New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2008‒06‒07
seven papers chosen by

  1. Teorías y algunas experiencias internacionales en el financiamiento de la Educación Superior: lecciones para Colombia By David Bardey; Nohora Forero Ramírez
  2. Diferencias en los índices de Masa Corporal en Colombia en 2005: Una aplicación de los indicadores de desigualdad By Luis Fernando Gamboa; Nohora Forero Ramírez
  3. How change agents and social capital influence the adoption of innovations among small farmers: Evidence from social networks in rural Bolivia By Monge, Mario; Hartwich, Frank; Halgin, Daniel
  4. Long Run Determinants of Real Exchange Rates in Latin America By Jorge Carrera; Romain Restout
  5. When Does Policy Reform Work? The Case of Central Bank Independence By Daron Acemoglu; Simon Johnson; Pablo Querubin; James A. Robinson
  6. Globalization, Growth and Crises: The View from Latin America By Sebastian Edwards
  7. Targeted Cash Transfer Programmes in Brazil: BPC and the Bolsa Familia By Marcelo Medeiros; Tatiana Britto; Fabio Veras Soares

  1. By: David Bardey; Nohora Forero Ramírez
    Abstract: Se analizan diferentes alternativas para la financiación de la educación superior, teniendo en cuenta que la presencia de fallas de mercado -tanto por el lado de la demanda como por el de la oferta- hace de éste un sector muy particular. Las primeras se relacionan con las decisiones privadas en términos de educación de la población estudiantil, y las segundas con las asimetrías de información que caracterizan el lado de la oferta en el financiamiento de la educación. El documento hace una revisión de literatura académica y de algunas experiencias internacionales sobre las diferentes fuentes de financiación en este sector, así como sus potenciales efectos sobre ciertas variables. Así, esta revisión arroja luces sobre las alternativas para el caso Colombiano. ******************************************************************************************************** This document analyzes different options in higher education funding, through the study of the market failures –by the demand and the supply side– that make this sector a particular one. We study some financing sources such as public funding, upfront charges, bank loans, income contingent loans, graduate taxes, among others. Besides, we review some international experiences in higher education funding that could shed some light on the Colombian case, taking into account the potential effects of different financing sources on efficiency, equity and variables such as consumption.
    Date: 2008–05–29
  2. By: Luis Fernando Gamboa; Nohora Forero Ramírez
    Abstract: El trabajo estudia las diferencias en el Índice de Masa Corporal (IMC) por grupos etarios entre los 20 y 60 años teniendo como punto de referencia escalas normativas y relativas mediante el uso de algunos indicadores de pobreza y distribución del ingreso. Se encuentra que la proporción de la población con IMC fuera del rango establecido como normal aumenta con la edad. Cuando el análisis del IMC se hace con base en la distribución de la variable en el grupo de edad respectivo (medida relativa), se encuentra que las diferencias entre los grupos de edad se reducen. Aunque la desigualdad en la distribución del índice no se incrementa significativamente con la edad, los aumentos generados deben atenderse para evitar problemas de salud pública entre la población. ********************************************************************************************************* We employ the measures traditionally used to analyze poverty, for studying the differences in the Body Mass Index (BMI) scores, according to the age and other socioeconomic variables, for people between 20 and 60. We use information from Demographic and Health Survey (DHS, 2005). We find that the participation of population with a BMI out of the normal range enhances with age. Nevertheless, if the measure of reference is not the normal range but a relative measure (which takes into account the distribution of the BMI in the respective group of age), differences among groups are less. Although inequality in the distribution of BMI does not enhance with age, the increases produced should be attended to avoid problems of public health in Colombia.
    Date: 2008–05–30
  3. By: Monge, Mario; Hartwich, Frank; Halgin, Daniel
    Abstract: "This paper presents results from a study that identified patterns of social interaction among small farmers in three agricultural subsectors in Bolivia—fish culture, peanut production, and quinoa production—and analyzed how social interaction influences farmers' behavior toward the adoption of pro-poor innovations. Twelve microregions were identified, four in each subsector, setting the terrain for an analysis of parts of social networks that deal with the diffusion of specific sets of innovations. Three hundred sixty farmers involved in theses networks as well as 60 change agents and other actors promoting directly or indirectly the diffusion of innovations were interviewed about the interactions they maintain with other agents in the network and the sociodemographic characteristics that influence their adoption behavior. The information derived from this data collection was used to test a wide range of hypotheses on the impact that the embeddedness of farmers in social networks has on the intensity with which they adopt innovations. Evidence provided by the study suggests that persuasion, social influence, and competition are significant influences in the decisions of farmers in poor rural regions in Bolivia to adopt innovations. The results of this study are meant to attract the attention of policymakers and practitioners who are interested in the design and implementation of projects and programs fostering agricultural innovation and who may want to take into account the effects of social interaction and social capital. Meanwhile, scholars of the diffusion of innovations may find evidence to further embrace the complexity and interdependence of social interactions in their models and approaches." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Social networks, Agricultural innovation, Change agent, Social capital,
