Monthly Archive for July, 2008

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Paul Ehrlich on Diane Rehm

Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies and Biology at Stanford University and author of “The Population Bomb,” among other books, essays, and papers was a guest on the Diane Rehm Show on Thursday, July 25, 2008, promoting his book, The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment.

Paul Ehrlich warned of a looming ecological crisis in his 1968 best-selling book, “The Population Bomb.” Forty years later, he’s back with a new look at how the impact human evolution has had on the environment may threaten the survival of the species.

Listen to the show here: Real Audio or Windows Media.

Continue reading ‘Paul Ehrlich on Diane Rehm’

Inequalities in Young People’s Health

HBSC international report from the 2005/2006 survey
Candace Currie, Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Emmanuelle Godeau, Chris Roberts, Rebecca Smith, Dorothy Currie, Will Picket, Matthias Richter, Antony Morgan and Vivian Barnekow
Source: World Health Organization

This international report is the fourth from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, a WHO collaborative cross-national study, and the most comprehensive. It presents the key findings on patterns of health among young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years in 41 countries and regions across the WHO European Region and North America in 2005/2006. Its theme is health inequalities: quantifying the gender, age, geographic and socioeconomic dimensions of health differentials. Its aim is to highlight where these inequalities exist, to inform and influence policy and practice and to help improve health for all young people.

The report clearly shows that, while the health and well-being of many young people give cause for celebration, sizeable minorities are experiencing real and worrying problems related to overweight and obesity, self-esteem, life satisfaction, substance misuse and bullying. The report provides reliable data that health systems in Member States can use to support and encourage sectors such as education, social inclusion and housing, to achieve their primary goals and, in so doing, benefit young people’s health. Policy-makers and professionals in the participating countries should listen closely to the voices of their young people and ensure that these drive their efforts to put in place the circumstances – social, economic, health and educational – within which young people can thrive and prosper.

Full document (PDF)
; Chapters

Changing Western Values

Changing Values among Western Publics from 1970 to 2006
Ronald F. Inglehart
Source: World Values Survey
In 1971 it was hypothesised that intergenerational value changes were taking place. More than a generation has passed since then, and today it seems clear that the predicted changes have occurred. A large body of evidence, analysed using three different approaches — (1) cohort analysis; (2) comparisons of rich and poor countries; (3) examination of actual trends observed over the past 35 years — all points to the conclusion that major cultural changes are occurring, and that they reflect a process of intergenerational change linked with rising levels of existential security.
Download Document (PDF); Download Survey Data Files

Wealth Without Health

What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption
Amy Finkelstein, Erzo F.P. Luttmer and Matthew J. Notowidigdo
Source: Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Working Paper

We estimate how the marginal utility of consumption varies with health. To do so, we develop a simple model in which the impact of health on the marginal utility of consumption can be estimated from data on permanent income, health, and utility proxies. We estimate the model using the Health and Retirement Study’s panel data on the elderly and near-elderly, and proxy for utility with measures of subjective well-being. We find robust evidence that the marginal utility of consumption declines as health deteriorates. Our central estimate is that a one-standard¬deviation increase in the number of chronic diseases is associated with an 11 percent decline in the marginal utility of consumption relative to this marginal utility when the individual has no chronic diseases. The 95 percent confidence interval allows us to reject declines in marginal utility of less than 2 percent or more than 17 percent. Point estimates from a wide range of alternative specifications tend to lie within this confidence interval. We present some simple, illustrative calibration results that suggest that state dependence of the magnitude we estimate can have a substantial effect on important economic problems such as the optimal level of health insurance benefits and the optimal level of life-cycle savings.

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Number of Jobs, Labor Market Activity and Earnings

Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results From a Longitudinal Survey
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics New Release

The average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 10.8 jobs from age 18 to age 42, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nearly two-thirds of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 27.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey of 9,964 men and women who were ages 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and ages 41 to 50 when interviewed most recently in 2006-07. These respondents were born in the years 1957 to 1964, the later years of the “baby boom” that occurred in the United States from 1946 to 1964. The survey spans more than a quar- ter century and provides information on work and nonwork experiences, training, schooling, income and assets, health conditions, and other characteristics. The information provided by respondents, who were interviewed annually from 1979 to 1994 and biennially since 1994, can be considered representative of all men and women born in the late 1950s and early 1960s and living in the United States when the survey began in 1979.

