nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2010‒10‒09
ten papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Political Factors and Health Outcomes: Insight from Argentina's Provinces By James W. McGuire
  2. Export Taxes, World Prices, and Poverty in Argentina: a Dynamic CGE-Microsimulation Analysis By Martin Cicowiez; Javier Alejo; Luciano Di Gresia; Sergio Olivieri; Ana Pacheco
  3. Salud y felicidad en Uruguay By Mariana Gerstenblüth; Todd Jewell; Máximo Rossi
  4. An experimental test of prejudice about foreign people By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Olusegun A. Oyediran; M.Fernanda Rivas
  5. Satisfacción con la vida, fe religiosa y asistencia al templo en Uruguay By Zuleika Ferre; Mariana Gerstenblüth; Máximo Rossi
  6. Choques externos y políticas de protección social en América Latina By Martín Cicowiez; Marco V. Sánchez
  7. Property Rights for the Poor: Effects of Land Titling By Sebastian Galiani; Ernesto Schargrodsky
  8. A Cross-Country Analysis of the Risk Factors for Depression at the Micro and Macro Level By Natalia Melgar; Maximo Rossi
  9. Gender Earnings Gaps in the Caribbean: Evidence from Barbados and Jamaica By Annelle Bellony; Alejandro Hoyos; Hugo Nopo
  10. Who crops coca and why? The case of Colombian farmers By Marcela Ibáñez

  1. By: James W. McGuire (Department of Government at Wesleyan University)
    Abstract: This paper explores whether political factors were associated with health outcomes across Argentina's 23 provinces and Federal Capital from 1983 to 2005, controlling for national trends, per capita economic output, and other provincial specificities. The introduction of a gender quota for the lower house of the provincial legislature is found to have a statistically significant and substantively strong association with lower infant mortality. Most other political factors are found to be unassociated with the health share of provincial spending, attendance at birth by trained personnel, or infant survival. This lack of association stands in contrast to the findings of the cross-national literature, in which political factors are often found to be associated with health care spending, health service utilization, and health status. Differences in level of analysis (national vs. subnational) and in statistical technique help to explain these contrasting findings. Still, the analysis suggests that relations between political factors and health outcomes may be weaker than is sometimes suggested. As Amartya Sen has noted, democratic freedoms (and other political factors) create opportunities to improve other dimensions of human development. Whether these opportunities are seized depends on the actions of citizens and governments.
    Keywords: human development, democracy, mortality, health care, gender, subnational, Argentina.
    JEL: O15 N46 I12 I18 J16 H51 O54
    Date: 2010–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2010-25&r=lam
  2. By: Martin Cicowiez; Javier Alejo; Luciano Di Gresia; Sergio Olivieri; Ana Pacheco
    Abstract: In this paper we implement a sequential dynamic computable general equilibrium model combined with microsimulations to assess (1) the short- and long-run economic impacts of a gradual reduction in the export tax that was introduced during the economic crisis that hit Argentina at the end of 2001, and (2) the impact of a decrease in the world prices of food products, one of the country’s main export product. Our results show that the elimination of the export tax would have different long run effects depending on the fiscal instrument that is used by the government to compensate for the loss in tax revenue. On the one hand, when the government budget is equilibrated by an increased deficit, the average annual growth rate for 2008-2015 is lower than in the baseline scenario. On the other hand, when the government budget is equilibrated by an increased direct tax rate, there is a long-run positive effect on growth. In any case, the employment level is lower and the price of food items is higher. Therefore, the poverty headcount ratio increases. As expected, a reduction in the world price of food items (i.e., a worsening in Argentina’s terms of trade) would impact negatively on the country’s GDP growth rate and poverty, particularly in the rural areas.
    Keywords: Poverty, export taxes, food prices, Argentina, computable general equilibrium microsimulations
    JEL: D58 F13 I30 O54
    Date: 2010
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:lvl:mpiacr:2010-13&r=lam
  3. By: Mariana Gerstenblüth (Department of Economics (dECON), Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay); Todd Jewell (Department of Economics, University of North Texas); Máximo Rossi (Department of Economics (dECON), Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay)
    Abstract: In this paper we study the relationship between individual happiness and self reported health status, using the Religion, Health and Young Emancipation ISSP survey for Uruguay in 2008. Probit estimates suggests that health status has the highest correlation with happiness. In order to control for the observed heterogeneity of this variable, we estimate using matching methods. Results show that reporting a good health rises the probability of being happy between 18 an 29 percentage points. Previous literature support this findings.
