Category Archives: micro

Dr Christian Siegel

Female relative wages, household specialization and fertility

Falling fertility rates have often been linked to rising female wages. However, over the last 40 years the US total fertility rate has been rather stable while female wages have continued to grow. Over the same period, women’s hours spent on housework have declined, but men’s have increased.

This is the abstract from a paper by Dr Christian Siegel that was published in the Review of Economics Dynamics in March 2017.

Christian proposes a model in which households are not perfectly specialized, but both men and women contribute to home production. As the gender wage gap narrows, the time allocations of men and women converge, and while fertility falls at first, the decline stops when female wages are close to those of males.

Rising relative wages increase women’s labour supply and due to higher opportunity cost lower fertility at first, but they also lead to a reallocation of home production and child care from women to men, and a marketization.

He finds that both are important in understanding why fertility did not decline further. In a further quantitative exercise he shows that the model performs well in matching fertility over the entire 20th century, including the overall decline, the baby boom, and the recent stabilization.

Read the full paper here:

Economics of Development

The 10th edition of Professor Tony Thirlwall’s textbook, Economics of Development: Theory and Empirics, now co-authored with Dr Penélope Pacheco-López, is published this month by Palgrave-Macmillan Press. The first edition of the book, which was entitled Growth and Development: with Special Reference to Developing Countries, was published in 1972 based on Tony’s lectures to undergraduate and graduate students. It is used widely across the world, particularly in India, and there are Greek and Chinese translations of previous editions.

The 10th edition has an important new chapter on Human Capital: education; the role of women in the development process, nutrition and health. The chapter on Development and the Environment, originally written by John Peirson, has been substantially revised by Iain Fraser.

The book is available to purchase from Palgrave:

Plus there’s a companion website that provides teaching and learning resources and further information about the authors.

“Economics of Development is by far the best undergraduate textbook in development economics (…) an essential reference for students and scholars alike.”

Kunal Sen University of Manchester


Dr Zaki Wahhaj

Bangladesh’s new child marriage law swings in the wrong direction

A report by the School’s Dr Zaki Wahhaj and Dr M Niaz Asadullah from the University of Malaya has been published in The Conversation on Bangladesh’s new child marriage law.

“According to UNICEF, Bangladesh has the highest rate of marriage in the world among girls under 15. And it is ranked eighth in terms of marriage under the age of 18.”

Read the full article here:

Professor Iain Fraser

Choosy consumers drive a near 1000% spike in vanilla prices

“If you had been a canny investor back in 2008, you could have done a lot worse than make a substantial bet on upmarket ice cream futures. The price of vanilla beans has rocketed from as little as US$25 per kilo eight years ago up to US$240 at the end of 2016. Some forecasts predict it will reach as much as US$450 per kilo by the middle of 2017. Even by the standards of volatile prices in agricultural commodities such as rice and grains this is exceptional.

Unlike other price increases that were shortlived and the result of policy decisions, the price of vanilla beans is being driven by something else. In short, it is all down to us, the fickle consumer and our love of authentic cones, custard and crème brûlée…”

This is an excerpt from an article by the School’s Professor Iain Fraser, published in The Conversation on 27 February 2017. Click here to read the full article.


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