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Commentary

Watch exclusive video from conferences, debates and other events on labor market economics as well as reading the latest opinion pieces from IZA World of Labor authors.

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  • IZA World of Labor discussion on measuring poverty with Bruce D. Meyer

    IZA World of Labor discussion on measuring poverty with Bruce D. Meyer, the McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

    Discussion questions include:

    • You worry about regional differences in measuring poverty – are these only because of regional cost of living differences or is there something more to it beyond cost of living?
    • Let’s assume that the safety net is less affective in more conservative/ right-wing states. If one were to worry about regional differences because of differences in the safety net, wouldn’t that argue for a more inclusive poverty standard in right-wing states? Shouldn’t the governors there be very happy with that because that would give them more federal money since more people would be measured as being in poverty?
    • In Europe they measure poverty relatively in 60% of the median household income and in US it’s absolute. Which do you think is right – European median or US absolute?
    • Poverty is defined in terms of income. Why can’t we define poverty in terms of the purchase of some market basket of goods not in terms of the income needed to buy that market basket?

    Find related IZA World of Labor content on poverty measures on our key topic page: What can policymakers do to reduce poverty?
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  • IZA World of Labor panel discussion on environment and health

    IZA World of Labor panel discussion on environment and health with Ben Elsner from University College Dublin, J. Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle at London School of Economics and Political Science and Claudia Persico at the American University of Washington D.C.

    Discussion questions include:

    • Your paper includes information that unusual air pollution reduces the vote share of an incumbent party in Germany. Neat result, but why? Also, would you expect the same result in a country with more direct elections, i.e., the U.S.? 
    • You show that unusual air pollution increases the suicide rate in the U.S. Why? Also, does it increase suicide attempts, or just make attempts more successful? What would you expect?
    • You show that introducing solar-powered electricity generation in an area cuts hospital admissions for incidents of respiratory disease. I can easily see why; but is this effect large enough to matter: how can we value it, and how much of the cost of installing solar power might it offset?
    • All these results, and the papers imply that people are or should at least subconsciously be aware of the effects that you have documented. So why isn’t there more outcry, more push toward action on climate change?
    • What other effects that have not yet been documented might you expect? E.g., effects on development of as yet unborn children; differential effects on less-educated workers’ ability to function compared to more educated workers?
    Find related IZA World of Labor content on environment and health on our key topic page: Environmental regulation and the labor market.

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  • IZA World of Labor panel discussion on gender and family issues

    Panel discussion on gender and family issues with Matthias Doepke from Northwestern University, Herdis Steingrimsdottir from Copenhagen Business School and Christina Gathmann from LISER

    Discussion questions:

    - Why was this recession so different from other recessions in its impacts on male and female workers? What are the longer-term effects of any differences?
    - Which parent bears the bigger burden if their child develops a serious cancer? Do these effects differ by family income? What can be done to mitigate any effects?
    - How does a man’s job loss affect his wife’s health? Why? Would a job loss by a man in a homosexual marriage have the similar effect on his husband?
    - You’ve all found differences and asymmetries within married couples in the impacts of labor-market and other shocks. If you were to redo your research in 2052, do you think you would find the same results? Why or why not, and how would the results differ?
    - All of this research deals with environments in rich countries—Northern Europe and the U.S. Do you think your results would differ in Southern Europe? In developing countries?

    Find related IZA World of Labor content on gender and family issues on our key topic page: What is the gender divide?
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  • IZA World of Labor panel discussion on migration issues

    IZA World of Labor Panel discussion on migration issues with Kirk Doran, Associate Professor at University of Notre Dame, Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Professor at University of California Merced, and Marco Tabellini, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

    Discussion questions:

    - The U.S. and other countries offer lotteries for migrants of specific backgrounds. Winners of the lotter - workers who are allowed to migrate, and firms that are allowed to hire a migrant - pay nothing to the government. Why not, instead of a lottery, let these prizes be auctioned off so that the taxpayer instead of the worker/firm reaps a reward?

    - Migration puts the migrant into a new environment with different social norms. What do we know about the mental health of migrants - their incidence of emotional disorders? How does this vary with the age at which the migrant enters the new country? How with the extent to which s/he is accompanied by other family members?

    - What is the role of local (area-wide, not national) attitudes toward new migrants in how well the migrant does - socially and economically? What can be done to enhance the reception that new migrants receive in their chosen locales? - What can be done to get the 4 million Ukrainian refugees settled more quickly? Which countries are doing well, badly on this? What is the secret of the successful countries?

    - Should Western countries tilt their migration policies further toward a basis in the skills that the migrant brings to the economy? (If so, what about brain-drain issues in sending countries?)


    Read related IZA World of Labor content on migration through our key topic page:

    - How does migration policy affect the labor market?

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