Now showing 1 - 10 of 38
  • Publication
    Parental education, grade attainment and earnings expectations among university students
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2010-08-11) ; ;
    While there is an extensive literature on intergenerational transmission of economic outcomes (education, health and income for example), many of the pathways through which these outcomes are transmitted are not as well understood. We address this deficit by analysing the relationship between socio-economic status and child outcomes in university, based on a rich and unique dataset of university students. While large socio-economic differences in academic performance exist at the point of entry into university, these differences are substantially narrowed during the period of study. Importantly, the differences across socio-economic backgrounds in university grade attainment for female students is explained by intermediating variables such as personality, risk attitudes and time preferences, and subject/college choices. However, for male students, we explain less than half of the socio-economic gradient through these same pathways. Despite the weakening socio-economic effect in grade attainment, a key finding is that large socio-economic differentials in the earnings expectations of university students persist, even when controlling for grades in addition to our rich set of controls. Our findings pose a sizable challenge for policy in this area as they suggest that equalising educational outcomes may not translate into equal labour market outcomes.
  • Publication
    The role of awakening cortisol and psychological distress in diurnal variations in affect : a day reconstruction study
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2010-07) ; ; ;
    People often feel unhappy in the morning but better later in the day, and this pattern may be amplified in the distressed. Past work suggests that one function of cortisol is to energize people in the mornings. In a study of 174 students we tested to see if daily affect patterns, psychological distress, and awakening cortisol levels were interlinked. Affect levels were assessed using the Day Reconstruction Method (Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, & Stone, 2004) and psychological distress was measured using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (Antony, Bieling, Cox, Enns, & Swinson, 1998). On average positive affect increased markedly in a linear pattern across the day whilst negative affect decreased linearly. For the highly distressed this pattern was stronger for positive affect. Lower than average morning cortisol, as assessed by two saliva samples at waking and two samples 30 minutes after waking, predicted a clear increasing pattern of positive affect throughout the day. When we examined the interlinkages between affect patterns, distress, and cortisol our results showed that a pronounced linear increase in positive affect from morning through to evening occurred chiefly among distressed people with below average cortisol levels upon awakening. Psychological distress, whilst not strongly associated with morning cortisol levels, does appear to interact with cortisol levels to profoundly influence affect.
  • Publication
    Experimental tests of survey responses to expenditure questions
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2009-07) ; ;
    This paper tests for a number of survey effects in the elicitation of expenditure items. In particular we examine the extent to which individuals use features of the expenditure question to construct their answers. We test whether respondents interpret question wording as researchers intend and examine the extent to which prompts, clarifications and seemingly arbitrary features of survey design influence expenditure reports. We find that over one quarter of respondents have difficulty distinguishing between “you” and “your household” when making expenditure reports; that respondents report higher pro-rata expenditure when asked to give responses on a weekly as opposed to monthly or annual time scale; that respondents give higher estimates when using a scale with a higher mid-point; and that respondents give higher aggregated expenditure when categories are presented in a disaggregated form. In summary, expenditure reports are constructed using convenient rules of thumb and available information, which will depend on the characteristics of the respondent, the expenditure domain and features of the survey question. It is crucial to further account for these features in ongoing surveys.
  • Publication
    Risk attitudes as an independent predictor of debt
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2010-09-17) ; ;
    This paper examines how attitudes to risk relate to other psychological constructs of personality and consideration of future consequences (a proxy for time preferences) and how risk attitudes relate to credit behaviour and debt holdings. There is a small correlation between risk attitudes and consideration of future consequences. As regards personality, risk attitudes are most positively related to extraversion and openness to experience and are negatively related to neuroticism. Risk willingness is a robust predictor of debt holdings even controlling for demographics, personality, consideration of future consequences and other covariates.
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  • Publication
    The determinants of self-rated health in the Republic of Ireland : further evidence and future directions
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2008-04) ; ; ;
    This paper examines the determinants of self-rated health in the Republic of Ireland using data from the 2001 Quarterly National Household Survey Health Module and the 2005 ESRI Time Usage Survey. Results indicate that self-rated health is a useful proxy for self-reported chronic illness indices. Higher education, having private medical insurance cover and being married is associated with better self-rated health. The strong inverse relationship between age and self-rated health is found to be robust to the inclusion of self-reported morbidity. Caregivers display lower self-rated health, even after controlling for age, marital status and education. We find only minor effects of gender. Understanding further the causal nature of the above associations is a key issue for future research.
  • Publication
    Preferences for specific social welfare expenditure in Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2006-05-25) ;
    Many papers examine general level preferences for redistribution. However, few papers examine preferences for specific forms of redistribution. This paper examines the decomposition of demand for three major categories of social welfare expenditure in Ireland: unemployment payments, old age pensions and child benefit. The determinants of preferences are found to be fairly consistent with a self-interested economics perspective with respect to the utilisation and financing of these three specific schemes. In addition, the split sampling procedure used in the nationwide survey indicated that the provision of information on the schemes’ costs did not have a significant effect on preferences.
  • Publication
    Behavioural economics and drinking behaviour : preliminary results from an Irish college study
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-01-31) ; ;
    This paper examines the results of single-equation regression models of the determinants of alcohol consumption patterns among college students modelling a rich variety of covariates including gender, family and peer drinking, tenure, personality, risk perception, time preferences and age of drinking onset. The results demonstrate very weak income effects and very strong effects of personality, peer drinking (in particular closest friend), time preferences and other substance use. The task of future research is to verify these results and assess causality using more detailed methods.
  • Publication
    Why do some Irish drink so much?
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-04-17) ; ;
  • Publication
    Everyday Administrative Burdens and Inequality
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2022-02-02) ; ;
    Administrative burdens may deepen inequality by creating costly experiences for vulnerable groups. Research to date typically focuses on how burdens affect decisions in specific policy contexts, thus little is known about everyday experiences of burdens and their distribution in society. This is the first study to document everyday administrative experiences, accounting for time and emotional costs across ten domains: tax, retirement, government benefits, bills, goods and services, savings, debt, health, childcare, and adult care. Results from 2,243 UK adults show that administrative tasks are a significant part of life (one hour per day). Time and emotional costs vary by domain; government benefits emerge as particularly costly. There is evidence that administrative burdens are regressive, not only through their effects on decisions, but through their unequal distribution in society. Those in poor health and financial insecurity focus on tasks salient to them (e.g. benefits, health, debt), but are less likely to engage in beneficial longer-term tasks (e.g. savings, retirement), and suffer higher emotional costs from engaging in tasks relevant to their disadvantage, compared to non-disadvantaged groups. A choice experiment shows that (hypothetical) burdens discourage beneficial action in general, but even more so for some disadvantaged groups.