nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2010‒02‒13
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Depósitos Em Moeda Estrangeira Como Hedge Para Investidores Brasileiros De Longo Prazo: Uma Aplicação Da Teoria Da Escolha Estratégica De Portfólio By Carlos Eduardo Meyer dos Santos; Marcos Antonio C. da Silveira
  2. Real Gross Domestic Income, Relative Prices and Economic Performance Across the OECD By Macdonald, Ryan
  3. Is Informality Bad? Evidence from Brazil, Mexico and South Africa By Bargain, Olivier; Kwenda, Prudence
  4. Falling Kidnapping Rates and the Expansion of Mobile Phones in Colombia By Santiago Montenegro; Álvaro Pedraza
  5. Collective Action forWatershed Management: Field Experiments in Colombia and Kenya By Juan Camilo Cárdenas; Luz Ángela Rodríguez; Nancy Johnson

  1. By: Carlos Eduardo Meyer dos Santos; Marcos Antonio C. da Silveira
    Abstract: O viés doméstico é observado na composição dos portfólios de diferentes classes de ativos financeiros. A literatura oferece argumentos conflitantes quanto à racionalidade deste comportamento no caso de portfólios investidos em títulos de curto prazo, usualmente denominados depósitos em moeda. No contexto de uma economia sujeita à forte volatilidade cambial, o pensamento convencional sugere que investidores conservadores devem concentrar estes depósitos em títulos domésticos. No entanto, estes instrumentos podem ser bastante arriscados para um investidor de longo prazo devido à incerteza quanto à taxa de juros de curto prazo vigente nos períodos futuros. Não menos importante, sob a hipótese da paridade descoberta de juros, pode ser ótimo para este investidor manter depósitos em moeda estrangeira como hedge intertemporal contra uma deterioração das oportunidades domésticas de investimento. Na raiz deste argumento está o fato de que o menor retorno esperado dos títulos domésticos, à medida que estimula a saída de capitais, é acompanhado pela depreciação real da moeda doméstica. Logo, depósitos em moeda estrangeira reduzem a volatilidade da riqueza futura, uma vez que o tamanho da riqueza corrente tende a aumentar quando seu retorno esperado diminui. Este trabalho avalia a eficiência dos depósitos em moeda estrangeira como hedge intertemporal para investidores brasileiros de longo prazo. A principal conclusão é que investidores razoavelmente conservadores devem manter parte significativa destes depósitos em dólares, libras e ienes. The home bias is observed in the composition of portfolios of different classes of financial assets. The literature offers conflicting arguments about the rationality of this behavior in the case of the portfolios invested in short-term securities, commonly known as currency deposits. In the context of an economy subject to strong volatility, the conventional wisdom suggests that conservative investors should concentrate these deposits on domestic bonds. However, these instruments can be very risky for a long-term investor due to uncertainty about the future short-term interest rate. Not least important, under the assumption of uncovered interest parity, it may be optimal for this investor to maintain foreign currency deposits as a hedge against a deterioration of the domestic investment opportunities. On the root of this argument is the fact that the lower expected return on domestic bonds, as it stimulates the outflow of capital, it is accompanied by real depreciation of the domestic currency. Therefore, the foreign currency deposits reduce the volatility of future wealth as the size of current wealth tends to increase when its expected return decreases. This work evaluates the effectiveness of the foreign currency deposits as an intertemporal hedge for Brazilian long-term investors. The main conclusion is that fairly conservative investors should allocate significant part of these deposits in dollars, pounds and ienes.
    Date: 2010–01
  2. By: Macdonald, Ryan
    Abstract: This paper uses Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data to examine changes in labour productivity, real gross domestic product (GDP), real gross domestic income (GDI), economic aggregates and relative economic growth over time. Real GDI combines changes in production (real GDP), with a trading gain derived from relative price changes. The paper considers two sources of trading gains: the terms of trade and the real exchange rate. For OECD countries, the terms of trade is the more important price ratio, making a contribution to real income growth that is, on average, an order of magnitude larger than the real exchange rate. Over long time periods, the most important source of real income growth is changes in production. Over shorter time horizons, however, the trading gain can make noteworthy contributions. Changes in aggregates, like real private consumption or the relative economic performance of nations, are shown to be particularly dependent on the trading gain during the large swings in resource prices that occurred after 2002.