Full News Release (PDF)

Preteen Crime

Arresting Children: Examining Recent Trends in Preteen Crime
Jeffrey A. Butts, Howard N. Snyder
Source: Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago
Are juvenile offenders getting younger? The American public often hears policymakers and justice practitioners assert that young people are committing crimes at younger and younger ages. Is this true? This analysis explores this question by examining data collected by law enforcement agencies across the country. It tracks juvenile crime patterns from 1980 through 2006 and finds that the age profile of juvenile offenders has not changed substantially in 25 years. Crime rates among children under age 13 have generally followed the same crime patterns exhibited among older youth. In a few offense categories, however, increases in preteen crime have outpaced increases among older juveniles, particularly sexual offenses, assaults, and weapons possession (not necessarily firearms). The fact that school authorities and family members often report these offenses suggests a possible hypothesis to explain increases in some preteen crimes: The juvenile justice system today may be dealing with child behavior problems that were once the responsibility of social welfare agencies, schools, and families.
Full report (PDF)

Falls, Depression and Antidepressants in Later Life

Falls, Depression and Antidepressants in Later Life: A Large Primary Care Appraisal
Ngaire Kerse1, Leon Flicker, Jon J. Pfaff, Brian Draper, Nicola T. Lautenschlager, Moira Sim, John Snowdon, Osvaldo P. Almeida
Source: PLoS ONE
Risk factors associated with sustaining a single and sustaining multiple falls differ suggesting potential separate mechanisms for single and multiple falls. Use of antidepressants (most notably SSRIs) and depressive symptoms are independently associated with increased risk of falls in later life. The prevalence of falls with depression means that fall prevention strategies should be a routine part of the management of depression in older people.
Full text (HTML); PDF

Ecological Predictors for Childhood Obesity

Ecological Predictors and Developmental Outcomes of Persistent Childhood Overweight
Sara Gable, Jo Britt-Rankin, and Jennifer L. Krull
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
Child obesity poses short- and long-term health risks and may have negative social and economic consequences in adulthood. This study uses data on 8,000 children followed from kindergarten through third grade as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class to examine predictors of persistent childhood overweight and associated academic and socioemotional outcomes. Results show that socioeconomic status, gender, race, and behavioral and environmental factors influence risk of persistent overweight. The odds of children being overweight increased 3 percent for each additional hour of television that they watched per week and 9 percent for each family meal per week that they did not experience. Overweight children progressed less than their nonoverweight peers did in reading and math achievement, with overweight appearing to precede academic difficulties, and were rated lower on academic and socioemotional factors by their teachers and themselves. Academic and social costs should be considered in assessing costs of childhood overweight and potential benefits of overweight prevention.
Full Report (PDF)

New Working Papers from the NBER

Education and the Age Profile of Literacy into Adulthood
Elizabeth Cascio, Damon Clark, Nora Gordon
Abstract; PDF
Welfare Payments and Crime
C. Fritz Foley
Abstract; PDF
Trends in Men’s Earnings Volatility: What Does the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Show?
Donggyun Shin, Gary Solon
Abstract; PDF
How Social Processes Distort Measurement: The Impact of Survey Nonresponse on Estimates of Volunteer Work
Katharine G. Abraham, Sara E. Helms, Stanley Presser
Abstract; PDF
Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Infant Health Outcomes
Tara Watson, Angela Fertig
Abstract; PDF
Will the Stork Return to Europe and Japan? Understanding Fertility Within Developed Nations
Bruce Sacerdote, James Feyrer
Abstract; PDF
The Impact of Income on the Weight of Elderly Americans
John Cawley, John R. Moran, Kosali I. Simon
Abstract; PDF
Protecting Minorities in Binary Elections: A Test of Storable Votes Using Field Data
Alessandra Casella, Shuky Ehrenberg, Andrew Gelman, Jie Shen
Abstract; PDF
Marijuana Use and High School Dropout: The Influence of Unobservables
Daniel F. McCaffrey, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Bing Han, Phyllis Ellickson
Abstract; PDF
Nature or Nurture? Learning and the Geography of Female Labor Force Participation
Alessandra Fogli, Laura Veldkamp
Abstract; PDF
The Cost of Uncertain Life Span
Ryan D. Edwards
Abstract; PDF
What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption
Amy Finkelstein, Erzo F.P. Luttmer, Matthew J. Notowidigdo
Abstract; PDF
Use of Propensity Scores in Non-Linear Response Models: The Case for Health Care Expenditures
Anirban Basu, Daniel Polsky, Willard G. Manning
Abstract; PDF
Estimation of Random Coefficient Demand Models: Challenges, Difficulties and Warnings
Christopher R. Knittel, Konstantinos Metaxoglou
Abstract; PDF

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

Estimating the Causal Effect of Gun Prevalence on Homicide Rates: A Local Average Treatment Effect Approach
Tomislav Kovandzic, Mark Schaffer, Gary Kleck
Abstract; PDF
Social Protection and Migration in China: What Can Protect Migrants from Economic Uncertainty?
Lina Song, Simon Appleton
Abstract; PDF
Citizenship in the United States: The Roles of Immigrant Characteristics and Country of Origin
Barry R. Chiswick, Paul W. Miller
Abstract; PDF
New Estimates of the Effects of Minimum Wages in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector
John T. Addison, McKinley L. Blackburn, Chad D. Cotti
Abstract; PDF
The Impact of Social Capital on Crime: Evidence from the Netherlands
I. Semih Ak