New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2008‒08‒14
six papers chosen by

  1. Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness Dynamics in Latin America. By Zoltan J. Acs; Jose Ernesto Amoros
  2. Self-assessed health as a key determinant of lifestyles: An application to tobacco consumption in Argentina By Mariana Conte Grand; Vanesa D´Elia
  3. Estimating the direct costs of social conflicts: road blockings in Bolivia By De Borger B.; Verardi V.
  4. Social Interactions and Fertility in Developing Countries By David E. Bloom; David Canning; Isabel Günther; Sebastian Linnemayr
  5. Un Piso de Protección Social en América Latina: Costos Fiscales e Impactos Sociales By Leonardo Gasparini; Facundo Crosta; Francisco Haimovich; Beatriz Alvarez; Andrés Ham; Raúl Sánchez
  6. Are Informal Workers Secondary Workers?: Evidence for Argentina By María Laura Alzúa

  1. By: Zoltan J. Acs (George Mason University; Max Planck Institute of Economics); Jose Ernesto Amoros (Universidad del Desarrollo)
    Abstract: This study analyses the relationship between entrepreneurial dynamics and the level of competitiveness in Latin American countries. Based on a stage of economic development model we demonstrate that Latin American countries under the model followed different paths related to competitiveness. These different paths can explain the effect of specific competitiveness conditions on entrepreneurial dynamics in Latin America.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Competitivness, Development, Latin America
    JEL: L26 M13 O54
    Date: 2008–08–12
  2. By: Mariana Conte Grand; Vanesa D´Elia
    Abstract: The relationship between lifestyle choices and health has been widely studied in the epidemiological and economic literature. In the last years, empirical research was directed towards the use of recursive systems with structural equations for a health production function and reduced form equations for lifestyles. As a result, behaviors toward health are taken to be determined by exogenous socio-economic variables. In this article, we show that health is a key determinant of health habits. When people feel well, they adopt less healthy behaviors. We use maximum simulated likelihood for a multivariate 5 equation probit model. In that model, lifestyles (diet, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking) are a function of exogenous socioeconomic variables and self-reported health. Self-reported health varies with socio-economic characteristics and depends on health indicators that are the consequence of lifestyles undertaken in the past (i.e., overweight, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels). Data is that of adults in Argentina´s 2005 Risk Factors National Survey. We find that health partial effects on lifestyle are much larger having accounted for health endogeneity. Accounting for unobservable variables that jointly determine all lifestyles does not change much the magnitude of our results. Our findings are robust to different specifications.
    Keywords: lifestyles, health
    JEL: I10 I12
    Date: 2008–07
  3. By: De Borger B.; Verardi V.
    Abstract: Social conflicts are a serious obstacle to economic growth in many Latin American societies, affecting economic activity both in the short- and the long-run. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, we develop a methodology to estimate the direct, short-run impact of frequently occurring exponents of local conflicts (such as road blockings) on economic activity. The methodology is based on using high frequency (daily) data to estimate the relation between a proxy for economic activity and a proxy for local social conflicts. Careful analysis of impulse-response functions traces the effect of local social conflicts on economic activity. This information is combined with the aggregate annual time series relation between GDP and the high frequency proxy for economic activity to estimate the direct cost of local social conflicts for the economy as a whole. Second, we apply the proposed methodology to analyze the direct economic costs of road blockings in Bolivia, using detailed daily information for the year 2003. The results show that the direct costs of road blocking are large. Stronger institutions are a critical factor in reducing the prevalence of such conflicts and to avoid the huge economic costs that they imply.
    Date: 2008–06
  4. By: David E. Bloom (Harvard School of Public Health); David Canning (Harvard School of Public Health); Isabel Günther (Harvard School of Public Health); Sebastian Linnemayr (Harvard School of Public Health)
    Abstract: There is strong evidence that, in addition to individual and household characteristics, social interactions are important in determining fertility rates. Social interactions can lead to a multiplier effect where an individual’s ideas, and fertility choice, can affect the fertility decisions of others. We merge all available Demographic and Health Surveys to investigate the factors that influence both individual and average group fertility. We find that in the early phase of the fertility transition the impact of a woman’s education and experience of child death on her group’s average fertility are more than three times as large as their direct effect on her own fertility decision.
    Keywords: demography, growth, age structure, population, economy.
    Date: 2008–06
  5. By: Leonardo Gasparini (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Facundo Crosta (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Francisco Haimovich (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Beatriz Alvarez (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Andrés Ham (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Raúl Sánchez (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Date: 2008–07
  6. By: María Laura Alzúa (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Abstract: Empirical studies attempting at testing dualism in developing countries often rely on an ex-ante definition of the primary and the secondary sector. Many times this methodology causes biases in the estimation due to sample selection problems. Also, such definitions may be arbitrary sometimes. We use twenty seven years of Household Data in order to test for the existence dual labor markets in Argentina. We estimated an endogenous switching model with unknown regime without defining ex-ante sector attachment. We find evidence of dualism for both periods analyzed. However, the diferences between the two sectors have signi¯cantly changed over time. Finally, our estimations also corroborate the fact that using the usual ex-ante definition of sector attachment may not be adequate for testing dualism.
    Date: 2008–08

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