Population Dynamics and Health

2024 - n° 159

We study whether (and why) self-employed individuals have higher fertility than employees.
Macro- and micro-level studies have produced inconsistent findings. Self-employment has been associated with income uncertainty and instability and may be negatively related to fertility. However, self-employment also implies workplace flexibility and higher potential income and may positively affect fertility. These mechanisms operate differently for men and women. We use the Italian Survey on Household Income and Wealth for 1995-2014, which includes objective and subjective fertility measures, and distinguish between three types of self-employment: laborer (solo) self-employment, entrepreneurship, and professionals. We show that all self-employed men and laborer self-employed women have higher fertility than comparable wage earners of the same sex. Using an instrumental variable treatment-effect regression approach and work histories, we show that self-employment causes higher fertility. We provide evidence that male and female entrepreneurs have more children because they would like to pass their business to their offspring (and rely on the family labor supply). Contrary to the US studies, Italian women do not perceive self-employment as facilitating work-life balance or encouraging childbearing.

Francesco C. Billari, Berkay Özcan, Concetta Rondinelli
Keywords: Self-Employment, Gender, Fertility, Entrepreneurship, Children
2021 - n° 141
The association between social classes and fertility behaviour remains undertheorized as the literature focused mostly on the differentials in education and income levels as determinants of fertility behaviour. By using data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), which for many countries combine a cross-sectional and a longitudinal component, we aim at filling this gap in the literature. Hence, we first explore the association between social classes and fertility behaviour and the extent to which this association is moderated by education and income. Secondly, we consider how this association varies by parity. Results underline the role of social class in affecting individuals’ fertility, over and above education and income.
Teodora Maksimovic, Marco Albertini, Letizia Mencarini, Giorgio Piccitto
2020 - n° 140
We empirically investigate the existence of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) focusing on a sample of 39 countries in the period 1996-2014. Using an interaction model, we also analyze whether the effectiveness of environmental taxes in reducing CO 2 emissions depends on the quality of political institutions. Our results show that the inverted U-shaped relationship between environmental stress and economic development holds independently of the quality of political institutions and environment related taxes. Moreover, an increase in the environmental tax revenue has the expected reducing effect on environmental degradation only in countries with more consolidated democratic institutions, higher civil society participation and less corrupt governments. Our findings also show that the effects on environmental stress of revenue neutral shifts to different tax sources depend not only on the quality of political institutions, but also on the kind of externality the policymaker aims at correcting.
Donatella Baiardi , Simona Scabrosetti
2020 - n° 139
Discussion on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans has been at center stage since the outbreak of the epidemic in the United States. To present day, however, lack of race-disaggregated individual data has prevented a rigorous assessment of the extent of this phenomenon and the reasons why blacks may be particularly vulnerable to the disease. Using individual and georeferenced death data collected daily by the Cook County Medical Examiner, we provide first evidence that race does affect COVID-19 outcomes. The data confirm that in Cook County blacks are overrepresented in terms of COVID-19 related deaths since—as of June 16, 2020—they constitute 35 percent of the dead, so that they are dying at a rate 1.3 times higher than their population share. Furthermore, by combining the spatial distribution of mortality with the 1930s redlining maps for the Chicago area, we obtain a block group level panel dataset of weekly deaths over the period January 1, 2020-June 16, 2020, over which we establish that, after the outbreak of the epidemic, historically lower-graded neighborhoods display a sharper increase in mortality, driven by blacks, while no pretreatment differences are detected. Thus, we uncover a persistence influence of the racial segregation induced by the discriminatory lending practices of the 1930s, by way of a diminished resilience of the black population to the shock represented by the COVID-19 outbreak. A heterogeneity analysis reveals that the main channels of transmission are socioeconomic status and household composition, whose influence is magnified in combination with a higher black share.
Graziella Bertocchi , Arcangelo Dimico
2020 - n° 138
We empirically assess the effect of historical slavery on the African American family structure. Our hypothesis is that female single headship among blacks is more likely to emerge in association not with slavery per se, but with slavery in sugar plantations, since the extreme demographic and social conditions prevailing in the latter have persistently affected family formation patterns. By exploiting the exogenous variation in sugar suitability, we establish the following. In 1850, sugar suitability is indeed associated with extreme demographic outcomes within the slave population. Over the period 1880-1940, higher sugar suitability determines a higher likelihood of single female headship. The effect is driven by blacks and starts fading in 1920 in connection with the Great Migration. OLS estimates are complemented with a matching estimator and a fuzzy RDD. Over a linked sample between 1880 and 1930, we identify an even stronger intergenerational legacy of sugar planting for migrants. By 1990, the effect of sugar is replaced by that of slavery and the black share, consistent with the spread of its influence through migration and intermarriage, and black incarceration emerges as a powerful mediator. By matching slaves’ ethnic origins with ethnographic data we rule out any influence of African cultural traditions.
