New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2009‒02‒28
six papers chosen by

  1. Part-Time Work, Gender and Job Satisfaction: Evidence from a Developing Country By López Bóo, Florencia; Madrigal, Lucia; Pagés, Carmen
  2. Fertility Changes in Latin America in the Context of Economic Uncertainty By Adsera, Alicia; Menendez, Alicia
  3. Diferencias regionales en la distribución del ingreso en Colombia By Leonardo Bonilla Mejía
  4. Keeping the best for last. Impact of fertility on mother's employment. Evidence from developing countries By Julio Cáceres-Delpiano
  5. La revolución silenciosa de las instituciones y la estabilidad macroeconómica By Eduardo Lora
  6. The Experimental Approach to Development Economics By Banerjee, Abhijit; Duflo, Esther

  1. By: López Bóo, Florencia (Inter-American Development Bank); Madrigal, Lucia (Inter-American Development Bank); Pagés, Carmen (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between part-time work and job satisfaction using a recent household survey from Honduras. In contrast to previous work for developed countries, this paper does not find a preference for part-time work among women. Instead, both women and men tend to prefer full- time work, although the preference for working longer hours is stronger for men. Consistent with an interpretation of working part-time as luxury consumption, the paper finds that partnered women with children, poor women or women working in the informal sector are more likely to prefer full-time work than single women, partnered women without children, non-poor women or women working in the formal sector. These results have important implications for the design of family and child care policies in low-income countries.
    Keywords: job satisfaction, gender, part-time work, job flexibility
    JEL: C13 J16 J28
    Date: 2009–02
  2. By: Adsera, Alicia (Princeton University); Menendez, Alicia (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: We explore the relation between fertility and the business cycle in Latin American countries taking advantage of the existing cross-country and within-country differences in both fertility and macroeconomic conditions. First, we use a panel of 18 nations for over 45 years to study how different labor market and economic shocks may have affected fertility. Second, we estimate Cox proportional hazard models of transitions to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd births with individual Demographic and Health Survey data from ten countries. We find that periods of relative high unemployment are associated with lower fertility and with relative postponements of maternity (and to some extent second and third births). In general, women seem to postpone and even reduce childbearing in response to downturns. This behavior is mainly associated to increasing unemployment rather than slowdowns in GPD growth, although we find a positive relationship between first births and growth. Despite that periods of unemployment may be good to have children because opportunity costs are lower, maternity is reduced or postponed, in particular, among the most recent cohort and among urban and more educated women. This is consistent with the idea that, in this context, income effects are dominant.
    Keywords: Latin America, unemployment, fertility, growth
    JEL: J13 J16
    Date: 2009–02
  3. By: Leonardo Bonilla Mejía
    Abstract: En este trabajo se realiza una primera aproximación a las características regionales de la distribución del ingreso y el gasto de los hogares y de los ocupados. Se plantean tres objetivos. El primero de ellos es medir cuán importantes son las diferencias interregionales en la desigualdad total de los hogares y los ocupados, además de evaluar cual es el aporte de cada región a las diferencias intraregionales. El segundo objetivo consiste en verificar si la desigualdad de hogares y ocupados tiene algún patrón espacial. El último objetivo es evaluar si la desigualdad de las regiones tiene alguna relación con su nivel de ingreso. Lo que se encuentra es que existen diferencias significativas entre regiones en cuanto a distribución del ingreso y que los departamentos y las ciudades más equitativas son los de ingreso medio, mientras que los ricos forman casi siempre parte del grupo de los más desiguales.
    Date: 2008–12–29
  4. By: Julio Cáceres-Delpiano
    Abstract: By using the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data for 42 developing countries this paper studies the impact of fertility on mothers’ employment. In order to solve the problem of omitted variable bias multiple births are used as source of variation in family size. Similarly to previous evidence for developed countries, the findings reveal that family size has a negative impact on female employment. Nevertheless, two types of heterogeneity are exposed. First, the size and sign of the impact depends on the birth at which we study the increase in family size; specifically, a negative impact of fertility is observed at the time of the first birth or in a third and higher births; nevertheless, for some samples (and definitions of mother’s employment) a shift in a second birth might have a positive impact on employment. Second, the types of jobs affected by a change of fertility differ depending on at which margin the shift in fertility takes place. Thus, while for a first birth, more informal jobs, such as unpaid jobs, or jobs that are harder to combine with childbearing (working away from home or seasonal jobs) are the ones impacted by an increase in family size; at higher parities, all type of jobs are affected by the shift in fertility.
    Keywords: Fertility, Female labor force participation, Developing countries
    JEL: J13 J22 J24
    Date: 2008–11
  5. By: Eduardo Lora
    Abstract: La estabilización de las economías y una transformación profunda pero silenciosa de las instituciones ocurrieron en forma paralela en América Latina en las últimas décadas. Este artículo analiza los canales de influencia de los cambios de las instituciones fiscales y de los sistemas políticos en los resultados fiscales, en la inflación y en la probabilidad de ocurrencia y costos de las crisis bancarias. Aunque la fragmentación del poder político tendió a debilitar la disciplina fiscal, las reformas de las instituciones fiscales corrigieron esa tendencia. La mayor competencia política y las restricciones al poder del Ejecutivo hicieron posible el éxito de los bancos centrales independientes, mitigaron algunos canales de riesgo de crisis bancarias y redujeron los costos de largo plazo de dichas crisis. Por consiguiente, los sistemas políticos merecen buena parte del mérito de la estabilización.
    Keywords: instituciones fiscales, instituciones monetarias, crisis bancarias, sistemas políticos, fragmentación política
    JEL: E58 E62 G28
    Date: 2008–11
  6. By: Banerjee, Abhijit; Duflo, Esther
    Abstract: Randomized experiments have become a popular tool in development economics research, and have been the subject of a number of criticisms. This paper reviews the recent literature, and discusses the strengths and limitations of this approach in theory and in practice. We argue that the main virtue of randomized experiments is that, due to the close collaboration between researchers and implementers, they allow the estimation of parameters that it would not otherwise be possible to evaluate. We discuss the concerns that have been raised regarding experiments, and generally conclude that while they are real, they are often not specific to experiments. We conclude by discussing the relationship between theory and experiments.
    Keywords: development economics; randomized experiment
    JEL: O16
    Date: 2008–11

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