Natalie Bau, 14 September 2019

Families’ attitudes towards educational investment and lifetime saving are underpinned by longstanding cultural attitudes that must be considered in policy design. This column shows that in Indonesia and Ghana – two culturally distinct societies – families historically invested in the education of those children who would look after parents in old age. The level of this investment declined after the introduction of pensions in both countries.

Gordon Dahl, Anne Gielen, 29 May 2018

Although an extensive literature has documented intergenerational correlations in welfare receipt, there is little evidence on whether this relationship is causal. Do benefit schemes create a culture of dependency within families? This column finds that children of parents in the Netherlands who were pushed out of disability insurance following a reform were less likely to participate in the programme as adults. The fiscal spillovers from these intergenerational links have a sizable effect on the government’s long-term budget.

Taryn Dinkelman, Martine Mariotti, 20 July 2016

Economic research on migration tends to focus on workers, labour markets, or communities in receiving countries. However, labour migration and earnings could have important impacts on migrants’ home countries. This column explores these effects by focusing on circular migration from Malawi to South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Malawian districts that had the greatest exposure to migration shocks have better educated workers, even three decades later. These findings point to potential ‘brain gain’ effects for sending communities. 

Gene Grossman, Elhanan Helpman, Ezra Oberfield, Thomas Sampson, 20 February 2016

For the past few decades, the growth of industrialised economies has been remarkably balanced. This column suggests that such balanced growth results from schooling levels increasing over time. When capital and schooling are sufficiently complementary, increases in schooling offset the effect of capital deepening on the capital share and ensure that growth remains balanced.

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