Are Shorter Cumulative Temporary Contracts Worse
Stepping Stones? Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment (PDF)
Kabátek J, Liang Y, Zheng K (2023) Labour Economics
Abstract: Temporary employment contracts are often regarded as ‘stepping stones’ for workers’ careers, because they can help inexperienced workers secure a permanent contract. Our study evaluates whether this stepping-stone function is moderated by the contract duration, exploiting a Dutch policy reform that shortened the maximum duration of sequences of temporary contracts with the same employers from 3 years to 2 years. Leveraging a sharp regression discontinuity design and administrative register data, we show that the reform accelerated the transitions of temporary workers to permanent contracts with the same employers, with the effect being strongest among those working for the same employers for 1–2 years. We conclude that the reform brought more job security to temporary workers without impeding the stepping-stone function of their contracts.
Comparing the Effectiveness of Fiscal Stimuli for Working Parents (PDF)
de Boer H-W, Jongen E, Kabátek J (2022) Labour Economics
Abstract: To promote the labour participation of parents with young children, governments employ a number of fiscal instruments. Prominent examples are childcare subsidies and in-work benefits. However, which policy works best for employment is largely unknown. We study the relative effectiveness of fiscal stimuli for working parents in an empirical model of household labour supply and childcare use. We use a large and rich administrative dataset for the Netherlands. Large-scale reforms in childcare subsidies and in-work benefits in the data period benefit the identification of the parameters. We find that an in-work benefit for secondary earners that increases with income is the most cost-effective way of stimulating total hours worked of parents with young children. Childcare subsidies and a ‘flat’ in-work benefit for secondary earners are somewhat less cost-effective. In-work benefits for both primary and secondary earners are much less cost-effective, since the former are rather unresponsive to financial incentives.
Are Sibship Characteristics Predictive of Same Sex Marriage? An Examination of Fraternal Birth Order and Female Fecundity Effects in Population-Level Administrative Data from the Netherlands (PDF)
Ablaza C, Kabátek J, Perales F (2022) Journal of Sex Research
Abstract: Despite historical increases in the number of individuals engaging in same-sex relations and entering same-sex unions, the causes of sexual orientation remain an open question. Two biological processes that have received some degree of empirical validation are the fraternal birth-order effect (FBOE) and the female-fecundity effect (FFE). Respectively, these processes posit that having a greater number of older brothers and being part of larger sibships independently increase the odds of male homosexuality. Nevertheless, previous studies have relied on suboptimal data and methods, including underpowered and selected samples, and models that fail to fully disentangle the two processes. In addition, they have rarely analyzed samples of women. We address these limitations using high-quality, population-level linked register data from the Netherlands (n=9,073,496). Applying a novel multivariable approach, we jointly examine the FBOE and FFE by comparing the sibship characteristics of men (n=26,542) and women (n=33,534) who entered a same-sex union against those who did not (n=4,607,785 men & 4,405,635 women). Our analyses yield robust evidence of an FBOE on both male and female homosexuality, but no support for the FFE. Additionally, we find that individuals’ birth order affects the probability of entering a same-sex union, regardless of the sex of older siblings.
The Impacts of a Large-Scale Financial Education Intervention on Retirement Saving Behaviors and Portfolio Allocation: Evidence from Pension Fund Data (PDF)
Ghafoori E, Ip E, Kabátek J (2021) Journal of Banking and Finance
Abstract: We analyze the causal impact of a large-scale financial education intervention on retirement saving behaviors and asset allocation decisions. The studied intervention is a nationwide retirement seminar program that is administered by a major Australian pension fund. Making use of the variation in the timing of seminar invitations, we find that seminar attendance has large positive effects on a range of desirable behaviors. Over a span of two years, the seminars generate excess voluntary contributions worth 6 per cent of the attending members’ pension balances. Seminar attendees also become more likely to use sophisticated portfolio allocation strategies, lowering the risk of their asset holdings as they approach retirement. We show that the seminars are highly profitable for both the fund and its members, which highlights the unique potential for an active role of pension funds in the domain of financial education and retirement planning.
