nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2011‒05‒14
eight papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Public Procurement and Rent-Seeking: The Case of Paraguay By Auriol, Emmanuelle; Flochel, Thomas; Straub, Stéphane
  2. Empirical evidence on the impact of privatization of fixed-line operators on telecommunications performance - Comparing OECD, Latin American, and African countries By Gasmi, Farid; Maingard, Alexis; Noumba Um, Paul; Recuero Virto, Laura
  3. Do political budget cycles differ in Latin American democracies? By Lorena Barberia; George Avelino
  4. Is income inequality in Latin America falling? By Leonardo Gasparini; Guillero Cruces; Leopoldo Tornarolli
  5. Conflicto Armado, Derechos Humanos y Pobreza: Un análisis de las causas objetivas de la violencia en Colombia By Alexander Cotte Poveda
  6. Rising food prices and household welfare : evidence from Brazil in 2008 By Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Fruttero, Anna; Leite, Phillippe; Lucchetti, Leonardo
  7. Labor market transitions and social security in Colombia By Cuesta, Jose; Bohorquez, Camilo
  8. The Rise and Fall of Income Inequality in Latin America By Leonardo Gasparini; Nora Lustig

  1. By: Auriol, Emmanuelle (TSE); Flochel, Thomas (University of Edinburgh); Straub, Stéphane (TSE)
    Abstract: A model of entrepreneurial choices in an economy with a corrupt public procurement sector is built, providing predictions along two main dimensions. First, corruption is more frequent in sectors where public institutions are large buyers. Second, firms favoured with corrupt contracts enjoy extra returns, so that procurement related activities attract the best entrepreneurs. A large scale microeconomic database, including all public procurement operations over a 4 year period in Paraguay, amounting annually to approximately 6% of the country’s GDP, is then used to corroborate these predictions.
    Keywords: Procurement, Corruption, Rent-seeking, Development
    JEL: H57 D73 D72 O5
    Date: 2011–02–18
  2. By: Gasmi, Farid (Toulouse School of Economics (ARQADE & IDEI), Université Toulouse 1 Capitole); Maingard, Alexis (Télécom ParisTech); Noumba Um, Paul (The World Bank); Recuero Virto, Laura (OECD Development Centre)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to highlight empirically some important worldwide differences in the impact of privatization of the fixed-line telecommunications operator on network expansion, tariffs, and efficiency during the 1985-2007 period for a large panel of countries. Our work suggests that the divergent results in the empirical literature on the performance of the privatization reform can be explained to a large extent by cross-regional heterogeneity. We find that the impact of privatization on outcomes is significantly positive in OECD and African resource scarce coastal countries, weakly positive in Latin American and the Caribbean countries, and strongly negative in African resource rich and African resource scarce landlocked countries. The results presented in this paper thus challenge the idea that there is a unique model of reform for infrastructure sectors that is equally applicable across regions and countries.
    Keywords: Privatization, Telecommunications
    JEL: L51 L96 L98 C23
    Date: 2011–02
  3. By: Lorena Barberia; George Avelino
    Abstract: We test for political budget cycles in a panel of eighteen Latin American democracies from 1973 to 2008. Recent studies have argued that the pattern of deficit cycles in a large cross-section of countries is driven by the experience of ‘‘new democracies.” As a large share of the countries that underwent democratization during this period are in Latin America, we seek to verify if these patterns are robust using an updated data set on fiscal expenditures, democratization and elections. Our results confirm that elections provoke increases in the fiscal deficit for Latin American democracies, but that this pattern is not contingent on a country being in the early phase of its democratic transition. We argue that these findings suggest that greater attention should be directed at the selection criteria utilized to define democracy and competitive elections when testing for political budget cycles.
    Date: 2011–04–30
  4. By: Leonardo Gasparini; Guillero Cruces; Leopoldo Tornarolli
    Abstract: This paper documents patterns and recent developments on income inequality in Latin America (LA). New comparative international evidence confirms that LA is a region of high inequality, although maybe not the highest in the world. Income inequality has fallen in the 2000s, suggesting a turning point from the substantial increases of the 1980s and 1990s. The fall in inequality is significant and widespread, but it does not seem to be based on strong fundamentals.
