Now showing 1 - 10 of 49
  • Publication
    Does grief transfer across generations? In-utero deaths and child outcomes
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2014-03) ; ;
    While much is now known about the effects of physical health shocks to pregnant women on the outcomes of the in-utero child, we know little about the effects of psychological stresses. One clear form of stress to the mother comes from the death of a parent. We examine the effects of the death of the mother's parent during pregnancy on both the short-run and the long-run outcomes of the infant. Our primary specification involves using mother fixed effects— comparing the outcomes of two children with the same mother but where a parent of the mother died during one of the pregnancies—augmented with a control for whether there is a death around the time of the pregnancy in order to isolate true causal effects of a bereavement during pregnancy. We find small negative effects on birth outcomes, and these effects are bigger for boys than for girls. The effects on birth outcomes seems to be driven by deaths due to cardiovascular causes suggesting that sudden deaths are more difficult to deal with. However, we find no evidence of adverse effects on adult outcomes. The results are robust to alternative specifications.
  • Publication
    The more the merrier? The effect of family composition on children's education
    (Institute for the Study of Labor, 2004-08) ; ;
    Among the perceived inputs in the “production” of child quality is family size; there is an extensive theoretical literature that postulates a tradeoff between child quantity and quality within a family. However, there is little causal evidence that speaks to this theory. Our analysis is able to overcome many limitations of the previous literature by using a rich dataset that contains information on the entire population of Norway over an extended period of time and allows us to match adult children to their parents and siblings. In addition, we use exogenous variation in family size induced by the birth of twins to isolate causation. Like most previous studies, we find a negative correlation between family size and children’s educational attainment. However, when we include indicators for birth order, the effect of family size becomes negligible. This finding is robust to the use of twin births as an instrument for family size. In addition, we find that birth order has a significant and large effect on children’s education; children born later in the family obtain less education. These findings suggest the need to revisit economic models of fertility and child “production”, focusing not only on differences across families but differences within families as well.
  • Publication
    More Education, Less Volatility? The Effect of Education on Earnings Volatility over the Life Cycle
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2017-10) ;
    Much evidence suggests that having more education leads to higher earnings in the labor market. However, there is little evidence about whether having more education causes employees to experience lower earnings volatility or shelters them from the adverse effects of recessions. We use a large British administrative panel data set to study the impact of the 1972 increase in compulsory schooling on earnings volatility over the life cycle. Our estimates suggest that men exposed to the law change subsequently had lower earnings variability and less pro-cyclical earnings. However, there is little evidence that education affects earnings volatility of older men.
  • Publication
    The cyclicality of real wages within employer-employee matches
    (Cornell University, School of Industrial & Labor Relations, 2001-07)
    Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the author examines the cyclicality of wages within employer-employee matches for the years 1970-91. Recent research on wage cyclicality has suggested that wages are very procyclical (tending to rise and fall with economic upturns and downturns), even for workers who remain with the same employer. The author finds, however, that the evidence for wage procyclicality within the matches he examines is rather weak except for the small group of workers who were paid by piece rate or commissions. Despite having acyclical wage rates, men who were paid hourly had earnings movements that were very procyclical. Salaries exhibited little cyclicality, but salaried workers who had income sources from bonuses, commissions, or overtime had procyclical earnings. The results suggest that the increasing prevalence of incentive-based pay will increase the procyclicality of wages within matches.
  • Publication
    Rank Effects in Education: What do we know so far?
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2022-03) ;
    In recent years there has been a plethora of empirical papers by economists concerning the effects of academic rank in school or college on subsequent outcomes of students. We review this recent literature, describing the difficult identification and measurement issues, the assumptions and methodologies used in the literature, and the main findings. Accounting for ability or achievement and across a range of countries, ages, and types of educational institutions, students that are more highly ranked in their class or their grade have been found to have better long-term outcomes. The effect sizes are generally large when compared to magnitudes found for other factors and interventions. Rank effects can provide useful insight into other educational phenomena such as the extent to which students benefit from high ability peers and the presence of a gender gap in STEM. However, the state of knowledge has probably not reached the point where the empirical findings from this literature have practical implications for policy intervention to improve outcomes of students.
