a model highlighting the interplay—or lack thereof—between institutional change and cultural beliefs. The main insight is that institutional change by itself will not lead to a more efficient economy unless culture evolves in tandem. This is because institutional change can be countered by changes in cultural values complementary to a more “traditional” economy. In our model, forward-looking elites, who benefit from a traditional, inefficient economy, may over-provide public goods that are complementary to the production of traditional goods. This encourages individuals to transmit cultural beliefs complementary to the provision of traditional goods. A horse race results between institutions, which evolve towards a more efficient (less traditional) economy, and cultural norms, which are pulled towards “tradition” by the elites. When culture wins the horse race, institutions respond by giving more political power to traditional elites—even if in doing so more efficient institutions are left behind. We call the interaction between these cultural and institutional dynamics a cultural revival.
Keywords: institutions, cultural beliefs, cultural transmission, institutional change
JEL: D02 N40 N70 O33 O38 O43 Z10
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1931&r=ltv

Is There a Link Between Air Pollution and Impaired Memory? Evidence on 34,000 English Citizens

November 28, 2019
By: Oswald, Andrew J. (Economics and CAGE, University of Warwick); Powdthavee, Nattavudh (WBS, University of Warwick)
Abstract: It is known that people feel less happy in areas with higher levels of nitrogen dioxide NO2 (MacKerron and Mourato, 2009). What else might air pollution do to human wellbeing? This paper uses data on a standardized word-recall test that was done in the year 2011 by 34,000 randomly sampled English citizens across 318 geographical areas. We find that human memory is worse in areas where NO2 and PM10 levels are greater. The paper provides both (i) OLS results and (ii) instrumental-variable estimates that exploit the direction of the prevailing westerly wind and levels of population density. Although caution is always advisable on causal interpretation, these results are concerning and are consistent with laboratory studies of rats and other non-human animals. Our estimates suggest that the difference in memory quality between England’s cleanest and most-polluted areas is equivalent to the loss of memory from 10 extra years of ageing
Keywords: Memory ; NO2 ; PM10 ; air ; pollution ; particulates
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:wrk:warwec:1228&r=ltv

Is There Still Son Preference in the United States?

November 28, 2019
By: Francine D. BlauLawrence M. KahnPeter BrummundJason CookMiriam Larson-Koester
Abstract: In this paper, we use 2008-2013 American Community Survey data to update and further probe evidence on son preference in the United States. In light of the substantial increase in immigration, we examine this question separately for natives and immigrants. Dahl and Moretti (2008) found earlier evidence consistent with son preference in that having a female first child raised fertility and increased the probability that the family was living without a father. We find that for our more recent period, having a female first child still raises the likelihood of living without a father, but is instead associated with lower fertility, particularly for natives. Thus, by the 2008-2013 period, any apparent son preference in fertility decisions appears to have been outweighed by factors such as cost concerns in raising girls or increased female bargaining power. In contrast, some evidence for son preference in fertility persists among immigrants. Immigrant families that have a female first child have significantly higher fertility and are more likely to be living without a father (though not significantly so). Further, gender inequity in source countries is associated with son preference in fertility among immigrants. For both first and second generation immigrants, the impact of a female first-born on fertility is more pronounced for immigrants from source countries with less gender equity. Finally, we find no evidence of sex selection for the general population of natives and immigrants, suggesting that it does not provide an alternative mechanism to account for the disappearance of a positive fertility effect for natives.
Keywords: Gender, son preference, family structure, fertility, sex selection, immigrants
JEL: J11 J12 J13 J15 J16
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1830&r=ltv

Economic Insecurity and the Rise of the Right

November 25, 2019
By: Walter Bossert (CIREQ – Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, University of Montreal – University of Montreal); Andrew E. Clark (PSE – Paris School of Economics, PJSE – Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques – UP1 – Université Panthéon-Sorbonne – ENS Paris – École normale supérieure – Paris – INRA – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique – EHESS – École des hautes études en sciences sociales – ENPC – École des Ponts ParisTech – CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Conchita d’Ambrosio (INSIDE – INtegrative research unit on Social and Individual DEvelopment – University of Luxembourg [Luxembourg]); Anthony Lepinteur (INSIDE – INtegrative research unit on Social and Individual DEvelopment – University of Luxembourg [Luxembourg])
Abstract: Economic insecurity has attracted growing attention in social, academic and policy cir- cles. However, there is no consensus as to its precise de_nition. Intuitively, economic insecurity is multi-faceted, making any comprehensive formal de_nition that subsumes all possible aspects extremely challenging. We propose a simpli_ed approach, and character- ize a class of individual economic-insecurity measures that are based on the time pro_le of economic resources. We then apply our economic-insecurity measure to data on political preferences. In US, UK and German panel data, and conditional on current economic resources, economic insecurity is associated with both greater political participation (sup- port for a party or the intention to vote) and notably more support for parties on the right of the political spectrum. We in particular _nd that economic insecurity predicts greater support for both Donald Trump before the 2016 US Presidential election and the UK leaving the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Keywords: Economic index numbers,Insecurity,Political participation,Conservatism,Right-leaning political parties,Trump,Brexit
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-02325984&r=ltv

Time Discounting and Wealth Inequality

November 25, 2019
By: Epper, ThomasFehr, ErnstFehr-Duda, HelgaThustrup Kreiner, ClausDreyer Lassen, DavidLeth-Petersen, SørenNytoft Rasmussen, Gregers
Abstract: This paper documents a large association between individuals’ time discounting in incentivized experiments and their positions in the real-life wealth distribution derived from Danish highquality administrative data for a large sample of middle-aged individuals. The association is stable over time, exists through the wealth distribution and remains large after controlling for education, income profile, school grades, initial wealth, parental wealth, credit constraints, demographics, risk preferences and additional behavioral parameters. Our results suggest that savings behavior is a driver of the observed association between patience and wealth inequality as predicted by standard savings theory.
Keywords: Wealth inequality, savings behavior, time discounting, experimental methods, administrative data
JEL: C91 D31 E21
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:usg:econwp:2019:16&r=ltv

Equality of opportunity in four measures of well-being

November 25, 2019
By: Xavier Ramos Morilla (Departament d’Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona); Daniel Gerszon Mahler (World Bank)
Abstract: A growing literature has tried to measure the extent to which individuals have equal opportunities to acquire income. At the same time, policymakers have doubled down on e orts to go beyond income when designing policies to enhance well-being. We attempt to bridge these two areas by measuring the extent to which individuals have equal opportunities to achieve a high level of well-being. We use the German Socio-Economic Panel to measure well-being in four di erent ways including incomes. This makes it possible to determine if the way well-being is measured matters for identifying who the opportunity-deprived are and for tracking inequality of opportunity over time. We find that, regardless of how well-being is measured, the same people are opportunity-deprived and equality of opportunity has improved over the past 10 years. This suggests that going beyond income has little relevance if the objective is to provide equal opportunities.
Keywords: Equality of opportunity, measurement, responsibility, e ort, well-being
JEL: D3 D63 I31
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:uab:wprdea:wpdea1803&r=ltv