Daughters and Divorce (PDF)
Kabátek J, Ribar D (2021) The Economic Journal
Abstract: Are couples with daughters more likely to divorce than couples with sons? Using Dutch registry and U.S. survey data, we show that couples with daughters face higher risks of divorce, but only when daughters are 13 to 18 years old. These age-specific results run counter to explanations involving overarching, time-invariant preferences for sons and sex-selection into live birth. We propose another explanation that involves relationship strains in families with teenage daughters. In subsample analyses, we find larger child-gender differences in divorce risks for parents whose attitudes towards gender-roles are likely to differ from those of their daughters and partners. We also find survey evidence of relationship strains in families with teenage daughters.
Academic Achievement of Children in Same- and Different-Sex-Parented Families (PDF)
Kabátek J, Perales F (2021) Demography
Abstract: While numerous studies have examined how children raised in same-sex-parented families fare relative to children in different-sex-parented families, this body of work suffers from major methodological shortcomings. By leveraging linked administrative data from several population registers from the Netherlands covering the 2006-2018 period (n=1,454,577), we overcome most methodological limitations affecting earlier research. The unique features of the data include: complete population coverage, reliable identification of same-sex-parented families, a large number of children in same-sex-parented families (n=3,006), multiple objective and verifiable educational outcomes, and detailed measures of family dynamics over children’s entire life courses. The results indicate that children in same-sex-parented families outperform children in different-sex-parented families on multiple indicators of academic performance, including standardized tests scores, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment. Such advantages extend to both male and female children, and are more pronounced among children in female than male same-sex-parented families. These findings challenge deficit models of same-sex-parenting.
Abstract: The Dutch minimum wage for workers aged 15 to 23 is defined as a stepwise increasing function of a worker’s calendar age. Using Dutch administrative records, the author shows that the birthday discontinuities of age-dependent minimum wage rates affect both labor market entry (job accessions) and labor market exit (job separations) of minimum wage workers. The job separations spike in the three months that precede workers’ birthdays, suggesting that firms are dismissing workers whose costs are about to go up. The frequency of job accessions increases immediately after the birthdays and the increase is sustained throughout the following months. The resulting effect on employment levels is dynamic, with the employment rate being subject to an initial drop that is gradually compensated for by the higher rates of post-birthday labor market entry.
Not Your Lucky Day: Romantically and Numerically Special Wedding Date Divorce Risks (PDF)
Kabátek J, Ribar D (2018) Journal of Population Economics
Abstract: Characteristics of couples on or about their wedding day and characteristics of weddings have been shown to predict marital outcomes. Little is known, however, about how the dates of the weddings correlate with marriage durability. Using Dutch marriage and divorce registries from 1999-2013, this study compares the durations of marriages that began on unusually popular wedding dates with marriages on ordinary dates. We identify several distinct types of popular dates, including Valentine’s Day and numerically special days (dates with the same or sequential number values, e.g., 9.9.99, 1.2.03), showing that on an adjusted basis, the incidence of weddings on such dates was 137-509% higher than ordinary dates. The hazard odds of divorce for these special-date weddings were 18-36% higher than ordinary-date weddings. Sorting on couples’ observable characteristics accounts for some of the higher divorce risks, but even after controlling for these characteristics, special-date weddings were more vulnerable, with 10-18% higher divorce odds compared to ordinary dates. These relationships are even stronger for couples who have not married before.
Labor Supply Heterogeneity and Demand for Child Care of Mothers with Young Children (PDF)
Apps P, Kabátek J, Rees R, van Soest A (2016) Empirical Economics
Abstract: This paper presents a structural model of the labor supply and child care choices of partnered mothers with pre-school aged children. The father’s time use decisions are taken as given. The main goal is to analyze the sensitivity of maternal time use to the price of child care, taxes, benefits and child care subsidies. To account for non-convexities in the budget sets we specify a discrete choice model. We estimate the model on data from the HILDA survey of the Australian population which contains detailed information on time use and bought in child care. Simulations based on the estimated parameters show that the time decisions of mothers with pre-school children are highly sensitive to changes in wages and the cost of child care. Our results also suggest that lowering effective tax rates faced by partnered mothers as second earners, by switching from joint to individual taxation, would lead to a substantial increase in their labor force participation and hours of work.
Income Taxation, Labour Supply and House Work: a Discrete Choice Model for French couples (PDF)
Kabátek J, van Soest A, Stancanelli E (2014), Labour Economics
Abstract: Earlier studies suggest that income taxation may affect not only labour supply but also domestic work. Here we investigate the impact of income taxation on partners’ labour supply and house work. We estimate a household utility model in which the marginal utilities of leisure and house work of both individuals in a couple are modelled as random coefficients, depending on observed and unobserved characteristics. The model is estimated using data for France, which taxes incomes of married couples jointly. We conclude that both partners’ hours decisions are responsive to changes in the tax system. A policy simulation suggests that moving from joint taxation of spouses’ incomes to separate taxation would increase the husband’s house work hours and reduce his labour supply. The wife’s market hours would increase and her house work hours would fall.
