The Age of Reason

What is the Age of Reason
By: Sumit Agarwal, John C. Driscoll, Xavier Gabaix, and David Laibson
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

From the introduction:

Most U.S. households have accumulated significant assets by retirement, but these assets are often accompanied by significant liabilities. Including net home equity, households with a head age 65-74 had a median net worth of $239,400 in 2007, according to the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). At the same time, the SCF reports that 48 percent had debt secured by a residential property, 26 percent had installment loans, and 37 percent carried credit card balances from month to month. Overall, about two-thirds of these households had at least one form of debt. This brief raises the question of whether older households have the ability to manage their increasingly large and complex balance sheets.

Full text of the brief (PDF)

New Working Papers from the NBER

Field Experiments in Labor Economics
By: John A. List, Imran Rasul
Abstract; PDF

Evaluating the Effects of Large Scale Health Interventions in Developing Countries: The Zambian Malaria Initiative
By: Nava Ashraf, Guenther Fink, David N. Weil
Abstract; PDF

Effects of Welfare Reform on Illicit Drug Use of Adult Women
By: Hope Corman, Dhaval M. Dave, Nancy E. Reichman, Dhiman Das
Abstract; PDF

Social Structure and Development: A Legacy of the Holocaust in Russia
By: Daron Acemoglu, Tarek A. Hassan, James A. Robinson #16083 (DAE POL AG)
Abstract; PDF

Trends in World Inequality in Life Span Since 1970
By: Ryan D. Edwards
Abstract; PDF

Income Inequality, the Median Voter, and the Support for Public Education
By: Sean Corcoran, William N. Evans
Abstract; PDF

Building Bridges Between Structural and Program Evaluation Approaches to Evaluating Policy
By: James J. Heckman
Abstract; PDF

HIV and Fertility Revisited
By: Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Belgi Turan
Abstract; PDF

Binge Drinking & Sex in High School
By: Jeffrey S. DeSimone
Abstract; PDF

Inequality and Infant and Childhood Mortality in the United States in the Twentieth Century
By: Michael R. Haines
Abstract; PDF

The Construction of Life Tables for the American Indian Population at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
By: J. David Hacker, Michael R. Haines #16134 (DAE)
Abstract; PDF

Fertility in New York State in the Civil War Era
By: Michael R. Haines, Avery M. Guest #16135 (DAE)
Abstract; PDF

Suburbanization, Demographic Change and the Consequences for School Finance
By: David N. Figlio, Deborah Fletcher
Abstract; PDF

New Working Papers from the NBER

A Cluster-Grid Projection Method: Solving Problems with High Dimensionality
By: Kenneth L. Judd, Lilia Maliar, Serguei Maliar
Abstract; PDF

Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia
By: Vivi Alatas, Abhijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Benjamin A. Olken, Julia Tobias
Abstract; PDF

Social Welfare Expenditures in the United States and the Nordic Countries: 1900-2003
By: Price V. Fishback
Abstract; PDF

Worker replacement
By: Guido Menzio, Espen R. Moen
Abstract; PDF

Fertility and the Personal Exemption: Comment
By: Richard Crump, Gopi Shah Goda, Kevin Mumford
Abstract; PDF

The Contribution of Trade to Wage Inequality: The Role of Skill, Gender, and Nationality
By: Michael W. Klein, Christoph Moser, Dieter M. Urban
Abstract; PDF

Joblessness and Perceptions about the Effectiveness of Democracy
By: Duha Tore Altindag, Naci H. Mocan
Abstract; PDF

Econometric Methods for Research in Education
By: Costas Meghir, Steven G. Rivkin
Abstract; PDF

Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults
By: Sandra E. Black, Paul J. Devereux, Kjell G. Salvanes
Abstract; PDF

Medicare Part D and its Effect on the Use of Prescription Drugs, Use of Other Health Care Services and Health of the Elderly
By: Robert Kaestner, Nasreen Khan #16011 (HC HE PE)
Abstract; PDF

The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain
By: Damon Clark, Heather Royer
Abstract; PDF

Program Evaluation and Research Designs
By: John DiNardo, David S. Lee
Abstract; PDF

Economic Opportunities and Gender Differences in Human Capital: Experimental Evidence for India
By: Robert T. Jensen
Abstract; PDF

