New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2011‒11‒21
five papers chosen by

  1. Economic Crises, Maternal and Infant Mortality, Low Birth Weight and Enrollment Rates: Evidence from Argentina's Downturns By Cruces, Guillermo; Glüzmann, Pablo; López-Calva, Luis Felipe
  2. Educación para la primera infancia: Situación en el Caribe colombiano By Andrea Otero
  3. Does grade retention affect achievement? Some evidence from PISA By J. Ignacio García-Pérez; Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo; J. Antonio Robles-Zurita
  4. The Extension of Social Security Coverage in Developing Countries By Juergen Jung; Chung Tran
  5. ICT in Latin America: A Microdata Analysis By Vergara, Sebastián; Rovira, Sebastián; Balboni, Mariana

  1. By: Cruces, Guillermo (CEDLAS-UNLP); Glüzmann, Pablo (CEDLAS-UNLP); López-Calva, Luis Felipe (World Bank)
    Abstract: This study investigates the impact of recent crises in Argentina (including the severe downturn of 2001-2002) on health and education outcomes. The identification strategy relies on both the inter-temporal and the cross-provincial co-variation between changes in regional GDP and outcomes by province. These results indicate significant and substantial effects of aggregate fluctuations on maternal and infant mortality and low birth weight, with countercyclical though not significant patterns for enrollment rates. Finally, provincial public expenditures on health and education are correlated with the incidence of low birth weight and school enrollment for teenagers, with worsening results associated with GDP declines.
    Keywords: crisis, infant mortality, maternal mortality, low birth weight, poverty, Argentina
    Date: 2011–10
  2. By: Andrea Otero
    Abstract: The popularity of the early childhood development programs has increased in recent years since it is in this period when interventions which seek to improve the child’s physical, cognitive and socio-affective skills have a significantly higher impact. According to the results encountered by Heckman, early childhood interventions are correlated with a higher academic achievement, lower dropout rates, increased lifetime income (wealth), lower morbility rates and lower crime rates. This article reviews the main early childhood development programs established in Colombia, with special emphasis upon the educational and nutritional components, in the Caribbean region. RESUMEN: La popularidad de los programas de atención a la primera infancia ha aumentado en los últimos años dado que es en esa etapa cuando las intervenciones que se realizan con el fin de mejorar el desarrollo físico, cognitivo y socio-afectivo de los niños tienen un mayor impacto. Siguiendo lo encontrado por Heckman en sus investigaciones, las intervenciones que se realicen en esta etapa están correlacionadas con un mejor rendimiento académico del niño, menores tasas de deserción escolar, mayores ingresos a lo largo de la vida, menores tasas de morbilidad y tasas más bajas de criminalidad. El presente documento hará una revisión de los principales programas de atención a la primera infancia implementados en Colombia, con especial énfasis en los componentes de educación y nutrición en el Caribe.
    Date: 2011–11–15
  3. By: J. Ignacio García-Pérez (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide); Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide); J. Antonio Robles-Zurita (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: Grade retention practices are at the forefront of the educational debate. In this paper, we use PISA 2009 data for Spain to measure the effect of grade retention on students’ achievement. One important problem when analyzing this question is that school outcomes and the propensity to repeat a grade are likely to be determined simultaneously. We address this problem by estimating a Switching Regression Model. We find that grade retention has a negative impact on educational outcomes, but we confirm the importance of endogenous selection, which makes observed differences between repeaters and non-repeaters appear 14.6% lower than they actually are. The effect on PISA scores of repeating is much smaller (-10% of non-repeaters’ average) than the counterfactual reduction that non-repeaters would suffer had they been retained as repeaters (-24% of their average). Furthermore, those who repeated a grade during primary education suffered more than those who repeated a grade of secondary school, although the effect of repeating at both times is, as expected, much larger.
    Keywords: Grade retention, educational scores, PISA
    JEL: D63 I28 J24
    Date: 2011–11
  4. By: Juergen Jung (Department of Economics, Towson University); Chung Tran (Research School of Economics, The Australian National University)
    Abstract: We study the dynamic general equilibrium effects of introducing a social pension program to elderly informal sector workers in developing countries who lack formal risk sharing mechanisms against income and longevity risk. To this end, we formulate a stochastic dynamic general equilibrium model that incorporates defining features of developing countries: a large informal sector, private transfers as an informal safety net, and a non-universal social security system. We find that the extension of retirement benefits to informal sector workers results in efficiency losses due to adverse effects on capital accumulation and the allocation of resources across formal and informal sectors. Despite these losses recipients of social pensions experience welfare gains as the positive insurance effects attributed to the extension of a social insurance system dominate. The welfare gains crucially depend on the skill distribution, private intra-family transfers and the specific tax used to finance the expansion.
    Keywords: Informal Sector, Family Social Safety Nets, Social Pension, General Equi-librium, and Welfare.
    JEL: E6 E21 E26 H30 H53 H55 I38 O17
    Date: 2011–11
  5. By: Vergara, Sebastián; Rovira, Sebastián; Balboni, Mariana
    Abstract: This book is the final report of the ECLAC-IDRC project Observatory for the Information Society in Latin American and the Caribbean (OSILAC), Third Phase”. OSILAC III is a cooperating project between the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Division of Production, Productivity and Management, ECLAC-UN, which aims at understanding the dynamics of the ICT evolution and revolution and producing evidence on its potential to support socio-economic development, particularly in developing countries. As such, microdata analysis drawn from National Household Surveys and National Innovation Surveys in Latin America were used in the framework of the project in the attempt to reach those objectives Both statistical information sources provide attractive potentialities in order to investigate not only determinants of innovation activities and technology diffusion, but also its economic impacts.
    Keywords: ICT; Innovation; Productivity
    JEL: L86
    Date: 2011–05–01

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