Graziella Bertocchi , Arcangelo Dimico
2019 - n° 135
This paper shows and explains lower wealth inequality in East Asia than Western Europe over the very long-run, 1300-2000. A rich new dataset of village censuses in Japan, 1640-1870, and secondary evidence suggest Gini coefficients of wealth inequality in the East were 0.4-0.5 relative to 0.7-0.9 in the West preceding industrialization. Such regional patterns also precede the black death so any explanation must predate this. I propose the demographic institution of adoption as one such explanation. Adoption prevented the failure of male lines through which wealth was inherited. Adoption was practiced across Eurasia until the 5th century when the church began preaching against it. This increased household extinctions in Europe causing wealth concentration among surviving male lines. In contrast, the Japanese data suggest adoption prevented household extinctions and kept wealth in the family. Simulations show that this mechanism can explain much of the gap in regional wealth inequality.
Yuzuru Kumon
Keywords: Inequality,Yuzuru Kumon
2019 - n° 134
OBJECTIVE: In this study we test whether perceived stability of employment and perceived resilience to potential job loss affect fertility intentions, net of individual level risk attitudes and considering variation in the local macroeconomic conditions. BACKGROUND: The role of employment uncertainty as a fertility driver has been explored in a number of studies with a limited set of constructs, and with inconclusive results. A key reason for this heterogeneous pattern is that scholars did not recognize the multidimensionality and the prospective nature of employment uncertainty. We address these oversights by considering two key dimensions of employment uncertainty: perceived stability of employment and perceived resilience to potential job loss. METHOD: Our study is conducted using the newly-released 2017 OECD Italian Trustlab survey and its built-in module on self-assessed employment uncertainty (N=521). We perform multivariate analysis using ordered logistic regression. RESULTS: Perception of employment resilience was a powerful predictor of fertility intentions, whereas perception of employment stability had only a limited impact. The observed relationship between resilience and fertility intentions was robust to the inclusion of person-specific risk attitude and it did not depend on aggregate-level variables, such as unemployment and fixed-term contract rates in the area of residence. CONCLUSION: With this paper, we argue that the notion of resilience is crucial for making sense of economic prospects in connection to fertility planning.
Arianna Gatta, Francesco Mattioli, Letizia Mencarini, Daniele Vignoli
Keywords: Employment Uncertainty; Fertility Intentions; Resilience; Stability; Italy; Trustlab survey
2019 - n° 131
For a sample of Central and Eastern European countries, characterized by historically high female labor force participation and currently low fertility rates, we analyze whether fathers’ increased involvement in the family (housework and childcare) has the potential of increasing both fertility and maternal employment. Using two waves of the Generations and Gender Survey, we show that a higher fathers’ involvement in the family increases the subsequent likelihood that the mother has a second child and works full-time. Men’s fertility and work decisions are instead unrelated to mothers’ housework and childcare. We also show that fathers’ involvement in housework plays a more important role than involvement in childcare. The role of fathers’ involvement in housework is confirmed when we consider women who initially wanted or intended to have a child, women whose partner also wanted a child or women who intended to continue working.