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Jorge Carrera (Banco Central de la Republica Argentina, Buenos Aires and Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Romain Restout (GATE, University of Lyon, CNRS, ENS-LSH, Centre Léon Bérard, France)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long run behavior of real exchange rates in nineteen countries of Latin America over the period 1970 - 2006. Our data does not support the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) hypothesis, implying that real shocks tend to have permanent effects on Latin America’s real exchange rates. By exploiting the advantage of non stationary panel econometrics, we are able to determinate factors that drive real exchanges rate in the long run : the Balassa-Samuelson effect, government spending, the terms of trade, the openness degree, foreign capital flows and the de facto nominal exchange regime. The latter effect has policy implications since we find that a fixed regime tends to appreciate the real exchange rate. This finding shows the non neutrality of exchange rate regime regarding its effects on real exchange rates. We also run estimations for country subgroups (South America versus Caribbean and Central America). Regional results highlight that several real exchange rates determinants are specific to one geographic zone. Finally, we compute equilibrium real exchange rate estimations. Two main results are derived from the investigation of misalignments, [i ] eight real exchange rates are quite close to their equilibrium level in 2006, and [ii ] our model shows that a part of currencies crises that arose in Latin America was preceded by a real exchange rate overvaluation.
    Keywords: equilibrium real exchange rate, panel cointegration, panel unit roots
    JEL: C23 F31
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Daron Acemoglu; Simon Johnson; Pablo Querubin; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: We argue that the question of whether and when policy reform works should be investigated together with the political economy factors responsible for distortionary policies in the first place. These not only determine the initial distortions, but also often shape policy in the post-reform environment. Distortionary policies are more likely to be adopted when politicians are unconstrained and unaccountable to citizens. This reasoning implies that policy reform should have modest effects in societies where the political system already places constraints on politicians. It also implies, however, that in societies with weak political constraints, which are often those adopting the most distortionary policies, policy reforms may be ineffective because the underlying political economy problems are not typically altered by these reforms. Policy reform should therefore have its largest effect in societies with intermediate levels of constraints. In addition, when policy reform is (partly) effective, it may lead to a deterioration in other (unreformed) components of policy in order to satisfy the underlying demands on politicians – a phenomenon we call the seesaw effect. We provide reduced-form evidence consistent with these ideas by looking at the effect of central bank independence on inflation. The evidence is consistent with the notion that central bank reforms have reduced inflation in societies with intermediate constraints and have had no or little effects in countries with the high and low levels of constraints. We also present some evidence suggesting that, consistent with the seesaw effect, in countries where central bank reforms reduce inflation, government expenditure tends to increase.
    JEL: E31 P16
    Date: 2008–05
  6. By: Sebastian Edwards
    Abstract: In this paper I analyze the role of openness and globalization in Latin America's economic development. The paper is divided into two distinct part: I first (Sections II through IV) provide an analysis of 60 years of the region's economic history, that go form the launching of the Alliance for Progress by the Kennedy Administration in 1961, to the formulation and implementation of the market-oriented reforms of the Washington Consensus in the 1990s and 2000s. I conclude that Latin America's history has been characterized by low growth, high inflation and recurrent external crises. In Section V I deal formally with the costs of crises, and I estimate a number of variance component models of the dynamics of growth. I find that external crises have been more costly in Latin America than in the rest of the world. I also find that the cost of external crises has been inversely related to the degree of openness.
    JEL: F21 F30 F32 N26 O40
    Date: 2008–05
  7. By: Marcelo Medeiros (International Poverty Centre); Tatiana Britto (Visiting researcher, IPC); Fabio Veras Soares (International Poverty Centre)
    Abstract: We describe several characteristics of the two most important targeted cash transfer programs in Brazil, the Continuous Cash Benefit (BPC) and the Bolsa Familia. We discuss their institutional aspects, long term sustainability, beneficiaries and levels of targeting. We also address the need for conditionalities, the effects of the transfers on labor market participation, as well as the relevance of the so called ?exit doors?. Our conclusion is that, on the one hand, the programs are accomplishing the goals they were designed to achieve. They reduce poverty and inequality, under costs which are compatible with the Brazilian budgetary capacity. On the other hand, the programmes have no negative effects on incentives to work and contributions to the pensions system. Consequently, we argue that these programmes should be kept in place and, if possible, expanded in the near future.
    Keywords: Targeted Cash Transfer Programmes in Brazil: BPC and the Bolsa Familia
    Date: 2008–06

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