New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2008‒11‒18
seven papers chosen by

  1. National Policies -Date Attract FDI in R&D: An Assessment of Brazil and Selected Countries By Zanatta, Mariana; Strachman, Eduardo; Carvalho, Flavia; Varrichio, Pollyana C.; Camillo, Edilaine; Barra, Mariana
  2. The Liberalization of Capital Outflows in CIBS: What Opportunities for Other Developing Countries? By Gottschalk, Ricardo; Azevedo Sodre, Cecilia
  3. Thought for Food: The Challenges of Coping with Soaring Food Prices By Nora Lustig
  4. Quality of Life in Urban Neighborhoods in Colombia:The Cases of Bogotá and Medellín By Carlos Medina; Leonardo Morales; Jairo Nuñez
  5. The Demographic Transition in Colombia: Theory and Evidence By Daniel Mejía; María Teresa Ramírez; Jorge Tamayo
  6. A Distribution in Motion: The Case of Argentina By Guillermo Cruces; Leonardo Gasparini
  7. Reality versus Propaganda in the Formation of Beliefs about Privatization By Rafael Di Tella; Sebastian Galiani; Ernesto Schargrodsky

  1. By: Zanatta, Mariana; Strachman, Eduardo; Carvalho, Flavia; Varrichio, Pollyana C.; Camillo, Edilaine; Barra, Mariana
    Abstract: This paper is part of a project based on a broad data collection of policies in selected countries, with a special focus on the attraction of foreign R&D investments. The purpose of the research is -Date contribute -Date effective policy-making, capable of fostering multinational corporations? (MNCs) investments in Brazil. In this context, the paper aims at identifying and examining the main policies -Date attract MNC technological activities in China, India, Ireland, Israel, Singapore, and Taiwan, in order -Date illustrate successful experiences and, based on them, -Date analyse the Brazilian case. The experiences and, based on them, -Date analyse the Brazilian case. The international experiences are analysed bearing in mind that foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction policies are part of industrial and development policies, and should not be assessed or used in isolation. ...
    Keywords: industrial policy, technology, foreign direct investment, MNC R&D activites
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Gottschalk, Ricardo; Azevedo Sodre, Cecilia
    Abstract: This paper examines the implications of the liberalization of capital outflows in China, India, Brazil, and South Africa (CIBS) for other developing countries. It focuses on their prospects of attracting not only foreign direct investment (FDI), but also portfolio capital flows Date CIBS. To inform the discussion, two steps are taken: first, in order -Date identify the type of capital flows that might come Date CIBS, the paper briefly describes capital account liberalization measures undertaken by CIBS -Date date and future intended liberalization. Second, it maps geographic distribution of outward FDI and foreign portfolio investment in the recent past, which are taken as possible predic-Daters of future flows. The paper shows that portfolio investment goes mainly -Date OECD countries and offshore financial centres, and only a small share -Date developing countries. But, within developing countries, CIBS? neighbouring countries have shown a greater ability -Date attract this type of investment, compared with other developing countries.
    Keywords: capital account liberalization, FDI, portfolio capital flows, south?south capital flows, developing countries
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Nora Lustig
    Abstract: World food commodities prices increased 130 percent from January 2002 to July 2008. Individual agricultural commodities show even more pronounced increases: corn, wheat, rice and soybeans rose by 190, 162, 318 and 246 percent, respectively. Since July, food commodities prices began to fall. While this decline comes as a relief, prices are likely to stay high in the foreseeable future. Available evidence suggests that the decline in living standards of net consumers caused by higher food prices outweighs the benefits accruing to poor net sellers in the majority of countries that have been analyzed so far. The time to implement measures to help the poor net consumers cope with higher food prices is now. However, too many developing countries lack the instruments, administrative capacity and fiscal space to implement safety nets fast enough and in the required scale. This is one of the most pressing policy challenges that we face. For the poor who are net sellers, governments should seize the opportunity to convert the short-run windfall into longer-term gains. Multilateral financial institutions can play a key role in providing financial resources to countries facing negative terms of trade shocks, technical assistance in the design of safety nets and resources to add fiscal space to countries to fund safety net programs. International organizations can also help countries design the appropriate macroeconomic policy response. This will call for greater flexibility in the menu of policy options traditionally deployed by the Bretton Woods institutions.
    Keywords: Food Prices, Poverty, Inflation, Multilateral Financial Institutions
    Date: 2008–11
  4. By: Carlos Medina; Leonardo Morales; Jairo Nuñez