Genetic Interactions with Prenatal Social Environment: Effects on Academic and Behavioral Outcomes
By: Dalton Conley, Emily Rauscher
Abstract; PDF

Unpacking Neighborhood Influences on Education Outcomes: Setting the Stage for Future Research
By: David J. Harding, Lisa Gennetian, Christopher Winship, Lisa Sanbonmatsu, Jeffrey R. Kling
Abstract; PDF

Segregation and Tiebout Sorting: Investigating the Link between Investments in Public Goods and Neighborhood Tipping
By: H. Spencer Banzhaf, Randall P. Walsh
Abstract; PDF

Genetic Markers of Adult Obesity Risk Are Associated with Greater Early Infancy Weight Gain and Growth

Genetic Markers of Adult Obesity Risk Are Associated with Greater Early Infancy Weight Gain and Growth
By: Cathy E. Elks, et al.
Source: PLoS Medicine

Genome-wide studies have identified several common genetic variants that are robustly associated with adult obesity risk. Exploration of these genotype associations in children may provide insights into the timing of weight changes leading to adult obesity.

Methods and Findings

Children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort were genotyped for ten genetic variants previously associated with adult BMI. Eight variants that showed individual associations with childhood BMI (in/near: FTO, MC4R, TMEM18, GNPDA2, KCTD15, NEGR1, BDNF, and ETV5) were used to derive an “obesity-risk-allele score” comprising the total number of risk alleles (range: 2–15 alleles) in each child with complete genotype data (n = 7,146). Repeated measurements of weight, length/height, and body mass index from birth to age 11 years were expressed as standard deviation scores (SDS). Early infancy was defined as birth to age 6 weeks, and early infancy failure to thrive was defined as weight gain between below the 5th centile, adjusted for birth weight. The obesity-risk-allele score showed little association with birth weight (regression coefficient: 0.01 SDS per allele; 95% CI 0.00–0.02), but had an apparently much larger positive effect on early infancy weight gain (0.119 SDS/allele/year; 0.023–0.216) than on subsequent childhood weight gain (0.004 SDS/allele/year; 0.004–0.005). The obesity-risk-allele score was also positively associated with early infancy length gain (0.158 SDS/allele/year; 0.032–0.284) and with reduced risk of early infancy failure to thrive (odds ratio = 0.92 per allele; 0.86–0.98; p = 0.009).


The use of robust genetic markers identified greater early infancy gains in weight and length as being on the pathway to adult obesity risk in a contemporary birth cohort.

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How do employers cope with an ageing workforce?

How do employers cope with an ageing workforce? Views from employers and employees
By: Hendrik P. Van Dalen, Kène Henkens, and Joop Schippers
Source: Demographic Research

How age-conscious are human resource policies? Using a survey of Dutch employers, we examine how employers deal with the prospect of an ageing work force. We supplement our analysis with an additional survey of Dutch employees to compare human resource policies to practices. Results show that a small minority of employers are taking measures to enhance productivity (training programmes) or bring productivity in line with pay (demotion). Personnel policies tend to ‘spare’ older workers: giving them extra leave, early retirement, or generous employment protection: older workers who perform poorly are allowed to stay, whereas younger workers under similar conditions are dismissed.

Texas Gains, Suburbs Lose in 2010 Census Preview

Texas Gains, Suburbs Lose in 2010 Census Preview
By: William H. Frey
Source: Brookings, Metropolitan Policy Program

The election of George W. Bush in 2000 seemed to have crowned Texas the nation’s political winner, among states, as the “Aughts” decade began. When results from the 2010 Census are tallied, the Lone Star state will surely turn out to be the demographic winner for the decade as well.

The Census Bureau all but confirmed Texas’ ascendance this week with the release of population estimates for cities through 2009. These estimates, the last before the actual 2010 headcount gets reported in December, confirm trends seen in previous 2009 estimates for states, metropolitan areas and counties. Those earlier estimates not only showed that Texas is likely to gain 4 congressional seats through reapportionment, but also highlighted the abrupt slowdown in late-decade population gains in Sunbelt states (especially Florida) and metropolitan areas (like Phoenix and Las Vegas). The latter areas suffered from the migration slowdown associated with the bursting of the housing bubble and the ensuing Great Recession.