The Effects of Commuting and Working From Home Arrangements on Mental Health (PDF)
Botha F, Kabátek J, Meekes J, Wilkins R
Abstract: In this study, we quantify the causal effects of commuting time and working from home (WFH) arrangements on the mental health of Australian men and women. Leveraging rich panel-data models, we first show that adverse effects of commuting time manifest only among men. These are concentrated among individuals with pre-existing mental health issues, and they are modest in magnitude. Second, we show that WFH arrangements have large positive effects on women’s mental health, provided that the WFH component is large enough. The effects are once again concentrated among individuals with pre-existing mental health issues. This effect specificity is novel and extends beyond Australia: we show that it also underlies the adverse effects of commuting time on the mental health of British women. Our findings highlight the importance of targeted interventions and support for individuals facing mental distress.
University fees, subsidies and field of study (PDF)
Yong M, Coelli M, Kabátek J
Abstract: We estimate the effects of discrete changes in student fees and government subsidies on student field of study preferences and enrolments at university. These estimates are constructed using both standard two-way fixed effects models and Conditional Multinomial Logit models using individual unit-record applications and enrolments data from the largest Australian state of New South Wales. Student preferences are negatively related to student fees but the elasticity estimates are not large. This is likely due to generous income-contingent loans with a zero real interest rate that cover all tuition fees. University enrolments by field of study respond to changes in fees and subsidies in a manner consistent with student preference responses rather than teaching revenue maximisation. This may be due to supply constraints, reputation concerns and other organisational priorities.
Longer Careers: A barrier to hiring and coworker advancement? (PDF)
Ferrari I, Kabátek J, Morris T
Abstract: In response to the increasing fiscal burden imposed by public-pension systems, many countries have successfully encouraged older workers to delay retirement. These career extensions may significantly affect both the hiring and firing decisions of firms and the career progression of younger workers. To study these effects, we leverage reforms in the Netherlands in 2011 / 12 that gradually increased the eligibility age for public-pension benefits across birth cohorts. Using administrative linked employer-employee data, we first show that the reforms have significantly extended careers, doubling employment rates at ages that were directly affected. Next, we show that firms respond by delaying hiring, and hiring fewer workers overall. Co-workers also experience slower earnings growth over the period of career extensions, which is mainly attributable to a reduction in hours worked rather than lower hourly wages, but their separation rates from the firm are not affected. We support these findings with a descriptive analysis of an earlier Dutch reform in 2006, which reduced the share of older workers taking up early retirement and reveals similar dynamics.
Abstract: We analyse the effects of a national reform of higher education financing on the decision making of secondary school students in the Netherlands. The reform eliminated a universal subsidy for higher education students and replaced it by a low-interest loan, causing a substantive increase in the private costs of higher education. We show that the reform had a large impact on students’ decision making, decreasing the share of secondary school students following college-preparing tracks by 6.8 percentage points. The reform also affected students’ subject specialization choices, and the living arrangements of new college entrants. We show that secondary school students respond to the costs of higher education well ahead of their graduation, which has important consequences for the design of empirical studies of higher education financing. It also shows that policy uncertainty regarding financial aid is sufficient to deter many students from pursuing higher education.
Abstract: Administrative divorce is an optional divorce procedure which allows couples to bypass the court system and dissolve their marriages in a streamlined, uncontested process. The lack of court involvement renders the administrative divorce faster and less expensive than the conventional divorce. In this paper, I investigate whether the administrative divorce option affected the stability of marriages in the Netherlands. Leveraging the ban of the procedure in 2009, I show that the divorce risks were 11.6% higher under the legal regime which allowed for administrative divorce. This effect is causal, and it exhibits considerable heterogeneity, being stronger among dual-earner couples, native couples, and couples living in rural regions.
Determinants of marital stability in same-sex and different-sex unions
Ablaza C, Kabátek J, Perales F
Causal effects of divorce on families with children
Kabátek J, Zhang Y
Consequences of Australian VET reforms on the education and labour market trajectories of Australian youth
Kabátek J, Kalb G, Polidano C