Ester Fanelli, Paola Profeta
Keywords: Gender revolution,demographic trends,working mothers,gender roles,fertility
2019 - n° 128
Background: In recent years, we witnessed a resurgence of measles even in countries where, according to WHO guidelines, elimination should have already been achieved. In high-income countries, the raise of anti-vaccination movements and parental vaccine hesitancy are posing major challenges for the achievement and maintenance of high coverage during routine programmes. Italy and France approved new regulations, respectively in 2017 and 2018, aimed at raising immunisation rates among children by introducing mandatory vaccination at school entry. Methods: We simulated the evolution of measles immunity profiles in seven distinct countries for the period 2018–2050 and evaluated the effect of possible adjustments of immunisation strategies adopted in the past on the overall fraction and age distribution of susceptible individuals in different high-income demographic settings. The proposed model accounts for country-specific demographic components, current immunity gaps and immunisation activities in 2018. Vaccination strategies considered include the enhancement of coverage for routine programmes already in place and the introduction of a compulsory vaccination at primary school entry in countries where universal school enrolment is likely achieved. Results: Our model shows that, under current vaccination policies, the susceptible fraction of the population would remain below measles elimination threshold only in Singapore and South Korea. In the UK, Ireland, the USA and Australia either the increase of coverage of routine programmes above 95% or the introduction of a compulsory vaccination at school entry with coverage above 40% are needed to maintain susceptible individuals below 7.5% up to 2050. Although the implementation of mandatory vaccination at school entry would be surely beneficial in Italy, strategies targeting adults would also be required to avoid future outbreaks in this country. Conclusions: Current vaccination policies are not sufficient to achieve and maintain measles elimination in most countries. Strategies targeting unvaccinated children before they enter primary school can remarkably enhance the fulfilment of WHO targets.
Filippo Trentini, Piero Poletti, Alessia Melegaro, Stefano Merler
Keywords: Measles elimination,Compulsory vaccination,School entry vaccination,High-income countries,Mathematical model
2019 - n° 127
The north-south gap in Italian social capital has been considered by international scholars as an example of how cultural diversity within a country can generate dierent developmental outcomes. Most studies, however, suer from limited external validity and measurement-error problems. This paper exploits a new and representative online lab-experiment to assess social capital patterns in Italy. Our study only partially conrms previous ndings: northerners perform better in trustworthiness, but they are statistically similar to southerners in many other economic preferences such as cooperation, trust, expected trustworthiness, altruism, and risk tolerance. A novelty of this study is that the gap in trustworthiness stems from the lower reciprocity of southerners in response to large transfers from trustors, and it is characterized by the intergenerational transmission of norms. Eective convergence policies should target, within social capital, reciprocity, while looking to other, and perhaps more compelling gaps.
Arnstein Aassve, Pierluigi Conzo, Francesco Mattioli
Keywords: Trust,cooperation,social capital,culture,lab-experiments,regiona lconvergence,Italy,Trustlab
2018 - n° 125
Are public good games really capturing individuals’ willingness to contribute to real-life public goods? To answer this question, we conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment with communities who own collective goods. In our experiment, subjects voluntarily contribute to a common pool, which can either be subdivided in individual vouchers, as in standard public good games, or used to acquire collective goods, as it happens for real-life public goods. We show that participants’ contributions are larger when the voucher is paid individually, suggesting that individuals’ willingness to contribute to public goods may be overestimated when based on results from laboratory experiments.
Pietro Battiston, Simona Gamba, Matteo Rizzolli, Valentina Rotondi
Keywords: Public goods,lab-in-the-field experiment,cooperation,group,behavior,community,indivisibility
2018 - n° 120
The vast majority of studies looking into the relationship between childbearing and subjective well-being uses overall measures where respondents either report their general level of happiness or their life satisfaction, leaving substantial doubt about the underlying mechanisms. However, life satisfaction and happiness are intuitively multidimensional concepts, simply because there cannot be only one aspect that affects individuals' well-being. In this study, by considering seventeen specific life satisfaction domains, these features come out very clearly. Whereas all the domains considered matter for the overall life satisfaction, only three of them, namely satisfaction with leisure, health and satisfaction with the partnership, change dramatically surrounding childbearing events. Even though we cannot generalize (since these results stems from one particular panel survey, i.e. Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia data), it appears that the typical anticipation and post-child decrease of life satisfaction, so often found in existing studies, stem from changes in these three domains.
Arnstein Aassve, Francesca Luppi, Letizia Mencarini.
Keywords: life satisfaction,domains of satisfaction,childbearing,longitudinal analysis.
2018 - n° 117
This article explores opinions and semantic orientation around fertility and parenthood by scrutinizing filtered Italian Twitter data. We propose a novel methodological framework relying on Natural Language Processing techniques for text analysis, which is aimed at extracting sentiments from texts. A manual annotation for exploring sentiment and attitudes to fertility and parenthood was applied to Twitter data. The resulting set of tweets (corpus) was analysed through sentiment and emotion lexicons in order to highlight how affective language is used in this domain. It emerges that parents express a generally positive attitude towards their children and being and become parents, but quite negative sentiments on children’s future, politics and fertility and also parental behaviour. Exploiting geographical information from tweets, we find a significant correlation between the prevalence of positive sentiments about parenthood and macro-regional indicators for both life satisfaction and fertility levels.