    Date: 2011–04–30
  5. By: Alexander Cotte Poveda
    Abstract: Este trabajo analiza la influencia del conflicto armado y algunas de las principales variables socio-económicas sobre la violencia en Colombia. Para este propósito el análisis con series de tiempo es utilizado, a partir de la construcción de series de datos tanto económicos como sociales se estiman los coeficientes de largo plazo con el fin de determinar la incidencia de estas variables sobre la violencia en Colombia para el periodo 1950-2006. Los resultados indican que las diferentes interrelaciones socio-económicas, la pobreza y las variables asociadas con el conflicto armado afectan la dinámica de la violencia en Colombia. De otro lado, los hallazgos igualmente confirman que variables relacionadas con la presencia del Estado y el capital humano son factores determinantes que inciden en la dinámica de la violencia en el país.
    Date: 2011–05–04
  6. By: Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Fruttero, Anna; Leite, Phillippe; Lucchetti, Leonardo
    Abstract: Food price inflation in Brazil in the twelve months to June 2008 was 18 percent, while overall inflation was 5.3 percent. This paper uses spatially disaggregated monthly data on consumer prices and two different household surveys to estimate the welfare consequences of these food price increases, and their distribution across households. Because Brazil is a large food producer, with a predominantly wage-earning agricultural labor force, our estimates include general equilibrium effects on market and transfer incomes, as well as the standard estimates of changes in consumer surplus. While the expenditure (or consumer surplus) effects were large, negative and markedly regressive everywhere, the market income effect was positive and progressive, particularly in rural areas. Because of this effect on the rural poor, and of the partial protection afforded by increases in two large social assistance benefits, the overall impact of higher food prices in Brazil was U-shaped, with the middle-income groups suffering larger proportional losses than the very poor. Nevertheless, since Brazil is 80 percent urban, higher food prices still led to a greater incidence and depth of poverty at the national level.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Markets and Market Access,Regional Economic Development,Food&Beverage Industry
    Date: 2011–05–01
  7. By: Cuesta, Jose; Bohorquez, Camilo
    Abstract: This paper quantifies the magnitude of transitions across occupational categories in Colombia, a country with high unemployment and informality but quickly increasing its social security coverage for health. The analysis makes use of a panel of households between 2008 and 2009, representative of the main metropolitan areas in the country. Results confirm previous evidence found in Colombia and elsewhere in the region that transitions between occupations are large and asymmetric: they are disproportionally more likely to happen from formal to informal occupations than vice versa. The paper finds for the first time that such transitions are also different for salaried workers compared with the self-employed, as well as by poverty status of the worker. Salaried workers are more likely to transition first into other salaried jobs, while self-employed are more likely to transition into unemployment or out of the labor force. There are marked differences in the profiles of transitioning and non-transitioning workers, both in terms of socioeconomic characteristics and social security coverage. Causal analysis shows that affiliation to social security on health deters occupational transitions, while pension insurance does not. Hence, high-volume transitions may not be crisis-specific phenomena, but rather associated with contributive and non-contributive social security mechanisms that incentivize informality, and workers'preferences for informal jobs. The debate on labor market and social security reforms needs to take these features of transitions into account.
    Keywords: Labor Markets,Labor Policies,Population Policies,Labor Standards,Work&Working Conditions
    Date: 2011–05–01
  8. By: Leonardo Gasparini (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - FCE - UNLP); Nora Lustig (Tulane University and Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue.)
    Abstract: Este artículo documenta el patrón de auge y caída de la desigualdad del ingreso en América Latina en el período 1980-2008 y presenta posibles determinantes de estas tendencias. Después de una revisión general de las tendencias regionales y comparaciones con otras regiones del mundo, el estudio se centra en tres países en los que es posible realizar un análisis más profundo: Argentina, Brasil y México.
    Date: 2011–05

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