New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2011‒09‒05
seven papers chosen by

  1. Labor Market Dyncamics in Chile: the Role of Terms of Trade Shocks By Juan Pablo Medina; Alberto Naudon
  2. Credit Contraction and International Trade: Evidence from Chilean Exporters By Ari Aisen; Roberto Álvarez; Andrés Sagner; Javier Turén
  3. Copper, the Real Exchange Rate and Macroeconomic Fluctuations in Chile By José De Gregorio; Felipe Labbé
  4. The Use of Violence in Illegal Markets: Evidence from Mahogany Trade in the Brazilian Amazon By Chimeli, Ariaster B.; Soares, Rodrigo R.
  5. The International Crisis and Latin America: Growth Effects and Development Strategies By Vittorio Corbo; Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel
  6. Gender Differences in Competitiveness and Risk Taking: Comparing Children in Colombia and Sweden By Juan-Camilo Cárdenas; Anna Dreber; Emma von Essen; Eva Ranehill
  7. Unemployment Insurance in Developing Countries: The Case of Brazil By François Gerard; Gustavo Gonzaga

  1. By: Juan Pablo Medina; Alberto Naudon
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the channels through which the terms of trade affect labor market variables in an emerging economy such as Chile. In doing so, we analyze the cyclical properties of labor market variables and use a structural vector autoregressive model to analyze the empirical responses of variables such as unemployment rate, job finding rate, sectoral employment and sectoral average labor productivity to terms of trade shocks in the case of Chile, which come from two main sources: the mining and the non-mining sector. We then develop a multi-sector model with search frictions that generates fluctuations in the unemployment rate. Using a calibrated version of this model for Chile, we analyze the ability of the model to replicate the observed responses of labor market variables to terms of trade shocks. We find that the model can predict quantitatively the effects of labor market variables to non-mining terms of trade shocks. Although the model is able to obtain responses to mining price changes qualitatively similar to what is estimated in the data, it falls short to the estimated magnitude of reduction in unemployment that follows a rise in mining prices. The presence of very high wage rigidity can help to generate a sharper fall in unemployment after a mining terms of trade rise. Finally, the model remarks a more intense sectoral labor reallocation in response to terms of trade shocks than the amount estimated in the data.
    Date: 2011–08
  2. By: Ari Aisen; Roberto Álvarez; Andrés Sagner; Javier Turén
    Abstract: An important consequence of the recent financial crisis was the collapse of global trade. Using data of Chilean exporting firms, this paper studies the effect of financial constraints on export growth in the aftermath of the crisis. Our results show that both overall financing and export credit were significant determinants of export contraction in the Chilean case. However, the effect is highly heterogeneous. The evidence shows that larger exporters, belonging to industries more dependent on overall credit, have suffered disproportionately more. This has important policy implications, as public policy aiming at stimulating trade credit may not be as effective if overarching credit conditions remain subdued.
    Date: 2011–08
  3. By: José De Gregorio; Felipe Labbé
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the copper price on macroeconomic performance in Chile. We explore particular features of the Chilean business cycle focusing on economic activity and the real exchange rate. We find that the Chilean economy has become increasingly resilient to copper price shocks in the last twenty-five years, and especially during this last decade. The evidence shows that output volatility has dramatically decreased over the last twenty years, and the contribution of copper price fluctuations to output volatility has also declined. Moreover, the real exchange rate has acted as a shock absorber, and although during the last decade its short-run volatility has increased, its longrun volatility has remained stable and more recently has slightly declined. The decliningimpact of copper prices on the business cycle is due to macroeconomic policies. The evidence shows that a flexible exchange rate, a rule-based fiscal policy, and a flexible inflation targeting regime play a central role in these results.
    Date: 2011–08
  4. By: Chimeli, Ariaster B. (Ohio University); Soares, Rodrigo R. (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio))