Letizia Mencarini, Delia Irazú Hernández-Farías, Mirko Lai, Viviana Patti, Emilio Sulis, Daniele Vignoli.
Keywords: sentiment analysis,social media,fertility,parenthood,subjective well-being,linguistic corpora.
2018 - n° 115
As more studies focus on social trust and link it to the working of economies and societies, measuring properly this concept is growing in importance. Indeed, as it is a complex construct, entangled to other notions such as reciprocity, it is hard to obtain reliable and accurate measures of it. To mend for this, the OECD has launched Trustlab: a project aimed at creating the first internationally comparable and nationally representative database on trust and social preferences using both survey and experimental approaches. As of March 2018, Trustlab surveys have been run in 6 countries. In this paper we present the data and peculiarities of Trustlab Italy, in which, in addition to the measures of trust, data on personality traits and fertility intentions have been collected.
Arnstein Aassve, Letizia Mencarini, Francesco Chiocchio, Francesco Gandolfi, Arianna Gatta, Francesco Mattioli
2018 - n° 114
This article combines two apparently distinct strands of contemporary research on fertility: the literature on economic uncertainty and fertility and the literature on subjective well-being and fertility. We advance the hypothesis that the impact of term-limited work contracts and precarious jobs on fertility intentions is channeled by an individual’s level of subjective well-being. To test this hypothesis, we adopt a formal framework for causal inference and apply techniques of mediation analysis to data from two rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS 2004 and 2010). Our analysis clearly suggested that the impact of employment uncertainty on fertility intentions depended on the level of subjective well-being: the negative effect was found only when subjective well-being was relatively low (i.e. life satisfaction levels equal or below 6). Detailed results show that parents and younger individuals reduced their fertility intentions more than the childless and older individuals when experiencing economic uncertainty and facing low subjective well-being. We also found that in 2010 – while the economic crisis was underway – it was especially the deterioration in men’s position in the labor market that inhibited fertility planning.
Daniele Vignoli, Letizia Mencarini, Giammarco Alderotti
Keywords: Economic Uncertainty; Subjective Well-being; Fertility Intentions; Europe; Mediation Analysis; Causal Inference; Great Recession
2018 - n° 113
We consider the case when it is of interest to study the different states experienced over time by a set of subjects, focusing on the resulting trajectories as a whole rather than on the occurrence ofspecific events. Such situation occurs commonly in a variety of settings, for example in social and biomedical studies. Model‐based approaches, such as multistate models or Hidden Markov models, are being used increasingly to analyze trajectories and to study their relationships with a set of explanatory variables. The different assumptions underlying different models typically make the comparison of their performances difficult. In this work we introduce a novel way to accomplish this task, based on microsimulation‐based predictions. We discuss some criteria to evaluate one model and/or to compare competing models with respect to their ability to generate trajectories similar to the observed ones.
Raffaella Piccarreta, Marco Bonetti, Stefano Lombardi
Keywords: Dissimilarity,Hidden Markov model,Interpoint distance distribution,Micro‐simulation,Multi‐state model,Optimal Matching,Sequence analysis
2017 - n° 112
The general decline in alcohol and tobacco consumption among teenagers in recent years has been interpreted as a success of the European governments campaigns to increase adolescents’ awareness about the risk associated to drug use. At the same time, polydrug users – those who make use of more than one substance – are becoming a prevalent group among adolescent substance users. This evidence raises the question of whether the traditional approach to study risk perception related to substance use could be improved. Research in this field always deals with substance-specific risk perception indicators, while it lacks of a composite and synthetic measure of risk perception related to the overall attitudes towards substances use. This study explores whether there is a unique overall perception of risk associated with different legal and illegal substances use. Specifically, by making use of ESPAD data, we explore whether it is possible to derive an overall measure of attitude toward drugs consumption, by combining a set of indicators of risk perception regarding different types of substances (i.e. alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illegal drugs) and different frequencies of use (i.e. sporadic versus regular). Factor analysis results provide evidence of the existence of three indexes of perceived risk associated, respectively, to the use of legal drugs, the sporadic use of illegal drugs and the regular use of illegal drugs.
