Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New IZA Working Papers

Some recent working papers. The last reminded me of an article publised in the Times last week. FG wants appointments freeze. There have already been some "interesting" ones unfortunately. Update: Coalition to install 300 people on State boards before election

Pedro Carneiro, Katrine V. Loken, Kjell G. Salvanes:

A Flying Start? Long Term Consequences of Maternal Time Investments in Children During Their First Year of Life

We study the impact on children of increasing the time that the mother spends with her child in the first year by exploiting a reform that increased paid and unpaid maternity leave in Norway. The reform increased maternal leave on average by 4 months and family income was unaffected. The increased time with the child led to a 2.7 percentage points decline in high school dropout. For mothers with low education we find a 5.2 percentage points decline. The effect is also especially large for children of mothers who, prior to the reform, would take very low levels of unpaid leave.

Olivier Bargain, Herwig Immervoll, Heikki Viitamäki:

No Claim, No Pain: Measuring the Non-Take-up of Social Assistance Using Register Data

(forthcoming in: Journal of Economic Inequality)

The main objectives of social assistance benefits, including poverty alleviation and labor-market or social reintegration, can be seriously compromised if support is difficult to access. While recent studies point to high non-take-up rates, existing evidence does not make full use of the information recorded by benefit agencies. Most studies have to rely on interview-based data, with misreporting and measurement errors affecting the variables needed to establish both benefit receipt and benefit entitlement. In this paper, we exploit a unique combination of Finnish administrative data and eligibility simulations based on the tax-benefit calculator of the Finnish authorities, carefully investigating the measurement issues that remain. We find rates of non-take-up that are both substantial and robust: 40% to 50% of those eligible do not claim. Using repeated cross-section estimations for years 1996-2003, we identify a set of stable determinants of claiming behavior and suggest that changes in behavior could drive the observed downward trend in take-up rates during the post-recession period. We discuss the poverty implications of our results.

Pedro S. Martins:


Politicians can use the public sector to give jobs to cronies, at the expense of the efficiency of those organisations and general welfare. Motivated by a simple model of cronyism that predicts spikes in appointments to state-owned firms near elections, we regress 1980-2008 monthly hirings across all state-owned Portuguese firms on the country’s political cycle. In most specifications, we also consider private-sector firms as a control group. Consistent with the model, we find that public-sector appointments increase significantly over the months just before a new government takes office. Hirings also increase considerably just after elections but only if the new government is of a different political colour than its predecessor. These results also hold when conducting the analysis separately at different industries and most job levels, including less skilled positions. We find our evidence to be consistent with cronyism and politically-induced misallocation of public resources.

No comments: