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Earnings are the product of wages and hours of work; hence, the dispersion of hours can magnify or dampen a given distribution of wages. This paper examines how earnings inequality is affected by the dispersion of working hours using data for the USA, the UK, Germany, and France over the period 1989–2012. We find that hours dispersion can account for over a third of earnings inequality in some countries and that its contribution has been growing over time. We interpret the expansion in hours inequality in European countries as being the result of weaker union power that led to less successful bargaining concerning working hours.
We examine the determinants of income mobility and inequality in a Ramsey model with elastic labor supply and heterogeneous wealth and ability (labor endowment). Both agents with lower wealth and with greater ability tend to supply more labor, implying that labor supply decisions may have an equalizing or unequalizing effect depending on the relative importance of the two sources of heterogeneity. Moreover, these decisions are central to the extent of mobility observed in an economy. The relationship between mobility and inequality is complex. For example, a reduction in the interest rate and an increase in the wage rate reduce capital income inequality and allow upward mobility of the ability-rich. However, the increase in the labor supply of high ability agents in response to higher wages raises earnings dispersion and thus has an offsetting effect. As a result, high mobility can be associated with an increase or a decrease in overall income inequality. (This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
A substantial literature has examined the determinants of support for democracy and although existing work has found a gender gap in democratic attitudes, there have been no attempts to explain it. In this paper we try to understand why females are less supportive of democracy than males in a number of countries. Using data for 20 Sub-Saharan African countries, we test whether the gap is due to individual differences previously ignored or to country-wide characteristics. We find that controlling for individual characteristics does not offset the gender gap, but our results indicate that the gap is eroded by high levels of human development and political rights.
After a decade of research on the relationship between institutions and growth, there is no consensus about the exact way in which these two variables interact. In this paper we re-examine the role that institutions play in the growth process using data for developed and developing economies over the period 1975–2005. Our results indicate that the data is best described by an econometric model with two growth regimes. Political institutions are the key determinant of which regime an economy belongs to, while economic institutions have a direct impact on growth rates within each regime. These findings support the hypothesis that political institutions are one of the deep causes of growth, setting the stage in which economic institutions and standard covariates operate.
Focusing on the promotion system for French academics, the authors aim at understanding the causes behind the underrepresentation of women among the highest positions. Three potential explanations are tested: gender discrimination, self-selection of women into competition, and poorer performance of women in contests conditional on applying for promotion. A rich database including information on candidates, those eligible to be candidates and the results of competitive examinations is used. They find that women have a lower probability to be candidates. It remains to understand why women tend to participate less than men in contests.
Gender gaps in employment and wages have decreased over the past decades, especially once we control for observable characteristics. However, women are still underrepresented in high paid jobs, and this is largely the result of lower promotion rates. Our study on French academic economists, whose promotion to senior positions occurs through a national contest, finds that women are not subject to discrimination during the promotion contests. Instead, female academics are between 30 and 40% less likely than men to enter these contests. We also find that this application gap is not due to a higher cost of promotion for women nor to women having a different trade-off between wages and department prestige than men, which leaves the expectation of discrimination and a dislike for entering competitions as the sole possible explanations. Long-term public policy can aim at encouraging self-confidence in girls so as to eventually make women as competitive as men. In the short term, making the application gap public knowledge so as to change women’s expectations of discrimination or making candidatures automatic, substituting the opting-in by an opting-out system, could reduce the gender gap in promotions
This paper uses data from the Luxembourg Income Study to examine some of the forces that have driven changes in household income inequality over the last three decades of the twentieth century. We decompose inequality for six countries (Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.) into the three sources of market income (earnings, property income, and income from self-employment) and taxes and transfers. Our findings indicate that although changes in the distribution of earnings are an important force behind recent trends, they are not the only one. Greater earnings dispersion has in some cases been accompanied by a reduction in the share of earnings which dampened its impact on overall household income inequality. In some countries the contribution of self-employment income to inequality has been on the rise, while in others, increases in inequality in capital income account for a substantial fraction of the observed distributional changes.
This paper presents a model of self-fulfilling expectations by firms and households which generates multiplicity of equilibria in pay and housework time allocation for ex-ante identical spouses. Multiplicity arises from statistical discrimination exerted by firms in the provision of paid-for training to workers, rather than from incentive problems in the labor market. Employers' beliefs about differences in spouses' reactions to housework shocks lead to symmetric (ungendered) and asymmetric (gendered) equilibria. We find that: (1) the ungendered equilibrium tends to prevail as aggregate productivity in the economy increases (regardless of the generosity of family aid policies), (2) the ungendered equilibrium could yield higher welfare under some scenarios, and (3) gender-neutral job subsidies are more effective that gender-targeted ones in removing the gendered equilibrium.
This paper examines the possible reform of the system of aid to dependent individuals (apa), a reform aimed at recovering the subsidies awarded from the individual?s bequest. We develop a theoretical model with a dependent parent and an offspring that can potentially act as informal carer. The parent decides how much formal aid to buy, while the offspring decides how much informal care to provide to her parent. The model is solved for three cases: no altruism, altruism from bequests (towards a surviving spouse or offspring), and altruism towards the parent. We show that recovering the subsidy from the bequest increases the amount of informal aid supplied by a non-altruist offspring, while the versions with altruism yield ambiguous results. Classification JEL : D11, D3
We examine how changes in tax policies affect the dynamics of the distributions of wealth and income in a Ramsey model in which agents differ in their initial capital endowment. The endogeneity of the labor supply plays a crucial role in determining inequality, as tax changes that affect hours of work will affect the distribution of wealth and income, reinforcing or offsetting the direct redistributive impact of taxes. Our results indicate that tax policies that reduce the labor supply are associated with lower output but also with a more equal distribution of after-tax income. We illustrate these effects by examining the impact of recent tax changes observed in the US and in European economies.