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Author:Stevenson, Betsey 

Working Paper
Inaccurate age and sex data in the Census PUMS files: evidence and implications

We discover and document errors in public use microdata samples ("PUMS files") of the 2000 Census, the 2003-2006 American Community Survey, and the 2004-2009 Current Population Survey. For women and men ages 65 and older, age- and sex-specific population estimates generated from the PUMS files differ by as much as 15% from counts in published data tables. Moreover, an analysis of labor force participation and marriage rates suggests the PUMS samples are not representative of the population at individual ages for those ages 65 and over. PUMS files substantially underestimate labor force ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2010-03

Working Paper
Subjective well-being, income, economic development and growth

We explore the relationships between subjective well-being and income, as seen across individuals within a given country, between countries in a given year, and as a country grows through time. We show that richer individuals in a given country are more satisfied with their lives than are poorer individuals, and establish that this relationship is similar in most countries around the world. Turning to the relationship between countries, we show that average life satisfaction is higher in countries with greater GDP per capita. The magnitude of the satisfaction-income gradient is roughly the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2010-28

Working Paper
Trust in public institutions over the business cycle

We document that trust in public institutions?and particularly trust in banks, business and government?has declined over recent years. U.S. time series evidence suggests that this partly reflects the pro-cyclical nature of trust in institutions. Cross-country comparisons reveal a clear legacy of the Great Recession, and those countries whose unemployment grew the most suffered the biggest loss in confidence in institutions, particularly in trust in government and the financial sector. Finally, analysis of several repeated cross-sections of confidence within U.S. states yields similar ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2011-11

Working Paper
Beyond the classroom: using Title IX to measure the return to high school sports

Previous research has found that male high school athletes experience better outcomes than non-athletes, including higher educational attainment, more employment, and higher wages. Students self-select into athletics, however, so these may be selection effects rather than causal effects. To address this issue, I examine Title IX which provides a unique quasiexperiment in female athletic participation. Between 1972 and 1978, U.S. high schools rapidly increased their female athletic participation rates (to approximately the same level as their male athletic participation rates) in order to ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-44

Working Paper
The paradox of declining female happiness

By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women?s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women?s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2009-11

Working Paper
The impact of divorce laws on marriage-specific capital

This paper considers how divorce law alters the incentives for couples to invest in their marriage, focusing on the impact of unilateral divorce laws on investments in new marriages. Differences across states between 1970 and 1980 provide useful quasi-experimental variation with which to consider incentives to invest in several types of marriage-specific capital: spouse's education, children, household specialization, and home ownership. I find that adoption of unilateral divorce--regardless of the prevailing property-division laws--reduces investment in all types of marriage-specific capital ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-43

Working Paper
Marriage and divorce: changes and their driving forces

We document key facts about marriage and divorce, comparing trends through the past 150 years and outcomes across demographic groups and countries. While divorce rates have risen over the past 150 years, they have been falling for the past quarter century. Marriage rates have also been falling, but more strikingly, the importance of marriage at different points in the life cycle has changed, reflecting rising age at first marriage, rising divorce followed by high remarriage rates, and a combination of increased longevity with a declining age gap between husbands and wives. Cohabitation has ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2007-03

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