  • Publication
    Optimally combining censored and uncensored datasets
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2008-09) ;
    We develop a simple semiparametric framework for combining censored and uncensored samples so that the resulting estimators are consistent, asymptotically normal, and use all information optimally. No nonparametric smoothing is required to implement our estimators. To illustrate our results in an empirical setting, we show how to estimate the effect of changes in compulsory schooling laws on age at first marriage, a variable that is censored for younger individuals. Results from a small simulation experiment suggest that the estimator proposed in this paper can work very well in finite samples.
  • Publication
    The (Un)Importance of Inheritance
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2022-01) ; ; ;
    Transfers from parents—either in the form of gifts or inheritances—have received much attention as a source of inequality. This paper uses a 19-year panel of administrative data for the population of Norway to examine the share of the Total Inflows available to an individual (defined as the capitalized sum of net labor income, government transfers, and gifts and inheritances received over the period) accounted for by capitalized gifts and inheritances. Perhaps surprisingly, we find that gifts and inheritances represent a small share of Total Inflows; this is true across the distribution of Total Inflows, as well as at all levels of net wealth at a point in time. Gifts and inheritances are only an important source of income flows among those who have very wealthy parents. Additionally, gifts and inheritances have very little effect on the distribution of Total Inflows – when we do a counterfactual Total Inflows distribution with zero gifts and inheritances, it is not much different from the actual distribution. Our findings suggest that inheritance taxes may do little to mitigate the extreme wealth inequality in society.
  • Publication
    Fragility of the Marginal Treatment Effect
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2022-01-25)
    Many interesting and important economic questions relate to the effects of binary treatments such as starting a college degree or participating in a job training program. The causal effects of these treatments are likely to be heterogeneous and recent research has emphasized the estimation of heterogeneous treatment effects, with a particular focus on Marginal Treatment Effects (MTEs). In this note, I describe why common methods of estimating MTEs of binary treatments can be very sensitive to omitted higher powers of covariates and demonstrate this using simple Monte Carlo simulations. I conclude by discussing approaches that may be useful for researchers to address this problem in practice.
  • Publication
    Earnings Returns to the British Education Expansion
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2011-06) ;
    We study the effects of the large expansion in British educational attainment that took place for cohorts born between 1970 and 1975. Using the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, we find that the expansion caused men to increase education by about a year on average and gain about 8% higher wages; women obtained a slightly greater increase in education and a similar increase in wages. Clearly, there was a sizeable gain from being born late enough to take advantage of the greater educational opportunities offered by the expansion. Treating the expansion as an exogenous increase in educational attainment, we obtain instrumental variables estimates of returns to schooling of about 6% for both men and women.
  • Publication
    Under pressure? The effect of peers on outcomes of young adults
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-05) ; ;
    A variety of public campaigns, including the “Just Say No” campaign of the 1980s and 1990s that encouraged teenagers to “Just Say No to Drugs”, are based on the premise that teenagers are very susceptible to peer influences. Despite this, very little is known about the effect of school peers on the long-run outcomes of teenagers. This is primarily due to two factors: the absence of information on peers merged with long-run outcomes of individuals and, equally important, the difficulty of separately identifying the role of peers. This paper uses data on the population of Norway and idiosyncratic variation in cohort composition within schools to examine the role of peer composition in 9th grade on longer-run outcomes such as IQ scores at age 18, teenage childbearing, post-compulsory schooling educational track, adult labor market status, and earnings. We find that outcomes are influenced by the proportion of females in the grade, and these effects differ for men and women. Other peer variables (average age, average mother’s education) have little impact on the outcomes of teenagers.