    Abstract: Agents operating in illegal markets cannot resort to the justice system to guarantee property rights, to enforce contracts, or to seek protection from competitors' improper behaviors. In these contexts, violence is used to enforce previous agreements and to fight for market share. This relationship plays a major role in the debate on the pernicious effects of the illegality of drug trade. This paper explores a singular episode of transition of a market from legal to illegal to provide a first piece of evidence on the causal effect of illegality on systemic violence. Brazil has historically been the main world producer of big leaf mahogany (a tropical wood). Starting in the 1990s, policies restricting extraction and trade of mahogany, culminating with prohibition, were implemented. First, we present evidence that large scale mahogany trade persisted after prohibition, through misclassification of mahogany exports as "other tropical timber species." Second, we document relative increases in violence after prohibition in areas with: (i) higher share of mahogany exports before prohibition; (ii) higher suspected illegal mahogany activity after prohibition; and (iii) natural occurrence of mahogany. We believe this is one of the first documented experiences of increase in violence following the transition of a market from legal to illegal.
    Keywords: illegal markets, violence, homicide, mahogany, Brazil
    JEL: K42 O13 O17 Q58
    Date: 2011–08
  5. By: Vittorio Corbo; Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel
    Abstract: Latin America has been strongly affected by the international crisis and recession since late 2008. In comparison to historical experience, how has Latin America coped with the global crisis, which has been the role of different transmission mechanisms, and how have the region’s structural and policy conditions affected its sensitivity to foreign shocks? Moreover, what policies can protect the region better from world crises and shocks, and to which extent should it rely on a strategy of close trade and financial integration into a world economy punctuated by shocks and crises? This paper addresses the latter questions in three steps. First, by assessing empirically the sensitivity of growth in the region’s seven major economies during 1990-2009 to large number of structural and cyclical factors, based on high-frequency panel-data estimations. Second, by using the latter results to decompose the amplitude of GDP reductions in both recessions according to the individual and combined contribution of the different growth factors. Third, to derive the main implications of the results for the choice of macroeconomic regimes and development strategies.
    Keywords: Growth, Macroeconomic adjustment, Latin America
    JEL: O47 E6 O54
    Date: 2011–08
  6. By: Juan-Camilo Cárdenas; Anna Dreber; Emma von Essen; Eva Ranehill
    Abstract: We explore gender differences in preferences for competition and risk among children aged 9-12 in Colombia and Sweden, two countries differing in gender equality according to macro indices. We include four types of tasks that vary in gender stereotyping when looking at competitiveness: running, skipping rope, math and word search. We find that boys and girls are equally competitive in all tasks and all measures in Colombia. Unlike the consistent results in Colombia, the results in Sweden are mixed, with some indication of girls being more competitive than boys in some tasks in terms of performance change, whereas boys are more likely to choose to compete in general. Boys in both countries are more risk taking than girls, with a smaller gender gap in Sweden.
    Date: 2011–06–07
  7. By: François Gerard (UC Berkeley); Gustavo Gonzaga (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)
    Abstract: Few developing countries have adopted an Unemployment Insurance (UI) program but the list of countries considering its implementation is growing. Focusing on the Brazilian UI program and using administrative data covering the universe of formal employment, we provide empirical evidence documenting two relevant facts for the debate around the design of such program in countries characterized by a large informal sector and a lack of administrative and enforcement capacity. First, UI benefits strongly affects the timing of formal job finding for those workers able to find a formal job soon after job-loss. Second, those workers constitute a small share of the overall pool of UI beneficiaries, since most job-losers do not find a formal job rapidly. Therefore, offering UI is costly (most beneficiaries would exhaust their benefits for typical lengths of benefit duration) and UI benefits have little distortionary effect on the job-finding behavior of the average (formal) job-loser: they constitute pure income transfers for 3/4 of the potential beneficiaries. We further discuss implications of these 2 facts and highlight some interactions with job protection legislations (hiring costs), the main policy instrument used to protect workers from labor demand fluctuations in those countries.
    Date: 2011–08

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