New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2009‒06‒17
six papers chosen by

  1. Government Transfers and Political Support By Marco Manacorda; Edward Miguel; Andrea Vigorito
  2. La enseñanza de economía en Argentina By Gabriel Rozenwurcel; Gabriel Bezchinsky; Marisol Rodriguez Chantruc
  3. Gender and Racial Wage Gaps in Brazil 1996-2006: Evidence Using a Matching Comparisons Approach By Luana Marquez Garcia; Hugo Nopo; Paola Salardi
  4. Education and Democratic Preferences By Alberto Chong; Mark Gradstein
  5. Crisis Response in Latin America: Is the "Rainy Day" at Hand? By Eduardo Fernandez-Arias; Peter Montiel
  6. Schooling, Cognitive Skills, and the Latin American Growth Puzzle By Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Woessmann

  1. By: Marco Manacorda; Edward Miguel; Andrea Vigorito
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of a large anti-poverty program - the Uruguayan PANES - on political support for thegovernment that implemented it. The program mainly consisted of a monthly cash transfer for a period ofroughly two and half years. Using the discontinuity in program assignment based on a pre-treatment score, wefind that beneficiary households are 21 to 28 percentage points more likely to favor the current government(relative to the previous government). Impacts on political support are larger among poorer households and forthose near the center of the political spectrum, consistent with the probabilistic voting model in politicaleconomy. Effects persist after the cash transfer program ends. We estimate that the annual cost of increasinggovernment political support by 1 percentage point is roughly 0.9% of annual government social expenditures.
    Keywords: Conditional cash transfers, redistributive politics, voting, regression discontinuity
    JEL: I38 D72
    Date: 2009–03
  2. By: Gabriel Rozenwurcel; Gabriel Bezchinsky; Marisol Rodriguez Chantruc
    Abstract: Este documento reseña la enseñanza de economía en Argentina, empezando con los antecedentes relevantes y las principales características del Sistema Universitario Argentino antes de abordarse el tema principal desde sus orígenes hasta la evolución de los últimos años. A continuación se aborda directamente al análisis de la enseñanza en las tres universidades seleccionadas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, y Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, utilizando los resultados de una encuesta de opinión a estudiantes e información recabada mediante entrevistas con informantes clave. Se concluye que, aunque la enseñanza de economía en Argentina se encuentra mayormente en buenas condiciones, sin embargo existen áreas específicas que presentan oportunidades para mejoramiento.
    Keywords: Enseñanza de economía, Universidades, Argentina
    JEL: A22 A23
    Date: 2009–04
  3. By: Luana Marquez Garcia; Hugo Nopo; Paola Salardi
    Abstract: This paper explores the evolution of Brazilian wage gaps by gender and skin color over a decade (1996-2006), using the matching comparison methodology developed by Ñopo (2008). In Brazil, racial wage gaps are more pronounced than those found along the gender divide, although both noticeably decreased over the course of the last decade. The decomposition results show that differences in observable characteristics play a crucial role in explaining wage gaps. While in the case of racial wage gaps, observable human capital characteristics account for most of the observed wage gaps, the observed gender wage gaps have the opposite sign than what the differences in human capital characteristics would predict. In both cases the role of education is prominent.
    Keywords: Gender, race, wage gaps, Brazil, matching
    JEL: C14 D31 J16 O54
    Date: 2009–05
  4. By: Alberto Chong; Mark Gradstein
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal link between education and democracy. Motivated by a model whereby educated individuals are in a better position to assess the effects of public policies and hence favor democracy where their opinions matter, the empirical analysis uses World Values Surveys to study the link between education and democratic attitudes. Controlling for a variety of characteristics, the paper finds that higher education levels tend to result in rodemocracy views. These results hold across countries with different levels of democracy, thus rejecting the hypothesis that indoctrination through education is an effective tool in non-democratic countries.
    Keywords: Education, democracy
    JEL: I20 I30 Y80
    Date: 2009–06
  5. By: Eduardo Fernandez-Arias; Peter Montiel
    Abstract: This paper examines the countercyclical policy options available to Latin American countries in the face of the current global economic crisis, concluding that most of the major countries in the region appear to possess the fiscal space (as measured by credible fiscal sustainability and debt headroom) to run prudent countercyclical fiscal deficits. Those countries should undertake a constrained fiscal expansion focused on productive public spending and financed by “rainy day” funds—large stocks of foreign exchange reserves that they have accumulated during recent years—rather than by market borrowing. The recent surge in multilateral financial activity to alleviate market illiquidity, whether intended for reserve or budget support, strengthens the case for this policy prescription: with multilateral support, the appropriate policy response is more expansionary, and its financing is less reliant on market borrowing.
    Keywords: countercyclical policy, fiscal space, international reserves, multilateral financial support
    JEL: E62 E63 F34
    Date: 2009–06
  6. By: Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Woessmann
    Abstract: Economic development in Latin America has trailed most other world regions over the past four decades despite its relatively high initial development and school attainment levels. This puzzle can be resolved by considering the actual learning as expressed in tests of cognitive skills, on which Latin American countries consistently perform at the bottom. In growth models estimated across world regions, these low levels of cognitive skills can account for the poor growth performance of Latin America. Given the limitations of worldwide tests in discriminating performance at low levels, we also introduce measures from two regional tests designed to measure performance for all Latin American countries with internationally comparable income data. Our growth analysis using these data confirms the significant effects of cognitive skills on intra-regional variations. Splicing the new regional tests into the worldwide tests, we also confirm this effect in extended worldwide regressions, although it appears somewhat smaller in the regional Latin American data than in the worldwide data.
    JEL: H4 I2 O4 N16
    Date: 2009–06

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