    Keywords: happiness, health, matching methods
    Date: 2010–09–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:gra:wpaper:10/06&r=lam
  4. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); Olusegun A. Oyediran (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); M.Fernanda Rivas (University of Granada.)
    Abstract: This paper o¤ers two related issues: (i ) an applications of beliefs about the cooperative behavior of others to policy-oriented issues, (ii ) a method of explor- ing prejudices (toward others) where interviewees are oblivious of its purpose. We studied contributions and guesses about others?contributions through an experimental game. Prejudice is examined as an implicitly held belief by a Spanish college student towards any of the speci?ed foreign population groups (i.e. the Asians, the Africans, the Latin Americans and the Westerners). The results show that: at the individual level, there exists some subjects that harbor strong positive (and negative) prejudices toward the foreigners. The prejudice models ?tted also show that: own contributions, femaleness, individual wealth; and beliefs about income status, cultural status, religious intensity, societal co- operation and political orientation have strong in?uences on racial prejudice.
    Keywords: Beliefs, Prejudice, Public Goods Game
    Date: 2010–08–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:gra:wpaper:10/04&r=lam
  5. By: Zuleika Ferre (Departamento de Economía. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales. Universidad de la República. Montevideo,Uruguay); Mariana Gerstenblüth (Departamento de Economía. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales. Universidad de la República. Montevideo,Uruguay); Máximo Rossi (Departamento de Economía. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales. Universidad de la República. Montevideo,Uruguay)
    Abstract: En el presente trabajo, con datos de la encuesta nacional de opinión pública Religión, Salud y Emancipación Juvenil del año 2008 (dECON-FCS, Uruguay, ISSP), se estima a través de modelos probit la probabilidad de que un individuo sea feliz haciendo especial hincapié en su relación con la religión a la que pertenece y la frecuencia con la que asiste al templo. Entre los principales hallazgos se encuentra que aquellas personas que declaran profesar la fe protestante son menos felices que el resto. Los que más asisten a servicios religiosos tienen una mayor probabilidad de estar satisfechos con la vida que quienes no lo hacen.
    Keywords: felicidad, religión, Uruguay
    JEL: D01 D60 Z12
    Date: 2010–09–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:gra:paoner:10/01&r=lam
  6. By: Martín Cicowiez (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - FCE - UNLP); Marco V. Sánchez (Departamento de Asuntos Económicos y Sociales de las Naciones Unidas)
    Abstract: Las crisis recientes han demostrado que América Latina sigue siendo altamente vulnerable a los choques externos. A pesar de la recuperación económica que desde fines del año 2009, la vulnerabilidad externa prevalece debido a la alta volatilidad de los mercados mundiales. Las opciones de un crecimiento sostenible y de reducción de la pobreza dependerán en alto grado de las capacidades de los países para mitigar esa volatilidad y su impacto sobre el bienestar de la población. Diversas simulaciones generadas para siete países de la región mediante el modelo de equilibrio general computable denominado MACEPES, demuestran que choques externos típicos de un contexto de crisis mundial (deterioro en los términos de intercambio, salida de capitales y reducción de las remesas) contraen la demanda agregada y el empleo, generando “desprotección” social y más pobreza en ausencia de políticas anti-cíclicas. Ante la eventualidad de choques externos, las transferencias directas a los hogares son altamente efectivas en términos de reducir la pobreza, incluso una vez considerado el impacto contractivo de su financiamiento sobre la inversión. Este instrumento podría implementarse en el marco de programas de transferencias condicionadas a la educación o de pensiones no contributivas, pero se plantea como reto la movilización de recursos para su financiamiento.
    Date: 2010–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dls:wpaper:0105&r=lam
  7. By: Sebastian Galiani (Department of Economics, Washington University in St Louis); Ernesto Schargrodsky (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)
    Abstract: Secure property rights are considered a key determinant of economic development. The evaluation of the causal effects of property rights, however, is a difficult task as their allocation is typically endogenous. To overcome this identification problem, we exploit a natural experiment in the allocation of land titles. In 1981, squatters occupied a piece of land in a poor suburban area of Buenos Aires. In 1984, a law was passed expropriating the former owners’ land to entitle the occupants. Some original owners accepted the government compensation, while others disputed the compensation payment in the slow Argentine courts. These different decisions by the former owners generated an exogenous allocation of property rights across squatters. Using data from two surveys performed in 2003 and 2007, we find that entitled families substantially increased housing investment, reduced household size, and enhanced the education of their children relative to the control group. These effects, however, did not take place through improvements in access to credit. Our results suggest that land titling can be an important tool for poverty reduction, albeit not through the shortcut of credit access, but through the slow channel of increased physical and human capital investment, which should help to reduce poverty in the future generations.
    Keywords: Property rights, land titling, natural experiment, urban poverty.
    JEL: P14 Q15 O16 J13
    Date: 2010–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dls:wpaper:0103&r=lam
  8. By: Natalia Melgar; Maximo Rossi
    Abstract: Past research has provided evidence of the role of some personal characteristics as risk factors for depression. However, few studies have examined jointly their specific impact and whether country characteristics change the probability of being depressed. In general, this is due to the use of single-country databases. The aim of this paper is to extend previous findings by employing a much larger dataset and including the country effects mentioned above. The paper estimates probit models with country effects and explores linkages between specific environmental factors and depression using data from the 2007 Gallup Public Opinion Poll. Findings indicate that depression is positively related to being a woman, adulthood, divorce, widowhood, unemployment and low income. Moreover, there is evidence of the significant positive association between inequality and depression, especially for those living in urban areas. Finally, some population’s characteristics facilitate depression (age distribution and religious affiliation).
    Keywords: Depression, Health, Well-being, Cross-country research
    JEL: D01 I10 I12 J18 Z13
    Date: 2010–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:idb:wpaper:4684&r=lam
  9. By: Annelle Bellony; Alejandro Hoyos; Hugo Nopo
    Abstract: This paper analyzes gender earnings gaps in Barbados and Jamaica, using a matching comparisons approach. In both countries, as in most of the Caribbean region, females’ educational achievement is higher than that of males. Nonetheless, males’ earnings surpass those of their female peers. Depending on the set of control characteristics, males’ earnings surpass those of females by between 14 and 27 percent of average females’ wages in Barbados, and between 8 and 17 percent of average females’ wages in Jamaica. In the former, the highest earnings gaps are found among low-income workers. Results from both countries confirm a finding that has been recurrent with this matching approach: the complete elimination of gender occupational segregation in labor markets would increase rather than reduce gender earnings gaps. The evidence is mixed regarding segregation by economic sectors. Occupational experience, in the case of Barbados, and job tenure, in the case of Jamaica, help to explain existing gender earnings gaps.
    Keywords: Gender, Ethnicity, Wage gaps, the Caribbean, Barbados, Jamaica, Matching
    JEL: C14 D31 J16 O54
    Date: 2010–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:idb:wpaper:4683&r=lam
  10. By: Marcela Ibáñez (Georg-August-University Göttingen)
    Abstract: Approximately 1.2% of Colombia’s GNP is spent every year on the war on drugs, but very little is known about coca farming decisions at the household level. In order to understand the decision to cultivate coca as well as that of the amount of land to use for its cultivation, we develop an extended version of the portfolio model of crime that considers the effects of behavioral norms and lack of options in the legal economy. The model is tested using data from an original survey with coca and non-coca farmers living in Putumayo, Colombia. We find that farmers react to economic incentives and hence eradication and substitution programs reduce coca cultivation. More interestingly, we find that coca cultivation decisions are explained by moral considerations as well as by the impossibility of making a living from legal forms of agriculture.
    Keywords: Coca; Colombia; Portfolio Model of Crime; Norms of Behavior
    JEL: D81 G11 K42 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2010–08–13
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:got:gotcrc:040&r=lam

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