New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2011‒07‒21
five papers chosen by

  1. The Colonial Origins of the Divergence in the Americas: A Labour Market Approach By Robert C. Allen; Tommy E. Murphy; Eric B. Schneider
  2. Generation or culture? Work attitude drivers: An analysis in Latin America and Iberian countries By Susaeta, Lourdes; Pin, Jose R.; Gallifa, Angela
  3. Consumption Poverty and Pro-Poor Growth in Bolivia By Marta Moratti
  4. The Distributive Effects of Land Title on Labor Supply: Evidence from Brazil By Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro; Mauricio Moura; Caio Piza
  5. The role of ethanol in the brazilian economy: three decades of progress By Costa, Cinthia Cabral da; Cunha, Marcelo Pereira da; Guilhoto, Joaquim José Martins

  1. By: Robert C. Allen; Tommy E. Murphy; Eric B. Schneider
    Abstract: Part of a long-run project to put together a systematic database of prices and wages for the American continents, this paper takes a first look at standards of living in a series of North American and Latin American cities. From secondary sources we collected price data that –with diverse degrees of quality– covers various years between colonization and independence and, following the methodology now familiar in the literature, we built estimations of price indexes for Boston, Philadelphia, and the Chesapeake Bay region in North America and Bogotá, Mexico, and Potosí in Latin America exploring alternative assumptions on the characteristics of the reference basket. We use these indexes to deflate the (relatively more scarce) figures on wages, and compare the results with each other, and with the now widely known series for various European and Asian cities. We find that real wages were higher in North America than in Latin America from the very early colonial period: four times the World Bank Poverty Line (WBPL) in North America while only two times the WBPL in Latin America. These wages place the North American colonies among the most advanced countries in the world alongside Northwestern European countries and the Latin American colonies among the least developed countries at a similar level to Southern European and Asian countries. These wage differences existed from the early colonial period because wages in the American colonies were determined by wages in the respective metropoles and by the Malthusian population dynamics of indigenous peoples. Settlers would not migrate unless they could maintain their standard of living, so wages in the colonies were set in the metropole. Political institutions, forced labour regimes, economic geography, disease environments and culture shaped the size of the economy of each colony but did not affect income levels.
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Susaeta, Lourdes (IESE Business School); Pin, Jose R. (IESE Business School); Gallifa, Angela (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: This paper concerns the work attitude drivers within the current scenario taking into account two different factors of influence, the culture and the generation of each individual. To belong to a given generation can affects individuals work attitudes as well as to belong to a given culture. The study considers these two factors in order to analyse five dimensions that are sources of work attitudes: vital project, professional ethics, attitude towards authority, leadership and corporate commitment. The paper draws upon a sample comprising Latin American countries and Iberian countries. Through the analysis of almost one thousand people, the results show the great differences in terms of generation and culture specially when focusing on vital project. The most relevant conclusion is that Latin America can not be considered as a whole in terms of individual work attitude. There is a wide diversity referred to this matter within this continent and managers should have this issue into account for improving employee motivation.
    Keywords: Generation; Cross-culture management; Latin-American;
    Date: 2011–05–01
  3. By: Marta Moratti (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: Using seven Bolivian household surveys conducted between 1999 and 2007, this paper provides a different picture of poverty dynamics in Bolivia. Consistent and accurate estimates of consumption are computed and used to create poverty profiles. Challenging the previous income-based poverty trend, it emerges that Bolivia experiences a very large poverty reduction from 2002 onwards, halving poverty headcount during the period of 2002- 2007. Growth incidence curves are also used to investigate the pro-poor component of the large welfare improvement. It shows that the poorest quintiles of the population, mostly represented by indigenous households, did benefit more than the rest of the population. The results suggest that Bolivian pro-poor growth significantly contributed to narrow the welfare inequality between indigenous and non-indigenous groups.
    Keywords: consumption poverty, pro-poor growth, Bolivia
    JEL: C81 I32 O15
    Date: 2010–11
  4. By: Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro; Mauricio Moura; Caio Piza
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of property-titling on labor supply. The role of legal ownership security is isolated by comparing the effect that being part of, or excluded from, a land title program in a unique quasi-experiment in two similar communities in the Brazilian city of Osasco. Our main innovation is the estimation of the distributive impact of land title on hours worked via the quantile regression methodology and the weighting estimator of Firpo (2007). The estimates suggest that the impact of land-titling on labor supply is heterogeneous and greater for those households with fewer hours worked before the program.
    Keywords: Brazil , Economic models , Labor markets , Labor supply , Land tenure , Real estate prices ,
    Date: 2011–06–07
  5. By: Costa, Cinthia Cabral da; Cunha, Marcelo Pereira da; Guilhoto, Joaquim José Martins
    Abstract: Sustainable energy strategies require decision-makers in government, industry, academia and civil society alike to make choices among tradeoffs. Within the transport sector alone, ethanol has been shown to be the dominant solution among viable, low carbon options to date, yet questions remain over the economic and ecological impacts of this industry. In Brazil - the largest producer of sugarcane-based ethanol and a country with over three decades of ethanol development – we find a strong basis for evaluating the ethanol industry’s role in a national economy. In the mid 1970’s, Brazilian ethanol production received an important boost with the launch of the “Proálcool” program. The ethanol industry has subsequently evidenced flux until its consolidation in the period following 2000. Over the course of three decades, economic, institutional, technological and environmental determinants have factored in the success of Brazilian ethanol diffusion. In economic terms, price tradeoffs for ethanol vs. sugar and ethanol vs. gasoline played a role in scale-up of the biofuel together with balance of payment considerations. From an institutional standpoint, support for the Proálcool program, deregulation of the sugar-cane sector in the 1990’s and fuel pump adaptations also factored. With respect to technology, the development of flex fuel cars, greater use of mechanized harvesting, and launch of domestic, co-generated, electrical power were key drivers. Finally, in environmental terms, challenges associated with pollution and public health in major cities as well as questions related to climate change gained visibility. In this paper, we analyze a set of input-output tables for the Brazilian economy from 1975 to 2006, taking the above factors into consideration. Deriving a series of indicators, such as multipliers and linkages, we study the evolution of the ethanol sector’s role in the Brazilian economy and its relation to the productive structure of the country
    Keywords: Brazil; Ethanol; Input-Output; Productive Structure
    JEL: R15
    Date: 2011

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