Yuval Elmelech

  • Working Paper No. 815 | September 2014

    This paper contributes to the literature on inequality and welfare policy by studying public support for redistributive policies in Israel, a society with an extreme level of socioeconomic inequality. Drawing on the relevant literature and taking into consideration the distinct demographic makeup of contemporary Israeli society, the study aims to describe public support for opportunity-enhancing and outcome-based redistributive policies and to explore the extent to which individual economic and demographic characteristics are associated with policy preferences. Analysis of data from a unique topical module of the 2008 Israel Social Survey reveals that support for opportunity-based programs is strong overall, but that the Israeli public is deeply divided along ethnic lines, religious affiliation, and immigration status. While results from multinomial regression analyses provide support for the self-interest theory, the findings also underscore the significance of various demographic and social indicators as determinants of policy preferences. These findings are discussed in light of the current debates on the sources of, and possible remedies for, the growing social and economic polarization within Israeli society.

  • Working Paper No. 633 | November 2010
    New Evidence in the Debate about the Creation of Second Generation Educational Outcomes in Israel

    There is much interest in explaining the persistent ethnic gaps in education among Israeli Jews; specifically, the much lower attainments of those from Asian and African countries compared to the rest—Mizrahim vs. Ashkenazim, respectively. Some explanations (especially early ones) have stressed premigration immigrant characteristics, particularly the relatively lower level of educational attainment among Mizrahim. More recent interpretations have tended to focus on discrimination of various sorts that took place after the immigrants arrived in Israel. Crucial evidence for the discriminatory effect was introduced by Yaakov Nahon (1987), who demonstrated a shift toward a Mizrahi-Ashkenazi dichotomy in educational attainment between birth cohorts of adult immigrants and birth cohorts of adults born in Israel. From this evidence, a wide range of scholars concluded that the premigration educational characteristics of immigrants could not explain Israeli educational patterns, and that, consequently, the explanation based on discrimination was thereby greatly strengthened.

    In this paper, we use the 1961 Israel census public-use dataset to refine Nahon’s analysis. Instead of using age cohorts as proxies for “fathers” and “children,” we focus on actual fathers and their children. Our results vary substantially from Nahon’s. In fact, we find that the educational attainment of immigrant fathers clusters quite closely around the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi dichotomy, and conclude that it is no longer reasonable to rule out the premigration hypothesis. This outcome leaves researchers with a more challenging explanatory task than before, because they are now faced with the notoriously difficult situation of having to determine the relative influence of premigration characteristics, on the one hand, and of discriminatory processes, on the other.

  • Working Paper No. 565 | May 2009
    A Decomposition Analysis of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Homeownership

    In recent years, as the homeownership rate in the United States reached its highest level in history, homeownership itself remained unevenly distributed, particularly along racial and ethnic lines. By using data from the 2000 Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) and 2006 American Community Survey (ACS) to study the trajectory into homeownership of black, Asian, white, and Latino households, this paper explores the various socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, as well as the distinct immigration experiences and spatial patterns that shape racial and ethnic inequality in homeownership. The unique (merged) dataset enables the authors to distinguish assimilation (length of residence) from immigration cohort effects, and to control for various spatial characteristics at the PUMA (Public Use Microdata Area) level. The paper employs a decomposition technique that delineates the distinct effects that composition differentials have on the visible white-minority disparity in homeownership. The findings reveal substantial differences along racial-ethnic lines, highlight the importance of immigration and spatial context in determining Asian and Mexican homeownership rates, and emphasize the unique role that family structure and unobserved factors (e.g. prejudice and discrimination) continue to play in shaping the black-white homeownership gap.

  • Working Paper No. 417 | January 2005

    This paper uses data from the 1993–2001 March Current Population Survey to estimate the extent to which child living arrangements, parental work patterns, and immigration attributes shape racial and ethnic variation in child poverty. Results from multivariate analyses and a standardization technique reveal that parental work patterns as well as child living arrangements are especially consequential for black and Puerto-Rican economic circumstances. Child immigration generation and parental length of residence seem to play a detrimental role in shaping poverty among Asian, Mexican, and Central/South American children. We also found that the extent to which differences in the composition of and returns to parental resources determine white-minority economic gaps varies substantially across racial and ethnic lines. The social and economic implications of the findings for understanding racial and ethnic inequality are discussed in the final section of the article.

  • Working Paper No. 351 | August 2002

    We use data from the Current Population Survey (CPS 1994-2001) to document the relationship between gender-specific demographic variations and the gender-poverty gap among eight racial/ethnic groups. We find that black and Puerto Rican women experience a double disadvantage owing to being both women and members of a minority group. As compared with whites, however, gender inequality among other minority groups is relatively small. By utilizing a standardization technique, we are able to estimate the importance of gender-specific demographic and socioeconomic composition in shaping differences in men's and women's poverty rates both within and across racial/ethnic lines. The analysis reveals that sociodemographic characteristics have a distinct effect on the poverty rate of minority women, and that the form and the magnitude of the effect vary across racial/ethnic lines. By incorporating the newly available immigration information in the CPS data, we are also able to document the effect of immigration status on gender inequality. The social and economic implications of the findings for the study of gender inequality are discussed in the last section of the article.

  • Working Paper No. 341 | November 2001

    Using data from the 1994–95 Survey of Families in Israel—which includes 1,607 urban Jewish respondents interviewed on topics relating to work behavior, household income, wealth, assistance received from parents and given to children, and views about financial responsibilities between parents and children—the authors examined attitudes in Israel about intergenerational assistance and the effects of these attitudes on transfer decisions by parents. Views about parental obligations are likely not independent of a country's economic and social organization. In a country with an extensive program of public assistance for young adults, for example, there may be less need for private family transfers and less of a sense of parental responsibility for providing support. Similarly, where young couples face severe liquidity constraints or otherwise require substantial resources in order to begin a household, parental feelings of obligation might be heightened. Israel is a country in which the need for parental support is high and the level of parental involvement in the financial lives of young adults is often considerable.

Publication Highlight

Quick Search

Search in: