Economics

No Easy Answers

No Easy Answers
Brookings Review, Summer 2000, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p44, 4p.

Ellen, I.G. & Schwartz, A.E.
01/01/2000

Discusses the strategies applied to foster economic growth among cities in the United States. Measurement of the impact of economic development programs; Effectiveness of infrastructure investments to boost economic growth; Impact of tax cuts on economy; Development of sports stadiums and arenas.

Politics, Growth, and Inequality in Rural China: Does it Pay to Join the Party?

Politics, Growth, and Inequality in Rural China: Does it Pay to Join the Party?
Journal of Public Economics 77 (3), September 2000, 331 - 346.

Morduch, J. & Sicular, T.
01/01/2000

Presents survey data of the household incomes of local officials in northern China and their relation to market liberalization, increases in consumer demand and the provision of local public goods. Description of the rank-and-file bureaucrats; Political status in rural China; Survey data and economic setting; Effects of political variables on income levels; Analyses; Economic reform.

Race and the Inheritance of Low Birth Weight

Race and the Inheritance of Low Birth Weight
Social Biology. 47:77-93,

Conley, D. & Bennett, N.
01/01/2000

This paper uses intergenerational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to address the black-white difference in propensities toward low birth weight (LBW). We determine that socioeconomic conditions account for some variation in low birth weight across race. Further, while race differences in the risk of low birth weight cannot be explained entirely, we find that the inheritance of parental birth weight status dramatically reduces the black-white gap in low birth weight. Intergenerational legacies of poor infant health explain the largest share of racial disparities in filial birth weight. We then try to assess whether this intergenerational transmission of low birth weight is indeed genetic by using grandparent-fixed effects models to factor out, to a great extent, family socioeconomic circumstances. We find that even within this framework, both father's and mother's birth weight status have an important impact on filial outcomes. However, the degree of inheritance is weaker for African Americans than for other races. Finally, we theorize that the importance of paternal birth weight status implies a genetic association that does not work through the uterine environment but rather through the fetus itself.

The Microfinance Schism

The Microfinance Schism
World Development, 28 (4), April 2000, 617 - 629.

Morduch, J.
01/01/2000

Presents a study on win-win proposition, a principle of good banking, by leading microfinance advocates which can alleviate poverty through microfinance institution. Logic of the win-win proposition; Advantages of financial sustainability; Limits of the proposition.

The Microfinance Promise

The Microfinance Promise
Journal of Economic Literature, Dec 1999, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p1569, 46p.

Morduch, J.
12/01/1999

The article presents information about a set of financial institutions in underdeveloped countries which are striving to alleviate poverty by providing financial services to low-income households. These institutions, united under the banner of microfinance, share a commitment to serving clients that have been exclude from the formal banking sector. Almost all of the borrowers do so to finance self-employment activities, and many start by taking loans as small as $75, repaid over several months or a year. Only a few programs require borrowers to put up collateral, enabling would-be entrepreneurs with few assets to escape positions as poorly paid wage laborers or farmers. The programs point to innovations like "group-lending" contracts and new attitudes about subsidies as keys to their success. Group-lending contracts effectively make a borrower's neighbors co-signers to loans, mitigating problems created by informational asymmetries between lender and borrower. Neighbours now have incentives to monitor each other and to exclude risky borrowers from participation, promoting repayment even in the absence of collateral requirements.

Getting into the Black: Race, Wealth and Public Policy

Getting into the Black: Race, Wealth and Public Policy
Political Science Quarterly. 114:595-612.

Conley, D.
11/01/1999

Dalton Conley examines the causes and consequences of the black-white asset gap in the United States. He argues that it is wealth, more than any other measure of socio-economic well being, that captures the nature of racial inequality in the post-civil rights era. Conley discusses policy implications that may be used to address such "equity inequity."

Blacks & Puerto Ricans in New York City: The Reconfiguration of Race & Racism

Blacks & Puerto Ricans in New York City: The Reconfiguration of Race & Racism
in Latinos and Blacks in U.S. Cities, John Betancur and Douglas Gill (eds.) (Garland Press, NY 1999).

Stafford, W.W.& Bonilla, F.
10/01/1999

This edited collection examines joint efforts by Latinos and African Americans to confront problems faced by populations of both groups in urban settings (in particular, socioeconomic disadvantage and concentration in inner cities). The essays address two major issues: experiences and bases for collaboration and contention between the two groups; and the impact of urban policies and initiatives of recent decades on Blacks and Latinos in central cities.

Employment and Retirement Following a Late Career Job Loss

Employment and Retirement Following a Late Career Job Loss
American Economic Review 89(2), May 1999, papers and proceedings, pages 211-216.

Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens
05/01/1999

The frequency of job loss among workers in late career has risen disproportionately in recent years. During the early 1980s, displacement rates for 55-64 year olds were the lowest of any age cohort but by the recession of the early 1990s, they had the highest rates (see Farber [1997]). The effects of job loss on these workers are potentially severe: their earnings capacity, savings, and retirement expectations are likely to be dramatically affected and they may take substantially longer to be re-employed. However, despite these reasons for heightened concern, relatively little is known about the economic consequences of late career job loss among recent cohorts of workers. Empirical estimation of dynamic retirement models and analyses of retirement behavior in general have usually ignored involuntary job losses, and many recent studies of post-displacement outcomes have been limited to younger and mid- career workers. Given the changes in labor force participation, retirement rates and the nature of displacement over the past decade, it is important to document the effects of job loss on more recent cohorts of older workers. This paper presents findings from an ongoing research project that focuses on the economic impacts of late career job loss on employment and retirement patterns, as well as on earnings and assets.

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