Monthly Archive for July, 2009

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Intergenerational social mobility in European OECD countries

Intergenerational social mobility in European OECD countries
By: Orsetta Causa, Sophie Dantan and Åsa Johansson
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Economics Department

This paper breaks new ground by providing comparable estimates of intergenerational wage and education persistence across 14 European OECD countries based on a new micro data from Eurostat. A further novelty is that it examines the potential role of public policies and labour and product market institutions in explaining observed differences in intergenerational wage mobility across countries. The empirical estimates show that intergenerational wage persistence is relatively high in southern European countries, as well as in the United Kingdom. Likewise, intergenerational persistence in education is relatively high both in southern European countries and in Luxembourg and Ireland. By contrast, both persistence in wages and education tends to be lower in Nordic countries. In addition, empirical results show that education is one important driver of intergenerational wage persistence across European countries. There is a positive crosscountry correlation between intergenerational wage mobility and redistributive policies, as well as a positive correlation between wage-setting institutions that compress the wage distribution and mobility.

Full text (PDF)

Truth in Giving: Experimental Evidence on the Welfare Effects of Informed Giving to the Poor

Truth in Giving: Experimental Evidence on the Welfare Effects of Informed Giving to the Poor
By: Christina Fong and Felix Oberholzer-Gee
Source: Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers
Abstract
It is often difficult for donors to predict the value of charitable giving because they know little about the persons who receive their help. This concern is particularly acute when making contributions to organizations that serve heterogeneous populations. While we have considerable evidence that donors are more generous if they know their assistance benefits a preferred group, we know little about the demand for such information. To start closing this gap, we study transfers of income to real-world poor people in the context of dictator games. Our dictators can purchase signals about why the recipients are poor. We find that a third of the dictators are willing to pay a dollar to learn more about their recipient. Dictators who devote resources to acquiring information are individuals whose giving is particularly responsive to recipient type. They use the information mainly to withhold resources from “undeserving” types, leading to a drastic decline in aggregate transfers. With endogenous information about recipients, we find that all types of poor subjects are worse off. Our results suggest that the effects of truth-in-giving policies are highly responsive to recipient heterogeneity and biased against more generous giving.
Full text (PDF)

A spatial evaluation of socio demographics surrounding National Priorities List sites in Florida using a distance-based approach

A spatial evaluation of socio demographics surrounding National Priorities List sites in Florida using a distance-based approach
By: Greg Kearney and Gebre-Egziabher Kiros
Source: International Journal of Health Geographics
Abstract:
BACKGROUND: Over the last two decades, various spatial techniques have been demonstrated using geographical information systems (GIS) to adequately estimate and characterize inequities of minority populations living near environmentally hazardous facilities. However, these methods have produced mixed results. In this study, we use recently developed variations of the “distance based” approach to spatially evaluate and compare demographic and socioeconomic disparities surrounding the worst hazardous waste sites in Florida.
METHODS: We used data from the 2000 US Census Bureau and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to identify selected socio and economic variables within one (1) mile of 71 National Priorities List (NPL) or Superfund sites in Florida. ArcMap (ESRI, v. 9.2) was used to map the centroid locations of each of the NPL sites as well as identify and estimate the number of host and non-host tracts. The unit of analysis in this study was at the census tract level. Logistic regression (SAS v9.1.3) was used to determine if race/ethnicity and socioeconomic indicators are significant predictors of the location of NPL sites.
RESULTS: There were significant differences in race/ethnicity composition and socio-economic factors between NPL host census tracts and non-host census tracts in Florida. The percentages of Blacks (OR = 5.7, p < 0.001), the percentage of Hispanic/Latino (OR = 5.84, p < 0.001), and percent employed in blue collar occupations (OR = 2.7, p < 0.01) were significant predictors of location of NPL facilities. CONCLUSION: The recently developed distance-based method supports previous studies and suggests that race and ethnicity play substantial roles in where hazardous facilities are located in Florida. Recommendations include using distance-based methods to evaluate socio and demographic characteristics surrounding other less known environmental hazardous facilities, such as landfills, or Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) sites.

Full text (PDF)

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009
Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009 is a compendium of indicators illustrating both the promises and the difficulties confronting our Nation’s young people. The report presents 40 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives. These indicators are drawn from our most reliable statistics, easily understood by broad audiences, objectively based on substantial research, balanced so that no single area of children’s lives dominates the report, measured regularly so that they can be updated to show trends over time, and representative of large segments of the population rather than one particular group.

This year’s report continues to present key indicators grouped by the seven sections identified in the restructured 10th anniversary report (2007): family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. The report incorporates several modifications that reflect the Forum’s ongoing efforts to improve its quality and comprehensiveness: updates to data sources and substantive expansions or clarifications have been made for several indicators; a regular indicator on adolescent depression has been added, addressing an ongoing data gap on the mental heath of children; and a special feature, Children with Special Health Care Needs, has been included.

Foreword and Table of Contents
Full text (PDF)

New Working Papers from the NBER

Modern Medicine and the 20th Century Decline in Mortality: Evidence on the Impact of Sulfa Drugs
Seema Jayachandran, Adriana Lleras-Muney, Kimberly V. Smith
Abstract; PDF
Life at the top: the benefits of height
Angus S. Deaton, Raksha Arora
Abstract; PDF
Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight
Dana Goldman, Darius Lakdawalla, Yuhui Zheng
Abstract; PDF
Abortion and Crime: A Review
Theodore J. Joyce
Abstract; PDF
Crime and Body Weight in the Nineteenth Century: Was there a Relationship between Brawn, Employment Opportunities and Crime?
Howard Bodenhorn, Gregory Price
Abstract; PDF
Obesity, Self-esteem and Wages
Naci H. Mocan, Erdal Tekin
Abstract; PDF

New Discussion Papers from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Inequality and Specialization: The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs in the United States
David Autor, David Dorn
Abstract; PDF
Flexible Labor Supply Models
(forthcoming in: Economics Letters )
Olivier Bargain
Abstract; PDF
The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence Using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data
Olivier Bargain, Prudence Kwenda
Abstract; PDF
Circular Migration or Permanent Return: What Determines Different Forms of Migration?
Florin Vadean, Matloob Piracha
Abstract; PDF
Linking Individuals and Societies
(forthcoming in: Journal of Mathematical Sociology )
Guillermina Jasso
Abstract; PDF

Obesity Among U.S. Adults Continues to Rise

Obesity Among U.S. Adults Continues to Rise
Source: Centers for Disease Control

The proportion of U.S. adults who are obese increased to 26.1 percent in 2008 compared to 25.6 percent in 2007. The data come from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based phone survey that collects health information from adults aged 18 and over.

In six states – Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia – adult obesity prevalence was 30 percent or more. Thirty-two states, including those six, had obesity prevalence of 25 percent or more. Only one state, Colorado, had a prevalence of obesity less than 20 percent. But no state showed a significant decrease in obesity prevalence from 2007 to 2008.

More than 400,000 U.S. adults were surveyed in the 2008 BRFSS, which is the world’s largest telephone health survey. To assess obesity prevalence, survey respondents are asked to provide their height and weight, which is used to calculate their body mass index (BMI). A person is considered obese if they have a BMI of 30 or above.

“Obesity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. As obesity increases among all age groups, we are seeing chronic diseases in much younger adults compared to a few decades ago,” said Dr. William Dietz, director, CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity.
“For example, we now see young adults who suffer from heart disease risk factors and other conditions such as type 2 diabetes that were unheard of in the past.”

The 2008 BRFSS obesity data indicate that none of the 50 states or the District of Columbia has achieved the Healthy People 2010 goal of reducing obesity prevalence to 15 percent or less.

“The latest BRFSS survey data show that the obesity problem in this country is getting worse,” said Liping Pan, CDC epidemiologist and lead author of the 2008 BRFSS obesity map analysis. “If this trend continues we will likely see increases in health care costs for obesity related diseases.”

For more information on obesity trends, including an animated map, visit www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html.

Medicaid Funding and Abortion

Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review
By: Stanley K. Henshaw, Theodore J. Joyce, Amanda Dennis, Lawrence B. Finer and Kelly Blanchard
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Approximately one-fourth of women who would obtain a Medicaid-funded abortion if given the option are instead forced to carry their pregnancy to term when state laws restrict Medicaid funding for abortion, because they lack the money to pay for the procedure themselves. According to a new report, “Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review,” by the Guttmacher Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health, Medicaid funding restrictions also delay some women’s abortion by 2–3 weeks, primarily because of difficulties women encounter in raising funds to pay for the procedure.

Full report (PDF)

For more information on Medicaid funding for abortion, click here: State Policies in Brief: State Funding of Abortion Under Medicaid.

Selection, Wear, and Tear

Selection, Wear, and Tear: The Health of Hispanics and Hispanic Immigrants in the United States
By: Ricardo Basurto-Davila
Source: RAND Corporation, PRGS Dissertations

Among the factors that complicate the study of Hispanic health are data artifacts and cultural differences that originate from different degrees of assimilation. This dissertation provides a better understanding of the issues surrounding the health of Hispanics in general, and of Hispanic immigrants in particular. The author examines differences in health status between non-Hispanic Whites, Mexican Americans, and Mexican immigrants, and proposes an index of biological risk. He finds indirect evidence supporting the “healthy migrant” hypothesis, which states that emigrants are positively selected in their health status from the population of their countries of origin. Two hypotheses explaining the decline in immigrant health are consistent with the author’s results: (1) the “life-course” hypothesis, which states that the deterioration of immigrant health status is a result of the cumulative negative effect of the adversities associated with the process of migration, and (2) the “regression to the mean” hypothesis, which maintains that immigrants self-select on health at the time of migration, but over time their health converges to the average health levels in their home countries.

Full Document (PDF)

New Discussion Papers from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Forecasting with Spatial Panel Data
Badi H. Baltagi, Georges Bresson, Alain Pirotte
Abstract; PDF

Large Demographic Shocks and Small Changes in the Marriage Market
Loren Brandt, Aloysius Siow, Carl Vogel
Abstract; PDF

The Duration of Paid Parental Leave and Children’s Scholastic Performance
Qian Liu, Oskar Nordström Skans
Abstract; PDF

How Does Retirement Affect Health?
Stefanie Behncke
Abstract; PDF

Child Care Subsidies and Childhood Obesity
Chris M. Herbst, Erdal Tekin
Abstract; PDF

Age at Migration and Social Integration
Olof Aslund, Anders Böhlmark, Oskar Nordström Skans
Abstract; PDF

Immigration, Family Responsibilities and the Labor Supply of Skilled Native Women
Lídia Farré, Libertad Gonzalez, Francesc Ortega
Abstract; PDF

Causes and Consequences of a Father’s Child Leave: Evidence from a Reform of Leave Schemes
Helena Skyt Nielsen
Abstract; PDF
Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey
John J. McArdle, James P. Smith, Robert Willis
Abstract; PDF

Birth Weight and the Dynamics of Early Cognitive and Behavioural Development
Emilia Del Bono, John Ermisch
Abstract; PDF

Immigration to the Land of Redistribution
Tito Boeri
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes
James P. Smith
Abstract; PDF

Work and Money: Payoffs by Ethnic Identity and Gender
Amelie F. Constant, Klaus F. Zimmermann
Abstract; PDF