New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2011‒03‒19
five papers chosen by

  1. Trade and investment in Latin America and Asia: Lessons from the past and potential perspectives from further integration By Berisha-Krasniqi, Valdete; Bouet, Antoine; Estrades, Carmen; Laborde, David
  2. The Persistent Colombian Conflict: Subnational Analysis of the Duration of Violence By Juan F. Vargas
  3. Empowering IDP with SMS: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Bogotá By Mariana Blanco; Juan F. Vargas
  4. The Political Value of Land: Democratization and Land Prices in Chile By Baland, Jean-Marie; Robinson, James A
  5. Fragile States and Development Policy By Besley, Timothy J.; Persson, Torsten

  1. By: Berisha-Krasniqi, Valdete; Bouet, Antoine; Estrades, Carmen; Laborde, David
    Keywords: CGE Modeling, FTA, trade liberalization,
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Juan F. Vargas (Universidad del Rosario)
    Abstract: The growing empirical literature on the analysis of civil war has recently included the study of conflict duration at the cross-country level. This paper presents, for the first time, a within-country analysis of the determinants of violence duration. I focus on the experience of the Colombian armed conflict. While the conflict has been active for about five decades, local violence ebbs and flows and areas experiencing continuous conflict coexist with places that have been able to resile and where violence is mostly absent. I examine a wide range of factors potentially associated with violence duration at the municipal level, including scale variables, geographical conditions, economic and social variables, institutions and state presence, inequality, government intervention, and victimization variables. I characterize a few variables robustly correlated with the persistence of localized conflict, both across specifications and using different econometric models of duration analysis.
    Date: 2011–01
  3. By: Mariana Blanco (Universidad del Rosario); Juan F. Vargas (Universidad del Rosario)
    Abstract: We carried out a randomized controlled trial in Bogotá, the recipient of Colombia's highest number of internally displaced people (IDP), to assess whether the use of SMS to communicate eligibility to social benefits fosters the welfare of victimized internal refugees. Only a fraction of IDP are eligible to benefits. We inform eligibility via SMS to a random half of such households, and estimate the Local Average Treatment Effect of the text message on the knowledge of the benefits available to the displaced population. We show that while on average treated households know their rights better than controls, a more disaggregated analysis suggests that there is variation of awareness across benefits. The intervention was overall successful in empowering IDP and the use of SMS should be widened as a social policy instrument. However or results suggest that text messages should be complemented with other communication strategies, yet to be evaluated.
    Date: 2010–10
  4. By: Baland, Jean-Marie; Robinson, James A
    Abstract: Though models of political economy suggest that changes in political institutions, such as democratization, should have large effects on policies and economic outcomes, the empirical literature finds ambiguous results. It is important, however, to ‘unbundle’ democratic reforms into more specific changes, for instance the introduction of secrecy of balloting, and be more specific about the mechanisms linking these to economic outcomes. To this end we develop a simple model of the economic consequences of the absence of a secret ballot. While providing workers with employment, landlords can also impose some degree of political control. When voting is not secret, landlords can dictate who their workers should vote for. As votes are used by the landlords to accumulate political rents, vote control increases the demand for labor and for land. The introduction of secret ballot should lead to a fall in the price of land in those areas where patron-client relationships and vote control were the strongest. We test the predictions of the model by examining in detail the evolution of land prices in Chile around May 31st. 1958, for which we collected original data. A characteristic of rural Chile at this time was the inquilinaje system, by which a worker, the inquilino, entered into a long term, often hereditary, employment relationship with a landlord, and lived on his landlord’s estate. We show that the introduction of the secret ballot in 1958 had implications for land prices which are perfectly consistent with the predictions of our model. Political rents represented 25% of the value of the land in Chile prior to 1958.
    Keywords: elections; land prices; political institutions
    JEL: D72 O54 Q15
    Date: 2011–03
  5. By: Besley, Timothy J.; Persson, Torsten
    Abstract: It is widely recognized that fragile states are key symptoms of under-development in many parts of the world. Such states are incapable of delivering basic services to their citizens and political violence is commonplace. As of yet, mainstream development economics has not dealt in any systematic way with such concerns and the implications for development assistance. This paper puts forward a framework for analyzing fragile states and applies it to a variety of development policies in different types of states.
    Keywords: development; state fragility
    JEL: O10 O19 P45
    Date: 2011–03

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