Featured Articles Fall 2012

Charity and Favoritism in the Field: Are Female Economists Nicer (To Each Other)?
Jason Abrevaya and Daniel S. Hamermesh
Review of Economics and Statistics 94(1):202-207, 2012
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Abstract: Using a very large sample of matched author-referee pairs, we examine how referees' and authors' genders affect the referees' recommendations. Relying on changing author-referee matches, we find no evidence of gender differences among referees in charitableness, nor is there any effect of the interaction between the referees' and authors' genders. With substantial laboratory research showing gender differences in fairness, the results suggest that outside the laboratory, an ethos of objectivity can overcome possible tendencies toward same-group favoritism or opposite-group discrimination.

Reputation and Earnings: The Roles of Quality and Quantity in Academe
Daniel S. Hamermesh and Gerard A. Pfann
Economic Inquiry 50(1):1-6, 2012
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Abstract: We examine the determinants of professional reputation. Does quantity of exposures raise reputation independent of quality? Does quality of the most important exposure have extra effects on reputation? In a very large sample of academic economists, there is little evidence that a scholar's most influential work provides any extra enhancement of reputation. Quality rankings matter more than absolute quality. Quantity has a zero or even negative effect on proxies for reputation. Data on salaries, however, show positive effects of quantity independent of quality. We test explanations for the differences between the determinants of reputation and salary.

Aggregate Impacts of a Gift of Time
Jungmin Lee, Daiji Kawaguchi, and Daniel S. Hamermesh
American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 102(3):612-616, 2012
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Abstract: How would people spend additional time if confronted by permanent declines in market work? We examine the impacts of cuts in legislated standard hours which raised employers' overtime costs in Japan around 1990 and in Korea in the early 2000s. Using time-diaries from before and after, we show the shocks were effective -- per-capita hours of market work declined discretely. The economy-wide drops in market work were reallocated solely to leisure and personal maintenance. In the absence of changing household technology a permanent time gift leads to no increase in time spent in household production by the average individual.

The Changing Impact of Family Size on Adolescents' Schooling: Assessing the Exogenous Variation in Fertility Using Twins in Brazil
Leticia Marteleto and Laeticia R. de Souza
Demography 49(4): 1453-1477, 2012
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Abstract: Researchers have long been interested in the influence of family size on children's educational outcomes. Simply put, theories have suggested that resources are diluted within families that have more children. Although the empirical literature on developed countries has generally confirmed the theoretical prediction that family size is negatively related to children's education, studies focusing on developing societies have reported heterogeneity in this association. Recent studies addressing the endogeneity between family size and children's education have also cast doubt on the homogeneity of the negative role of family size on children's education. The goal of this study is to examine the causal effect of family size on children's education in Brazil over a 30-year period marked by important social and demographic change, and across extremely different regions within the country. We implement a twin birth instrumental variable approach to the nationally representative 1977-2009 PNAD data. Our results suggest an effect of family size on education that is not uniform throughout a period of significant social, economic, and demographic change. Rather, the causal effect of family size on adolescents' schooling resembles a gradient that ranges from positive to no effect, trending to negative.

Educational Differences in U.S. Adult Mortality: A Cohort Perspective
Ryan Masters, Robert A. Hummer and Daniel Powers
American Sociological Review 77(4):548-572, 2012
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Abstract: We use hierarchical cross-classified random-effects models to simultaneously measure age, period, and cohort patterns of mortality risk between 1986 and 2006 for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black men and women with less than a high school education, a high school education, and more than a high school education. We examine all-cause mortality risk and mortality risk from heart disease, lung cancer, and unpreventable cancers. Findings reveal that temporal reductions in black and white men's and women's mortality rates were driven entirely by cohort changes in mortality. Findings also demonstrate that disparate cohort effects between education groups widened the education gap in all-cause mortality risk and mortality risk from heart disease and lung cancer across this time period. Educational disparities in mortality risk from unpreventable cancers, however, did not change. This research uncovers widening educational differences in adult mortality and demonstrates that a cohort perspective provides valuable insights for understanding recent temporal changes in U.S. mortality risk.

A Simplified Equation for Adult BMI Growth, and its Use to Adjust BMI for Age

Paul T. von Hippel and Jamie Lynch
International Journal of Epidemiology 41(3):888-890, 2012
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Although standards for children's growth in body mass index (BMI) are widely used, standards for BMI growth in adulthood are less developed. A year ago in this journal, Østbye et al. made an important contribution to the study of adult BMI growth by describing the average BMI growth curves for four latent groups of US adults followed from the age of 18 to 49 years in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 cohort (NLSY79). Participants in the NLSY79 were born between 1957 and 1965.

Cutting Family Planning in Texas

Kari White, Daniel Grossman, Kristine Hopkins, and Joseph E. Potter
The New England Journal of Medicine 367:1179-1181, 2012
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Four fundamental principles drive public funding for family planning. First, unintended pregnancy is associated with negative health consequences, including reduced use of prenatal care, lower breast-feeding rates, and poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. Second, governments realize substantial cost savings by investing in family planning, which reduces the rate of unintended pregnancies and the costs of prenatal, delivery, postpartum, and infant care. Third, all Americans have the right to choose the timing and number of their children. And fourth, family planning enables women to attain their educational and career goals and families to provide for their children. These principles led to the bipartisan passage of Title X in 1970 and later to other federal- and state-funded programs supporting family planning services for low-income women.

Contraindications to Progestin-only Oral Contraceptive Pills among Reproductive-aged Women

Kari White, Joseph E. Potter, Kristine Hopkins, Leticia Fernández, Jon Amastae and Daniel Grossman
Contraception 86(3):199-203, 2012
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Abstract: Background Progestin-only oral contraceptive pills (POPs) have fewer contraindications to use compared to combined pills. However, the overall prevalence of contraindications to POPs among reproductive-aged women has not been assessed. Study Design We collected information on contraindications to POPs in two studies: (1) the Self-Screening Study, a sample of 1267 reproductive-aged women in the general population in El Paso, TX, and (2) the Prospective Study of OC Users, a sample of current oral contraceptive (OC) users who obtained their pills in El Paso clinics (n=532) or over the counter (OTC) in Mexican pharmacies (n=514). In the Self-Screening Study, we also compared women's self-assessment of contraindications using a checklist to a clinician's evaluation. Results Only 1.6% of women in the Self-Screening Study were identified as having at least one contraindication to POPs. The sensitivity of the checklist for identifying women with at least one contraindication was 75.0% [95% confidence interval (CI): 50.6%-90.4%], and the specificity was 99.4% (95% CI: 98.8%-99.7%). In total, 0.6% of women in the Prospective Study of OC Users reported having any contraindication to POPs. There were no significant differences between clinic and OTC users. Conclusion The prevalence of contraindications to POPs was very low in these samples. POPs may be the best choice for the first OTC oral contraceptive in the United States.