Nicoletta Balbo, Andrea Bonanomi, Francesca Luppi
Keywords: adolescents,drugs,Europe,perceived risk,polydrug
2017 - n° 111
We study the educational choices of children of immigrants in a tracked school system. We first show that immigrant boys in Italy enroll disproportionately into vocational high schools, as opposed to technical and academically-oriented high schools, compared to natives of similar ability. Immigrant girls, instead, choose similar schools as native ones. We then estimate the impact of a large-scale, randomized intervention providing tutoring and career counseling to high-ability immigrant students. Male treated students increase their probability of enrolling into the high track to the same level of natives, also closing the gap in terms of grade retention. There are no significant effects on immigrant females, who exhibit similar choices and performance as native ones in absence of the intervention. Increases in academic motivation and the resulting changes in teachers’ recommendation regarding high school choice explain a sizable portion of the effect, while the effect of increases in cognitive skills is negligible. Finally, we find positive spillovers on immigrant classmates of treated students, while there is no effect on native classmates.
Michela Carlana, Eliana La Ferrara, Paolo Pinotti
Keywords: tracking,career choice,immigrants,aspirations,mentoring
2017 - n° 109
This paper investigates the effect of using mobile money technology on children’s school participation in low-income societies. We argue that, by reducing transaction costs, and by making it easier and less expensive to receive remittances, mobile money technology reduces the need for coping strategies that are detrimental to child development, such as withdrawing children from school and sending them to work. We test this hypothesis using a set of comparative samples from seven low-income countries. We find that mobile money technology increases the chances of children attending school. This finding is robust to the use of estimation techniques that deal with possible endogeneity issues. We also show that the effect of mobile money is mainly driven by African countries and that, at least for girls, it is significantly higher when the household is living below the poverty line.
Valentina Rotondi, Francesco Billari
Keywords: Mobile money,School,Child Labor,Technology,Digital,Revolution.
2017 - n° 108
There is a growing concern that the widespread use of computers, mobile phones and other digital devices before bedtime disrupts our sleep with detrimental effects on our health and cognitive performance. High-speed Internet promotes the use of electronic devices, video games and Internet addiction (e.g., online games and cyberloafing). Exposure to artificial light from tablets and PCs can alterate individuals’ sleep patterns. However, there is little empirical evidence on the causal relationship between technology use near bedtime and sleep. This paper studies the causal effects of access to high-speed Internet on sleep. We first show that playing video games, using PC or smartphones, watching TV or movies are correlated with shorter sleep duration. Second, we exploit historical differences in pre-existing telephone infrastructure that affected the deployment of high-speed Internet across Germany (see Falck et al., 2014) to identify a source of plausibly exogenous variation in access to Broadband. Using this instrumental variable strategy, we find that DSL access reduces sleep duration and sleep satisfaction.
Francesco Billari, Osea Giuntella, Luca Stella.
Keywords: Internet,Sleep Duration,Time use
2017 - n° 106
In this paper, we show that unemployment increases child neglect in the United States during the period from 2004 to 2012. A one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 20 percent increase in neglect. We identify this effect by instrumenting for the county-level unemployment rate with a Bartik instrument, which we create as the weighted average of the national-level unemployment rates across each of twenty industries, where the weights are the county-level fraction of the employed working-age population in each industry at the start of the sample period. An important mechanism behind this effect is that parents lack social and private safety nets. The effect on neglect is smaller in states that introduce longer extensions to unemployment benefits, and is greater in counties where an initially larger fraction of children are not covered by health insurance. We find no evidence that the effect is driven by alcohol consumption or divorce.
Dan Brown, Elisabetta De Cao.
Keywords: child abuse and neglect,unemployment rate,recession,safety net,unemployment insurance.
2017 - n° 105
The spread of high-speed Internet epitomizes the digital revolution, affecting several aspects of our life. Using German panel data, we test whether the availability of broadband Internet influences fertility choices in a low-fertility setting, which is well-known for the difficulty to combine work and family life. We exploit a strategy devised by Falck et al. (2014) to obtain causal estimates of the impact of broadband on fertility. We find positive effects of high-speed Internet availability on the fertility of high-educated women aged 25 and above. Effects are not statistically significant both for men, low-educated women, and under 25. We also show that broadband access significantly increases the share of women reporting teleworking or part-time working. Furthermore, we find positive effects on time spent with children and overall life satisfaction. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that high-speed Internet allows high-educated women to conciliate career and motherhood, which may promote fertility with a “digital divide”. At the same time, higher access to information on the risks and costs of early pregnancy and childbearing may explain the negative effects on younger adults.
Francesco C. Billari, Osea Giuntella, Luca Stella.
Keywords: Internet,Low Fertility,Work and Family,Teleworking.
2017 - n° 103
Although the European Union allows citizens from member countries to migrate freely within its confines to facilitate integration, it may be alienating public support for Europe. This paper investigates this by extending group threat theory to explain how internal migration influences mass public support using annual data from 1998 to 2014 across 15 Western European countries. We find that increases in the presence of foreigners from new member countries in Central and Eastern Europe have raised collective concerns about EU membership and there is some evidence that it may have eroded trust in European institutions as well. The results also show that this effect is exacerbated during an economic downturn. Our findings imply that collective opinion has responded ‘rationally’ to contextual changes in Europe’s internal migration patterns. The study concludes by discussing how group threat theory is relevant for understanding collective sentiment about the European Union.
Anne-Marie Jeannet
Keywords: Public Opinion,European Union,EU attitudes,immigration
2017 - n° 102
Political disaffection has intensified in democratic societies and European countries have witnessed a slow but steady decline of political trust over the past decades. We argue that this is due to, in part, to sustained immigration and was exacerbated by the onset of the global financial crisis. To test this, we employ a multi-level research design using micro attitudinal data from 17 European countries (2002-14). Our findings show a strong connection between immigration to Europe and the growing distrust that European citizens have for their country’s political institutions. This study provides new insight into how trends in immigration and the economic conditions of the last decade have reshaped the relationship between citizens and politics in Europe. Finally, the future implications for sociological theorizing around political trust is discussed.
Anne-Marie Jeannet
2017 - n° 101
We investigate the role of individual labor income as a moderator of parental subjective well-being trajectories before and after the first childbirth in Germany, a very low fertility country. Analyzing German Socioeconomic Panel Survey data, we found that income matters negatively for parental subjective well-being after childbirth, though with important differences by education and gender. In particular, among better educated parents, the richer see the arrival of a child more negatively. These findings contribute to the debate on the relationship between income and fertility adding information on how parents perceive the birth of a child beyond the strict financial cost of childbearing and raising. Results are discussed in terms of preferences among different groups of parents, costs of children, and work and family balance. Results are robust to potential endogeneity between income and childbirth, as well as for alternative measures of income.
Marco Le Moglie, Letizia Mencarini, Chiara Rapallini
Keywords: First child,subjective well-being,individual income,Germany
2017 - n° 97
The history of prices has played a key role in the economic history of the preindustrial world. In this field, Allen’s paper (2001) set a milestone by proposing the calculation of a welfare ratio that would allow a comparison among different areas of the world and different times. Nevertheless, we consider that this method as is has reached its limits and needs major improvements. We therefore propose a change of scope that would allow the establishment of the real consumption-possibility frontier of families—the actual unit of production and consumption in Early Modern times. We also revise the barebone baskets that have been used until now, replacing them with consumer baskets that approach, to a greater degree, the true consumption patterns of different kinds of families. By focusing on two widely documented cases—Madrid and Mexico City—we conclude, first, that consumers had regular access to a wider array of products than previously assumed; second, that in the 18th century prices evolved in Madrid in a relatively similar way to the large cities of Western Europe, even if Madrid constituted an exception in the Castilian context, where inflation was more intense during the second half of the aforementioned century; and, third, that volatility in the consumer price index was around 10% higher for unskilled workers than for skilled workers. However, the volatility deduced from our price indices is significantly lower than the one calculated using the typical barebone method.
Andrés Calderón-Fernández, Héctor García-Montero, Enrique Llopis-Agelán
Keywords: economic history; standard of living; prices; welfare ratios; consumer baskets; real wages; Europe; Spain; Latin America; Mexico
2016 - n° 93
The paper provides a framework of how culture affects citizens' subjective well-being. According to self-determination theory, well-being is driven by the satisfaction of three basic psychological needs: autonomy, relatedness and competence. We assess if and to what extent generalized trust and the values of obedience and respect influence the Europeans’ satisfaction of these needs, controlling for income and education. We find positive impact of generalized morality (i.e. high trust and respect, low obedience). Results are robust to different checks for endogeneity, including instrumental variable regressions at country, regional and individual level as well as to panel-data estimations.
Pierluigi Conzo, Arnstein Aassve, Giulia Fuochi, Letizia Mencarini
Keywords: self-determination,culture,trust,subjective well-being,happiness,life satisfaction
2016 - n° 87
Education is a key sociological variable in the explanation of health and health disparities. Conventional wisdom emphasizes a life course-human capital perspective with expectations of causal effects that are quasi-linear, large in magnitude for high levels of educational attainment, and reasonably robust in the face of measured and unmeasured explanatory factors. In this paper, we challenge this wisdom by offering an alternative theoretical account and an empirical investigation organized around the role of measured and unmeasured cognitive and non-cognitive skills as confounders in the association between educational attainment and health. Based on longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth – 1997 spanning mid adolescence through early adulthood, results indicate that a) effects of educational attainment are very vulnerable to issues of omitted variable bias; b) that measured indicators of cognitive and non-cognitive skills account for a significant proportion of the traditionally observed effect of educational attainment; c) that such skills have effects larger than that of even the highest levels of educational attainment when appropriate controls for unmeasured heterogeneity are incorporated; and d) that models that most stringently control for such time-stable abilities show little evidence of a substantive association between educational attainment and health. Implications for theory and research are discussed.
Naomi Duke, Ross Macmillan
Keywords: Education,health,life-course epidemiology,cognitive and non-cognitive skills,causality.
2016 - n° 86
This article analyzes the relative level and evolution of the net nutritional status of manufacturing workers and craftsmen born in the last third of the eighteenth century in central Spain. It uses the anthropometric and occupational data included in the records of the general conscription carried out during the Napoleonic invasion. The findings are interpreted in light of the recent contributions made regarding the evolution of the economy and industrial products of central Spain during the second half of the eighteenth century. Significant differences can be observed between the different professions and economic sectors, largely explained by income levels, a possible selection for some occupations in accordance with physical characteristics, and access to animal proteins. Furthermore, the data also reveal an overall decrease in height and an increase in inequality between professions during the period.
Hector Garcia-Montero
Keywords: Nutritional status,Central Spain,eighteenth century,height,inequality
2015 - n° 84
This article provides a general chronology of Italian famines, incorporating earlier chronologies as well as recent research on preindustrial mortality crises and covering the whole period from circa 1250 to 1810. Hypotheses about the occurrence of famines are tested using the largest-existing database of time series of burials, covering northern Italy and part of central Italy, as well as a database of time series of wheat prices covering the whole of the Peninsula. The role played by food provisioning institutions is briefly detailed and a summary discussion of the causative factors of famines is provided. We argue that the majority of the most severe medieval and early modern famines happen when a situation of high demographic pressure on the available resources couples with periods of meteorological instability of the kind unfavorable to wheat crops, and the crisis is so widespread that institutions are unable to provide effective remedies.
Guido Alfani, Luca Mocarelli, Donatella Strangio
Keywords: Famines; famines chronology; hunger; mortality crises; preindustrial period; middle ages; early modern period; history; historical demography; malthusian traps; agrarian change; food provisioning; food security
2015 - n° 82
This paper analyzes how advanced Medieval and Early Modern Italian economies attempted to cope with famines. First, it provides an overview of the occurrence of famines and food shortages in Italy from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, underlining the connections with overall climatic and demographic trends. Second, it focuses on the 1590s famine (the worst to affect Italy in the period), providing a general discussion and interpretation of its causes and characteristics, and describing and evaluating the strategies for coping with the crisis that developed within the Republic of Genoa and the Duchy of Ferrara. The article argues that when such a large-scale food crisis as that of the 1590s occurred, public action played a key role in providing relief.
Guido Alfani
Keywords: famine; mortality crises; subsistence crises; Italy; early modern period; 1590s; markets integration; grain trade; agrarian innovation
2015 - n° 79
This paper provides some initial results of long-term trends in economic inequality in Catalonia from 1400-1800 ca. These first findings show that the evidence collected for Catalonia matches quite well with some hypotheses suggested previously in the literature. Namely, the high inequality levels prevalent across pre-industrial Europe; an inequality gradient that linked urban, more populated, and wealthier communities with greater inequality and vice versa; and the importance of the trends followed by the share owned by the wealthy as good predictors of economic inequality trends. However, at this stage, one of the most appealing propositions—the idea that economic inequality grew for the whole of Europe during the early-modern period, shaping a long left side of a “super Kuznets curve”—does not seem to be fully confirmed for Catalonia. From the mid-17th century, inequality growth seems to go hand-in-hand with growth in per capita GDP. In earlier periods, though, the inequality trend seems to be unrelated to economic growth and even, during the second half of the 16th century, there is some evidence of inequality decline coupled with economic growth.
