Asher Rosinger and Ricardo Godoy
Weight and height are critical indicators of short- and long-term human nutrition and health. This chapter reviews secular trends of weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) from studies that relied on primary data of living adults in small-scale, native populations in rural areas of developing nations. Most studies reviewed found trends of increases in weight and BMI over an average study period of 20 years. Women gained an average of 8.8 kg and 3.1 kg/m2, and men gained an average of 5.1 kg and 2.1 kg/m2 over this time span. Additionally, 10 of 13 native populations reviewed had a recent overweight and obesity prevalence of at least 10 percentage points lower than the national averages for men and women combined. In contrast to weight, 12 out of 21 studies found no change (n = 8) or a decline (n = 4) in secular trends of height.
Jeffrey D. Sachs
Sub-Saharan Africa’s opportunity to escape from poverty is real and opportune, but the delayed demographic transition to low mortality and low fertility poses a serious risk. Without a faster demographic transition, Africa is likely to experience an unmanageable surge of population, youth dependency, etc. The demographic transition would combine greatly improved health outcomes with a large, rapid, and voluntary reduction of fertility rates. A low-fertility trajectory has the characteristics of a lower population growth rate and youth dependency ratio; and a higher ratio of arable land to population, rate of urbanization, level of schooling, level of human capital, total factor productivity, and GDP per capita. Accelerating the demographic transition would make it possible to limit the rise in Africa’s future population substantially, and thereby accelerate urbanization, schooling, technological advance, and economic growth.
Harold O. Fried and Loren W. Tauer
This article explores how well an individual manages his or her own talent to achieve high performance in an individual sport. Its setting is the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). The order-m approach is explained. Additionally, the data and the empirical findings are presented. The inputs measure fundamental golfing athletic ability. The output measures success on the LPGA tour. The correlation coefficient between earnings per event and the ability to perform under pressure is 0.48. The careers of golfers occur on the front end of the age distribution. There is a classic trade-off between the inevitable deterioration in the mental ability to handle the pressure and experience gained with time. The ability to perform under pressure peaks at age 37.
This chapter examines the changes in demographics in selected Asian Pacific countries and traces the impacts of those changes for intergenerational transfers. It provides detailed projections of demographic dividends and argues that policy response to age compositional changes will have significant influence on economic growth and poverty, intergenerational equity and social welfare for decades to come. It also evaluates the relevant experience of Japan, using the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) approach.
Richard H. Steckel
Beginning with Bismarck’s Germany in the late 19th century, nations gave increasing attention to measures of well-being while traveling the path to welfare states of the 20th century. Following the ascent of the germ theory of disease, governments could play a large and cost-effective role in serving public health and national competitiveness. The Great Depression energized the creation of a second important policy tool, national income accounts. This chapter discusses the evolution and application of biological measures of well-being, with comparisons to per capita gross domestic product from vital registration and life tables to morbidity and to anthropometric measures such as stature, weight, and skeletal remains. Recently, surveys of happiness have entered scholarly debate.
Deborah A. Cobb-Clark
This article explores whether new research linking economic decision-making to human biology provides an explanation for gendered labor market outcomes, in particular the gender wage gap. Literature in four broad areas is reviewed: behavioral endocrinology (hormones), human genetics (behavioral genetics and genoeconomics), neuroeconomics, and sensory functioning and time-space perceptions. Often the research focus is on biologically-based differences in men’s and women’s abilities to make decisions more generally, and one is left to speculate about the implications for labor market outcomes specifically. Therefore, the article concludes by highlighting some of the fundamental issues that are not yet understood and offering some priorities for future research.
This chapter provides an overview of research primarily within the discipline of economics that empirically examines how biomarkers influences specific health and socioeconomic outcomes. Since the role that biomarkers are hypothesized to play in the estimating equation differs across studies, a distinction is first made between two separate categories of biomarkers: biological time-varying measures such as hormones and biological time-invariant measures including DNA. Recent research in these two categories is then reviewed, focusing on studies that can present the most credible evidence of the role of specific biomarkers. Last, an emerging literature that focuses on the interactions between time-varying environmental conditions and time-invariant genetic factors is discussed. The chapter concludes by highlights three promising areas for future research and suggesting researchers should shift their attention away from investigating specific candidate genes to polygenic risk scores, as well as focus on genetic interactions with more aggregated rather than specific environmental influences.
W. Peter Ward
Birth weight is a biometric measure of well-being widely used as an infant health indicator. It also offers insights into maternal and population health more generally. The most common measures of weight at birth are the mean and the proportion of low birth weight (LBW; less than 2,500 g) infants. LBW neonates experience higher risk of infant morbidity and mortality. Globally, LBW rates average 15%. Wealthy Western societies generally experience the highest mean weights whereas the lowest are found in some of the globe’s poorest nations. Factors affecting newborn weight fall into five categories: genetic, environmental, gestational, socioeconomic, and nutritional. Studies of birth weight concerned with change over time reveal important regional and temporal differences, notably during times of social and economic crisis. Numerous studies have identified relationships between low birth weight and a range of health problems in later life, including hypertension, coronary heart disease and non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
John Goddard, Peter J. Sloane, and John O. S. Wilson
This chapter reviews the historical development of free agency in professional football, using the English leagues as representative of what has happened in Europe, and then summarizes work that has been undertaken to unravel the effects of the Bosman ruling. Some data on changes in the patterns of employment of professional footballers in the English leagues since the mid-1980s, which enable several effects of the Bosman ruling to be identified, are also presented. A number of potential direct effects of the Bosman ruling on the market for playing talent were identified by Simmons. There have been significant changes in employment opportunities in the Premier League and Football League for players born in England and Wales. The influx of foreign players is one of the most visible post-Bosman developments. Although there is evidence that Bosman increased the average duration of players' employment contracts, employment turnover has also risen.
Roberto Garcia-Castro, Joan Enric Ricart, Marvin B. Lieberman, and Natarajan Balasubramanian
Productivity gains play a crucial role in value creation and distribution in firms. This chapter connects the strategy framework of value creation and value capture with the tools from the productivity literature in order to understand better how returns are distributed between different stakeholders in the business and how this distribution might evolve over time. The authors distinguish between business model innovation and replication as two genuine sources of value creation. The historical analysis of Southwest Airlines in the US airline industry illustrates the insights that can be gained using a formal model to measure productivity gains at the firm level.
This chapter reviews the history of prostitution law in Canada. It begins with a review of relevant literature on the history and policy of the sex trade in Canada, along with current laws and their enforcement. It then discusses two sources of data available for use in prostitution research in Canada: the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, a data set that tracks crime and arrest information, and the Erotic Review (TER), a data set drawn from an online review website for sex professionals. These data sets are employed in descriptive analysis of the state of prostitution markets in Canada. The chapter also considers the challenges brought against Canadian prostitution law and concludes by suggesting potential research directions.
This article explains why care work often imposes a financial penalty that contributes to gender inequality. The work of caring for others—whether unpaid or paid—often involves more personal connection, emotional attachment, and moral commitment than other forms of work. It creates both public and private benefits, and its value is difficult to measure. All these factors put care providers at an economic disadvantage. This article argues that specialization in care is costly because it reduces both individual and collective bargaining power—that is, it puts individual caregivers at a disadvantage and makes it more difficult for women, as a group, to challenge gender bias and discrimination.
This chapter discusses the institutional framework and the nomination procedure that is currently applied in the German “Bundesliga” (GBL), and then provides the data and some descriptive evidence on career length of soccer referees. A plea for further research on the determinants of career length of referees from a comparative perspective is presented, and it is shown that financial incentives do not motivate the referees to put forth higher levels of effort. The number of matches a referee is assigned to over the course of his career is highly concentrated among a small minority of match officials. The distribution of career length of head coaches in the GBL exhibits an even more pronounced bimodal pattern than is the case for referees since the early 1990s. Comparing the duration of individual careers in different institutional environments would allow the researcher to better understand how selection and incentive effects interact.
A key question confronting India, well into the post-iberalization era, is whether—and if so, why—the traditional institution of caste may be beginning to lose its grip. It remains a fact that the social groups at the bottom of the caste hierarchy (scheduled castes, or SCs) or otherwise judged worthy of special concessions continue to be overrepresented among the rural and urban poor. This is in spite of radical, comprehensive, and enduring policy interventions to address this idiosyncratic facet of Indian deprivation. The gradual ascent of lower castes into north Indian legislative assemblies following earlier and similar progress in the South and West has not only altered India's political landscape but spurred a new optimism. The moot question then is whether the optimism that has gained currency finds support in data that go beyond political representation and coarse measures of rural public infrastructure provision.
The Causes and Consequences of Increased Female Education and Labor Force Participation in Developing Countries
Rachel Heath and Seema Jayachandran
Two important recent trends in most developing countries are the rise in female labor force participation and the closing of gender gaps in school enrollment. This article begins by exploring the causes of the increases in female education, which include greater job availability and policy interventions that have promoted girls’ education. The article then explores the causes of increased female employment, which include a sectoral shift from “brawn-based” industries to services, as well as policies that have increased girls’ education. The article also discusses the effects of these increases in female education and labor supply, particularly for the well-being of women.
Income inequality in Brazil, already high, increased after the military coup of 1964 and remained very high even after democratization in the 1980s. It decreased substantially in the period 2001–2014, after inflation was controlled. The Gini index of the per capita household income dropped from 0.594 in 2001 to 0.513 in 2014. The determinants of this decline in inequality are analyzed considering the components of that income and how each one affected changes in inequality, showing the impact of changes in the remuneration of private sector employees and in pensions paid by the government, as well as federal transfer programs. Changes in education lie behind the first of these effects, and the increase of the minimum wage reinforced all three. The economic crises after 2014 interrupted the process of decline, and among economically active persons, inequality even increased from 2014 to 2015. Measures to further reduce inequality are suggested.
Anthropometric measures in childhood predict the risk of metabolic diseases decades later. Low birthweight and short stature are associated with higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes in adulthood, supporting a hypothesis that early malnutrition has long-lasting adverse effects on metabolism. However, in industrialized countries, overnutrition has replaced undernutrition as a major childhood risk factor of metabolic diseases. Subsequently, body mass index is currently the most important childhood anthropometric indicator predicting the risk of adult metabolic diseases. One unit increase of body mass index at 13 years of age was found to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 20%. Rapid growth in height in infancy, mid-childhood, and at the start of puberty is also associated with higher risk of coronary heart disease. Physical development over childhood is closely related to nutrition and other environmental factors; these associations indicate the importance of childhood environment for healthy adulthood.
Jeffrey D. Sachs
The problem of climate change is typically discussed as a problem of intergenerational tradeoffs. Typically, it is supposed that the current generations must make sacrifices today for the improved well-being of future generations. The case for climate change mitigation becomes a question of the balancing of current and future well-being, for example, according to a social discount factor. Though this approach is common, the perspective is too narrow. By using intergenerational fiscal policy, it may be possible to fund climate change mitigation with public debt, so that in effect future generations bear both the costs and the benefits of climate change mitigation. In this way, the social discount rate is not relevant. What is relevant is whether future generations would indeed be willing to pay the price of mitigation in return for reduced climate change. The current generation must act as a steward for future generations, assessing whether future generations would (or should) be willing to bear the costs of mitigation. If so, today’s generation would undertake mitigation actions, while leaving future generations with a higher stock of public debt to service.