    Abstract: We use data from Bogotá and Medellín to describe key quality of life indicators of each city and illustrate their spatial segregation at the census sector level and present evidence that the main two Colombian cities are highly spatially segregated according to their education levels and access to education, coverage of public services, households headed by women and key demographic variables like their levels of adolescent pregnancy. Not surprisingly, our estimated quality of life indexes resemble the mentioned segregation patterns in each city. We present evidence that the spatial agglomeration is statistically significant for each of the variables enumerated. We estimate hedonic models of house values and life satisfaction for Bogotá and Medellín and find that the importance of the average level of education at the census sector level to determine house prices is striking. We also compare hedonic models for Bogotá and Medellín. Bogotá is better endowed than Medellín in the variables included in the analysis, in particular, it has higher education levels, and additionally, education is more equally distributed within census sectors. Bogotá has also better access to gas, and has in general houses with better conditions. The models based on house values and life satisfaction approaches used in this article lead to similar conclusions in the aggregate when comparing their implied quality of life indexes. Although each approach allows us to rank the specific determinants of quality of life, and these determinant depend on the approach, their implied aggregated indexes suggest that they are just different faces of the same story. From a policy perspective, the evidence suggests that redesigning the current socioeconomic stratification system in a way that still allows reaching the poorest while preventing segregation to deepen, might be among the most important challenge to face in order to improve quality of life in main Colombian cities.
    Date: 2008–11–06
  5. By: Daniel Mejía; María Teresa Ramírez; Jorge Tamayo
    Abstract: The demographic transition from high to low mortality and fertility rates was one of the most important structural changes during the twentieth Century in most Latin American economies. This paper uses a simple economic framework based on Galor and Weil (2000) for understanding the main forces behind this structural transition; namely, increases in the returns to human capital accumulation driven by continuous advances in productivity led families to reduce the number of offspring and increase the level of investment in their education. As a result, the economy transits from a stage of stagnation subject to Malthusian forces to a stage of sustained economic growth, where increases in productivity lead to improvements in living standards. We use available data for Colombia between 1905 and 2005 to test the main predictions of the model with time series analysis, finding empirical evidence in their favor.
    Date: 2008–11–11
  6. By: Guillermo Cruces (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Leonardo Gasparini (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Abstract: This paper documents the changes in the income distribution in Argentina from the mid-1970s to the mid-2000s. Over the period inequality increased substantially. Two types of episodes have shaped this upward trend: deep macroeconomic crises and periods of sudden and intense economic liberalization. The sizeable rise in inequality in the 1990s seems to be associated to reallocations against unskilled-labor intensive sectors, and skilled-biased technological change within most sectors, both factors stimulated by the process of economic integration. The depth and speed of the reforms and the scarcity of public policies to ease the transition contributed to the particular severity of the income distribution changes. The macro crises and the subsequent recoveries contributed to the volatility of inequality along this upward trend. The large macroeconomic crisis of 2001/02 triggered a large jump in inequality, although income disparities returned to pre-crisis levels as the economy recovered fast, and large cash transfer programs were implemented.
    Keywords: inequality, distribution, integration, wages, Argentina
    JEL: C15 D31 I21 J23 J31
    Date: 2008–11
  7. By: Rafael Di Tella; Sebastian Galiani; Ernesto Schargrodsky
    Abstract: Argentina privatized most public utilities during the 1990's but re-nationalized the main water company in 2006. We study beliefs about the benefits of the privatization of water services amongst low and middle income groups immediately after the 2006 nationalization. Negative opinions about the privatization prevail. These are particularly strong amongst households that did not benefit from the privatization and amongst households that were reminded of the government's negative views about the privatization. A person's beliefs of the benefits of the water privatization were almost 30% more negative (relative to other privatizations) if his/her household did not gain access to water after the privatization. Similarly, a person's view of the water privatization (relative to other privatizations) was 16% more negative if he/she was read a vignette with some of the negative statements about the water privatization that Argentina's President expressed during the nationalization process. Interestingly, the effect of the vignette on households that gained water is insignificant, while it is largest (and significant) amongst households that did not gain water during the privatization. This suggests that propaganda was persuasive when it had a basis on reality.
    JEL: P16
    Date: 2008–11

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