Hector Garcia-Montero
Keywords: Economic inequality; social inequality; wealth distribution; income distribution; middle ages; early modern period; Catalonia; Spain
2015 - n° 75
ABSTRACT We investigate the effect of providing information about the benefits to children of attending formal child care when women intend to use formal child care so they can work. We postulate that the reaction to the information differs across women according to their characteristics, specifically their level of education. We present a randomized experiment in which 700 Italian women of reproductive age with no children are exposed to positive information about formal child care through a text message or a video, while others are not. We find a positive effect on the intention to use formal child care, and a negative effect on the intention to work. This average result hides important heterogeneities: the positive effect on formal child care use is driven by better-educated women, while the negative effect on work intention is found only among less-educated women. These findings may be explained by women’s education reflecting their work-family orientation, and their ability to afford formal child care.
Vincenzo Galasso, Paola Profeta, Chiara Pronzato, Francesco Billari
Keywords: female labour supply,education,gender roles
2015 - n° 73
ABSTRACT Nell'ambito delle ricerche di storia economica, l'area lucchese appare relativamente trascurata dalla più recente storiografia italiana ed in particolare toscana. A parte indagini a carattere principalmente politico o demografico, il ricco patrimonio documentario conservato negli archivi lucchesi è stato fino ad oggi solo parzialmente sfruttato. Questa ricerca intende apportare nuovi dati e riflessioni inedite al dibattito che vede lo studio della disuguaglianza nella distribuzione della ricchezza come questione chiave nell’analisi dello sviluppo economico nel lungo periodo. Attraverso i dati rintracciabili negli estimi trecenteschi e cinquecenteschi e nel Catasto guinigiano dei primi anni del Quattrocento, fonti fiscali che si sono già dimostrate ottimi strumenti per misurare i livelli di ricchezza della popolazione censita e ricostruirne i trend macroeconomici di concentrazione, si cercherà di fornire un primo quadro d’insieme della distribuzione della proprietà nel contado della città della seta. Particolare attenzione sarà prestata anche al possibile impatto della Peste Nera che, stando alla storiografia più recente, pare aver determinato una lunga fase di declino nella disuguaglianza conclusasi solo attorno alla seconda metà del XV secolo. The area of Lucca seems relatively neglected by the most recent Italian economic historiography. Apart from research primarily devoted to political or demographic issues, some of which date back several decades, the rich documentary patrimony preserved in the archives of Lucca was until now only partially exploited. This paper aims to provide new data and reflections to the debate which sees the study of the inequality in the distribution of wealth as a key issue in the analysis of economic development in the long run. By using the data recorded by some fiscal registers (the estimi of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries and the catasto guinigiano of the early fifteenth century), a kind of source which already proved to be an excellent tool to measure the levels of wealth of the surveyed population and to reconstruct its macroeconomic trends of concentration, we will try to provide a first overview of the distribution of property in the countryside of the city of silk. A particular attention will be paid also to the possible impact of the Black Death which, according to the most recent literature, seems to have led to a long period of decline in inequality ended only around the second half of the fifteenth century.
Francesco Ammannti
Keywords: economic inequality; social inequality; wealth concentration; middle ages; early modern period; Tuscany; Italy; Lucca; plague; Black Death
2015 - n° 71
ABSTRACT This research note presents and compares some first findings obtained by the project EINITE-Economic Inequality across Italy and Europe, 1300-1800. The main aim of the project is to investigate long-term trends in economic inequality in Italy and in Europe. Here we compare previously published data for Piedmont with some early findings for Lombardy and Veneto, in order to provide a broad picture of northern Italian inequality. The period we cover is particularly long (13th–early 19th centuries) for Piedmont, while for Lombardy and Veneto a somewhat shorter period is considered (15th–18th centuries). We provide an in-depth analysis of the archival sources usable to study long-term changes in economic inequality in northern Italy, and we provide some key measures of inequality over time (Gini indexes, top percentiles). We find evidence of a tendency for Italian inequality to increase almost everywhere and almost continuously over time, since about 1400 or 1450, confirming what has been suggested by previous studies that focused on Piedmont and Tuscany.
Guido Alfani, Matteo Di Tullio
Keywords: economic inequality; wealth concentration; poverty; wealth; middle ages; early modern period; northern Italy; Republic of Venice; Sabaudian State; State of Milan; Piedmont; Lombardy; Veneto