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  • Author or Editor: Almas Heshmati x
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In 2017, Korea became an ‘aged society,’ with the proportion of people aged 65 or older exceeding 14%, while the ratio of the working-age population declined for the first time. This study uses data from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (KLOSA) to examine the effects of public pension on the labour supply of older people and discusses ways of preparing for this ageing problem. The study uses the Heckman sample selection model for analysing both the extensive and intensive margins of older people's labour supply. Our results show that the effects of public pensions in Korea are very different from that in other countries. It can be inferred that these differences are a consequence of the less developed social security system and limited experience from its short period of implementation. Hence, encouraging older people to work could be a way of solving the problem of relatively high poverty among the older population in a society that is likely to age even more. This is considered an optimal solution in light of increasing life expectancy, a poor social security system, and a decrease in private income transfers from children to their ageing parents.

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With the growing environmental crisis affecting our globe, ideas to weigh economic or social progress by the ‘energy input’ necessary to achieve it are increasingly gaining acceptance. This question is intriguing and is being dealt with by a growing number of studies, focusing on the environmental price of human progress. Even more intriguing, however, is the question of which factors of social organization contribute to a responsible use of the resources of our planet to achieve a given social result (‘smart development’). In this essay, we present the first systematic study on how migration — or rather, more concretely, received worker remittances per GDP — helps the nations of our globe to enjoy social and economic progress at a relatively small environmental price. We look at the effects of migration on the balance sheets of societal accounting, based on the ‘ecological price’ of the combined performance of democracy, economic growth, gender equality, human development, research and development, and social cohesion. Feminism in power, economic freedom, population density, the UNDP education index as well as the receipt of worker remittances all significantly contribute towards a ‘smart overall development’, while high military expenditures and a high world economic openness are a bottleneck for ‘smart overall development’.

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Ever since Goldin (1995) proposed the idea that there is a U-shaped female labor force participation rate function in economic development, empirical research is stunned by the question why the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are characterized by such low rates of female labor force participation. This gap in labor economics research is all the more perplexing since gender equality, particularly in education and employment, significantly contributes to economic growth. The research strategy of this paper is within a relatively new tradition in labor market research, initiated by Besamusca et al. (2015), which does not exclude the “religious factor” and what the authors call “gender ideology”. Our analysis of the “gender ideology” of Islamism and gender values is based on an empirical analysis of World Values Survey data. In recent economic theory, Carvalho (2013) maintained that Muslim veiling is a strategy for integration, enabling women to take up outside economic opportunities while preserving their reputation within the community. The empirical data clearly support a pessimistic view. We show that Muslim Feminism, which according to our analysis implies the rejection of Islamism and the veil, and the democracy movement in the Muslim world, are closely interrelated. Thus, it is imperative that Western Feminism develops solidarity with Muslim Feminism, and that labor economics stop excluding the religious factor from the analytical frameworks explaining low female labor force participation rates.

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