New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2008‒10‒07
five papers chosen by

  1. Strategic Registration of Voters: The Chilean Case By Giacomo De Luca
  2. Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality? By Bruno S. Frey; Katja Rost
  3. Poverty among minorities in the United States: Explaining the racial poverty gap for Blacks and Latinos By Carlos Gradin
  4. Mecanismos de Subasta para la Protección Ambiental y de Otros Recursos Comunes By Juan Pablo Montero
  5. Sequencing of Reforms, Financial Globalization, and Macroeconomic Vulnerability By Sebastian Edwards

  1. By: Giacomo De Luca
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate how the employment relationship, if it implies transfer of rents, may allow employers to control the voting behavior of their workers and lead to strategic registration of voters. This is feasible when individual voting behavior is observable, as in open ballot elections. More easily controlled voters are more likely registered providing an even larger impact of vote controlling on election results. Making individual vote truly secret (for instance with the adoption of a secret ballot) significantly reduces this control. Moreover, we show that as long as electoral districts are heterogeneous enough, i.e., contain also free voters, any attempt to control votes on the basis of district aggregate results is bound to fail. We test the predictions of the model by examining in detail the effects of the introduction of thesecret ballot in Chile in 1958.
    Date: 2008–06
  2. By: Bruno S. Frey; Katja Rost
    Abstract: Publication and citation rankings have become major indicators of the scientific worth of universities and countries, and determine to a large extent the career of individual scholars. We argue that such rankings do not effectively measure research quality, which should be the essence of evaluation. For that reason, an alternative ranking is developed as a quality indicator, based on membership on academic editorial boards of professional journals. It turns out that especially the ranking of individual scholars is far from objective. The results differ markedly, depending on whether research quantity or research quality is considered. Even quantity rankings are not objective; two citation rankings, based on different samples, produce entirely different results. It follows that any career decisions based on rankings are dominated by chance and do not reflect research quality. Instead of propagating a ranking based on board membership as the gold standard, we suggest that committees make use of this quality indicator to find members who, in turn, evaluate the research quality of individual scholars.
    Keywords: Rankings; Universities; Scholars; Publications; Citations
    JEL: H43 L15 O38
    Date: 2008–09
  3. By: Carlos Gradin (Universidade de Vigo)
    Abstract: The two largest minorities in the United States, African Americans and people of Hispanic origin, show official poverty rates that are at least twice as high as those among non-Hispanic Whites. These similarly high poverty rates among minorities are, however, the result of different combinations of factors, due to the specific characteristics of these two groups. In this paper, we analyze the role of demographic and labor-related variables in explaining the current differential in poverty rates among racial and ethnic groups in the United States and its recent evolution. Our results show, first, that these differentials were largely explained by differing family characteristics of the ethnic groups. Furthermore, we show that while labor market activity of family members and a preponderance of single mothers played a more significant role in explaining the higher poverty rates of Blacks, a larger number of dependent children is more closely associated with higher poverty among Latinos, who also suffer from a larger educational attainment gap and higher immigration rates. Finally, we show that both racial poverty gaps declined during the 1990s, and, in the case of Latinos, the downward trend has continued through the present decade. This reduction in the differentials was fully explained by characteristics, mainly the labor market performance of family heads, while the unexplained differential (conditional racial poverty gap) proved to be more persistent across time.
    Keywords: poverty, gap, race, decomposition, Oaxaca-Blinder, United States, CPS, labor market, participation, education, family characteristics.
    JEL: D31 D63 J15 J82 O15
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Juan Pablo Montero (Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.)
    Abstract: Una de las dificultades que enfrentan las autoridades regulatorias en el diseño de políticas eficientes para la protección y preservación de recursos comunes (, calidad del aire, calidad del agua, cuerpos de agua, pesquerías) es que gran parte de la información relevante para el diseño está en manos privadas. En efecto, los mejor informados respecto de los costos y beneficios asociados al uso de estos recursos son los agentes que los perciben. Este trabajo presenta un mecanismo regulatorio relativamente simple que induce a los agentes involucrados a revelar información privada en forma fidedigna, logrando así, un diseño regulatorio económicamente eficiente. Se trata de una subasta de precio uniforme y sobre cerrado por licencias de uso del recurso (, permisos de contaminación, derechos de agua, cuotas de pesca) con parte de los ingresos de la subasta devueltos a los agentes participantes. Junto con la discusión teórica-conceptual de las propiedades y funcionamiento del mecanismo de subasta, se presenta una aplicación ilustrativa del mecanismo usando para ello el problema de contaminación de descargas de demanda bioquímica de oxígeno (DBO) en una sección alta del río Bío Bío, ubicado en la zona centro-sur de Chile.
    Keywords: Externalidades, Recursos Comunes, Subasta de Primer Precio, Información Asimétrica
    JEL: D44 D62 D82 Q28
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Sebastian Edwards
    Abstract: I use a large cross country data set and panel probit analysis to investigate the way in which the interaction between trade and financial openness affect the probability of external crises. This analysis is related to debate on the adequate sequencing of reform. I also investigate the role played by current account and fiscal imbalances, contagion, international reserves holdings, and the exchange rate regime as possible determinants of external crises. The results indicate that relaxing capital controls increases the likelihood of a country experiencing a sudden stop. Moreover, the results suggest that “financial liberalization first†strategies increase the degree of vulnerability to external crises. This is particularly the case if this strategy is pursued with pegged exchange rates and if it results in large current account imbalances.
    JEL: F30 F31 F32 F4
    Date: 2008–10

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