New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2007‒02‒10
five papers chosen by

  1. On the Rationale for the Use of Border Taxes in Developing Countries By Knud Jørgen Munk
  2. Mobilidade entre estados de pobreza e inserção no mercado de trabalho: uma análise para o Brasil metropolitano em 2004 By Ana Flávia Machado; Rafael Perez Ribas; Mariângela Penido
  3. Crime Distribution and Victim Behavior during a Crime Wave By Rafael Di Tella; Sebastian Galiani; Ernesto Schargrodsky
  4. Curvas de Engel de Alimentos, Preferencias Heterogéneas y Características Demográficas de los Hogares: Estimaciones para Argentina By Georgina Pizzolitto
  5. Labor Informality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Patterns and Trends from Household Survey Microdata By Leonardo Gasparini; Leopoldo Tornarolli

  1. By: Knud Jørgen Munk (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)
    Abstract: With reference to the size of the informal sector, Stiglitz (2003) argues that border taxes are superior to VAT in certain developing countries. By way of a quantitative example this paper shows that, while Stiglitz’ claim is probably will turn out to be correct, a large informal sector is not a sufficient condition for border taxes to be preferable to a VAT regime as shown by Keen (2006). Making the case for using border taxes also requires the plausible supplementary assumptions that (i) border taxes are associated with lower administrative costs, and (ii) that this difference is sufficiently large to justify the larger distortionary costs associated with border taxes compared to domestic taxes.
    Keywords: Optimal trade policy, VAT, tax-tariff reform, costs of tax administration, informal sector, developing countries
    JEL: F11 F13 H21
    Date: 2006–12–30
  2. By: Ana Flávia Machado (Cedeplar-UFMG); Rafael Perez Ribas (Cedeplar-UFMG); Mariângela Penido (Cedeplar-UFMG)
    Abstract: The relation between dynamics of poverty and labor market includes some issues as what conducts certain poor groups to escape of this condition and what induces other groups to enter in the poverty. Seeking to analyze these issues, the purpose of this article is to investigate the relation between poverty states and way of occupational conditions in the labor market in Brazilian metropolitan areas in 2004. To follow up individuals in the sample, in order to hold the mobility, the Pesquisa Mensal de Emprego (PME) 2004 was used as source of the database. The model of mobility, or poverty transition model, is based on a Markov matrix, using as strategy of estimating a probit model with sample selection. Observing the mobility process in this model, poverty permanence rates and poverty transition rates had been calculated, as well as other mobility measurements, for each group of occupational condition. The results point out the importance of labor market aspects to permanence in the non-poor state and transitions to out of poverty.
    Keywords: poverty; labor market; mobility; Markov matrix; longitudinal data
    JEL: C35 I32 J60
    Date: 2007–01
  3. By: Rafael Di Tella (Harvard Business School); Sebastian Galiani (Washington University in St. Louis -- Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Ernesto Schargrodsky (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)
    Abstract: The study of how crime affects different income groups faces several difficulties. The first is that crime-avoiding activities vary across income groups. Thus, a lower victimization rate in one group may not reflect a lower burden of crime, but rather a higher investment in avoiding crime. A second difficulty is that, typically, only a small fraction of the population is victimized so that empirical tests often lack the statistical power to detect differences across groups. We take advantage of a dramatic increase in crime rates in Argentina during the late 1990s to document several interesting patterns. First, the increase in victimization experienced by the poor is larger than the increase endured by the rich. The difference appears large: low-income people have experienced increases in victimization rates that are almost 50 percent higher than those suffered by high-income people. Second, for home robberies, where the rich can protect themselves (by hiring private security, for example), we find significantly larger increases in victimization rates amongst the poor. In contrast, for robberies on the street, where the rich can only mimic the poor, we find similar increases in victimization for both income groups. Third, we document direct evidence on pecuniary and non-pecuniary protection activities by both the rich and poor, ranging from the avoidance of dark places to the hiring of private security. Fourth, we show the correlations between changes in protection and mimicking and changes in crime victimization. Fifth, we offer one possible way of using these estimates to explain the incidence of crime across income groups.
    Keywords: Victimization, income distribution, private security, victim adaptation.
    JEL: K42
    Date: 2006–12
  4. By: Georgina Pizzolitto (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Abstract: El presente trabajo analiza el gasto en alimentos que realizan los hogares en Argentina mediante la estimación de curvas de Engel, teniendo en cuenta tanto características demográficas de los hogares como la presencia de heterogeneidad en sus preferencias de consumo. La estimación de distintas formas funcionales para la curva de Engel, realizadas mediante técnicas econométricas paramétricas y semi-paramétricas, sugiere que tanto las especificaciones no lineales, como las formas flexibles de Fourier presentan un mejor ajuste de los datos. Mediante regresiones por cuantiles, se comprueba la existencia de heterogeneidad no observable en el consumo de alimentos a la vez que se confirma la importancia de características demográficas del hogar en el nivel y los patrones de consumo que éstos realizan. This paper examines food consumption in Argentinean households through the estimation of food Engel curves. It also considers households demographic characteristics and heterogeneity in consumption preferences. The estimation of different functional forms for the Engel curves, using parametric and semiparametric techniques, suggests that both, non linear and Fourier flexible functional form are the best approximations to work with and adequate represent the data. Quantile regression confirms that the relation between the share of budget spend on food and the logarithm of household expenditure per head differs at different points in the conditional distribution. Household demographic characteristics are also important in determining the share of the household budget devoted to food and the consumption patterns.
    Keywords: Consumo Alimentos, Curva de Engel, Regresión por Cuantiles, Argentina.
    JEL: D12 C14
    Date: 2007–01
  5. By: Leonardo Gasparini (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Leopoldo Tornarolli (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Date: 2007–02

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