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What works for work incentives: moving off benefits

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, we present new research on work incentives in the UK and Europe.

The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A to discuss the potential implications for better policy making.

Monday Afternoon Seminar: Women’s labor market participation across ethnic groups: The role of household conditions, gender attitudes, and religiosity in different national contexts

Women’s labour market participation rates differ substantially between ethnic groups in many Western countries, with ethnic minority women often having lower participation rates than women from the native majority group. This is perceived as problematic due to the negative consequences for these women’s economic independence and upward mobility in the next generation. Earlier research has tried to explain ethnic group differences in female labor market participation with compositional differences between these groups in human capital resources and family conditions, but, typically, unexplained differences remain. This brings up the question which other factors can explain the remaining ethnic differences. In this talk I will address this question by presenting findings from my research project on women’s labor market participation across ethnic groups in the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany. The project focuses on the role of cultural norms and values for women’s labor market participation and on the question to what extent common explanatory models of female labor market participation, developed mostly for native majority women in Western countries, can be used to understand the labor market behavior of ethnic minority women. The presented studies address how ethnic differences in women’s labor market participation are shaped by women’s own gender attitudes and religiosity, their partner’s economic resources and gender attitudes, and the national context of the host-societies. The results I obtained elucidate how research on women’s labor market participation can benefit from taking into account the increasing ethnic diversity of Western societies. At the same time, this work shows that the literature on immigrant integration should pay more attention to the specific needs and experience of ethnic minority women as they differ from those of ethnic minority men, especially in the realm of family and work.

Ethnic minorities and the British political system: new research on engagement and representation

New research from the Universities of Essex and Manchester on how ethnic minorities are engaging as voters and how they are represented within the British political system.

There will be three short research presentations followed by a panel discussion chaired by Tom Clark, Editor of Prospect magazine, on the implications for the political parties, for our elected officials, for those encouraging engagement in democracy and voter registration, and for society as a whole.

Monday Afternoon Seminar: Individual Consumption in Collective Households: Identification Using Panel Data with an Application to PROGRESA

Individual consumption, a fundamental wellbeing metric, is not normally observed for individuals living with others. For these individuals, individual consumption is equal to the share of household expenditure that each individual consumes - their ``budget share’’ - times household expenditure. Previous literature has achieved point identification of individual budget shares within a collective household framework by assuming that preferences are similar across different individuals. Here we show that individual budget shares can instead be identified using panel data under the intuitive assumption that individual preferences are stable between panel waves. We use this method to estimate the effect of PROGRESA on the intrahousehold distribution of resources, and find that the conditional cash transfer program did not decrease adult men’s shares, and only increased children’s shares to the detriment of women’s shares.

Monday Afternoon Seminar: The Effects of the 1930s HOLC “Redlining” Maps

In the wake of the Great Depression, the Federal government created new institutions such as the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) to stabilize housing markets. As part of that effort, the HOLC created residential security maps for over 200 cities to grade the riskiness of lending to neighborhoods. We trace out the effects of these maps over the course of the 20th and into the early 21st century by linking geocoded HOLC maps to both Census and modern credit bureau data. Our analysis looks at the difference in outcomes between residents living on a lower graded side versus a higher graded side of an HOLC boundary within highly close proximity to one another. We compare these differences to “counterfactual” boundaries using propensity score and other weighting procedures. In addition, we exploit borders that are least likely to have been endogenously drawn. We find that areas that were the lower graded side of HOLC boundaries in the 1930s experienced a marked increase in racial segregation in subsequent decades that peaked around 1970 before beginning to decline. We also find evidence of a long-run decline in home ownership, house values, and credit scores along the lower graded side of HOLC borders that persists today. We document similar long-run patterns among both “redlined” and non-redlined neighborhoods and, in some important outcomes, show larger and more lasting effects among the latter. Our results provide strongly suggestive evidence that the HOLC maps had a causal and persistent effect on the development of neighborhoods through credit access.

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