    Keywords: Economic accounts, Gross domestic product, Productivity accounts
    Date: 2010–01–28
  3. By: Bargain, Olivier (University College Dublin); Kwenda, Prudence (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: The informal sector plays an important role in the functioning of labor markets in emerging economies. To characterize better this highly heterogeneous sector, we conduct a distributional analysis of the earnings gap between informal and formal employment in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, distinguishing between dependent and independent workers. For each country, we use rich panel data to estimate fixed effects quantile regressions to control for (time-invariant) unobserved heterogeneity. The dual nature of the informal sector emerges from our results. In the high-tier segment, self-employed workers receive a significant earnings premium that may compensate the benefits obtained in formal jobs. In the lower end of the earnings distribution, both informal wage earners and independent (own account) workers face significant earnings penalties vis-à-vis the formal sector. Yet the dual structure is not balanced in the same way in all three countries. Most of the self-employment carries a premium in Mexico. In contrast, the upper-tier segment is marginal in South Africa, and informal workers, both dependent and independent, form a largely penalized group. More consistent with the competitive view, earnings differentials are small at all levels in Brazil.
    Keywords: quantile regression, earnings differential, informal sector, salary work, self-employed, fixed effects model
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 J31 O17
    Date: 2010–01
  4. By: Santiago Montenegro; Álvaro Pedraza
    Abstract: This paper tries to explain why kidnapping has fallen so dramatically in Colombia during the period 2000-2008. The widely held belief is that the falling kidnapping rates can basically be explained as a consequence of the success of President Alvaro Uribe´s democratic security policy. Without providing conclusive alternative explanations, some academic papers have expressed doubts about Uribe’s security policy being the main cause of this phenomenon. While we consider the democratic security policy as constituting a necessary condition behind Colombia’s falling kidnapping rates, we argue in this paper that a complementary condition underlying this phenomenon has been the significant increase during this period in the speed and quality of communications between potential victims and public security forces. In this sense, the expansion of the mobile phone industry in Colombia implies that there has been a substantial reduction in information asymmetries between kidnappers and targeted citizens. This has led to a higher level of deterrence as well as to higher costs for perpetrating this type of crime. This has resulted in a virtuous circle: improved security allows higher investments in telecommunications around the country, which in turn lead to faster communications between citizens and security forces, which consequently leads to greater security. We introduce a Becker-Ehrlich type supply and demand model for kidnappings. Using regional and departmental data on kidnapping, the police and mobile phones, we show that mobile phone network expansion has expanded the effective coverage of public protection; this, in turn, has led to a spectacular reduction in kidnapping rates.
    Date: 2009–11–09
  5. By: Juan Camilo Cárdenas; Luz Ángela Rodríguez; Nancy Johnson
    Abstract: The dilemma of collective action around water use and management involves solving both the problems of provision and appropriation. Cooperation in the provision can be affected by the rival nature of the appropriation and the asymmetries in the access. We report two field experiments conducted in Colombia and Kenya. The Irrigation Game was used to explore the provision and appropriation decisions under asymmetric or sequential appropriation, complemented with a Voluntary Contribution Mechanism experiment which looks at provision decisions under symmetric appropriation. The overall results were consistent with the patterns of previous studies: the zero contribution hypotheses is rejected whereas the most effective institution to increase cooperation was face-to-face communication, and above external regulations, although we find that communication works much more effectively in Colombia. We also find that the asymmetric appropriation did reduce cooperation, though the magnitude of the social loss and the effectiveness of alternative institutional options varied across sites.
    Date: 2009–11–15

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