Full text
Download Table and Figures (3): Table 1, Figure 1, Figure 2.

Changing Dynamics of Migration in the Americas

On the Other Side of the Fence: Changing Dynamics of Migration in the Americas
By: Jacqueline Mazza and Eleanor Sohnen
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In Latin America and the Caribbean, policymakers are noting labor movements inconceivable as little as 10 years ago: Hondurans and Guatemalans crossing to El Salvador for agriculture and construction work; Bolivians and Paraguayans working in large numbers in Argentina; Mexicans from the state of Chiapas moving to the Yucatan for work, with Guatemalans replacing them at even lower wages to harvest Chiapan crops; Ecuadorians and Colombians having moved in large numbers to Spain.

These shifts demonstrate a growing globalization of Latin American labor markets both within and outside the region. Migration to the United States and Europe appears to have slowed in the wake of the recent global financial crisis, and return migration to the region appears limited.

Full text

Contraceptive Use in the United States

Facts on Contraceptive Use in the United States
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Information on who uses contraception, methods, trends and funding.

Full text

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

Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility
(forthcoming in: Handbook of Labor Economics)
Sandra E. Black, Paul Devereux
Abstract; PDF

Home-Leaving Decisions of Daughters and Sons
(forthcoming: Review of the Economics of the Household, 2010)
Maria Concetta Chiuri, Daniela Del Boca
Abstract; PDF

What Makes a Good Conference? Analysing the Preferences of Labor Economists
Lex Borghans, Margo Romans, Jan Sauermann
Abstract; PDF

Explaining Rising Returns to Education in Urban China in the 1990s
Xuejun Liu, Albert Park, Yaohui Zhao
Abstract; PDF

One Last Puff? Public Smoking Bans and Smoking Behavior
Silke Anger, Michael Kvasnicka, Thomas Siedler
Abstract; PDF

Migration and Urban Poverty and Inequality in China
Albert Park, Dewen Wang
Abstract; PDF

The Dynamics of Women’s Labour Supply in Developing Countries
Sonia R. Bhalotra, Marcela Umana-Aponte
Abstract; PDF

Gender and the Influence of Peer Alcohol Consumption on Adolescent Sexual Activity
Glen R. Waddell
Abstract; PDF

Neighbourhood Child Poverty in Sweden
Björn Gustafsson, Torun Österberg
Abstract; PDF

Wage Effects of Non-Wage Labour Costs
María Cervini Plá, Xavi Ramos, José I. Silva
Abstract; PDF

Racial Harassment, Ethnic Concentration and Economic Conditions
Christian Dustmann, Francesca Fabbri, Ian Preston
Abstract; PDF

The Effect of Family Separation and Reunification on the Educational Success of Immigrant Children in the United States
T. H. Gindling, Sara Z. Poggio
Abstract; PDF

Modeling Employment Dynamics with State Dependence and Unobserved Heterogeneity
Victoria L. Prowse
Abstract; PDF

Behind the Lighthouse Effect
Tito Boeri, Pietro Garibaldi, Marta Ribeiro
Abstract; PDF

Immigrants at New Destinations: How They Fare and Why
Anabela Carneiro, Natércia Fortuna, José Varejão
Abstract; PDF

Economic Characteristics of Households in the United States

Economic Characteristics of Households in the United States: Third Quarter 2008
By: Thomas Palumbo
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

From Introduction:

In the third quarter of 2008, the U.S. economy was in the midst of the recession that began in December 2007, while the labor market continued a decline that started during the second half of 2007. The third quarter of 2008 saw the national unemployment rate rise to 6 percent and the number of unemployed people reach 9.4 million, an increase of 1.2 percentage points and 2 million people over the fourth quarter of 2007 (all figures seasonally adjusted). Over the same 2007–2008 period, employment was down by almost 1 million people and the employment-population ratio dipped from 62.8 percent to 62.1 percent. Throughout 2008, median weekly earnings grew at about the same rate as inflation.

This report provides an overview of some of the key sources of financial support of the nation’s people and households during this time. The data offer a window into the roles of government-sponsored benefit programs and the labor market during the downturn. When placed within a wider context, the data can contribute to a better understanding of how public and market-oriented financial-support mechanisms respond to varying economic circumstances, and how the role of government programs has changed over time.