New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2011‒12‒13
nine papers chosen by

  1. Should Cash Transfers Be Confined to the Poor? Implications for Poverty and Inequality in Latin America By Acosta, Pablo A.; Leite, Phillippe; Rigolini, Jamele
  2. The measurement of educational inequality: Achievement and opportunity By Francisco H. G. Ferreira; Jérémie Gignoux
  3. Effects of Innovation on Employment in Latin America: The Microeconometric Evidence By Gustavo Crespi; Ezequiel Tacsir
  4. A vulnerability approach to the definition of the middle class By Lopez-Calva, Luis F.; Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo
  5. Trade Liberalization, Inequality and Poverty in Brazilian States. By Sztulman, Aude; Menéndez, Marta; Castilho, Marta
  6. EDUCATION AND LABOUR MARKET OUTCOMES: EVIDENCE FROM BRAZIL By R Freguglia; G Spricigo; Geraint Johnes; A Aggarwal
  7. Innovation, Firm Size, Technology Intensity, and Employment Generation in Uruguay: The Microeconometric Evidence By Diego Aboal; Paula Garda; Bibiana Lanzilotta; Marcelo Perera
  8. Sudden Stops in Social Mobility: Intergenerational Mobility in Chile By Claudio Sapelli
  9. Towards a Latin America free of casualties due to lack of road safety: The case of Brazil. "An analysis of road casualties in Brazil focusing on road traffic conditions and road accidents' characteristics" By Paulo Resende

  1. By: Acosta, Pablo A. (World Bank); Leite, Phillippe (World Bank); Rigolini, Jamele (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper compares for 13 Latin American countries the poverty and inequality impacts of cash transfer programs that are given to all children and the elderly (that is, "categorical" transfers), to programs of equal budget that are confined to the poor within each population group (that is, "poverty targeted" transfers). The analysis finds that both the incidence of poverty and the depth of the poverty gap are important factors affecting the relative effectiveness of categorical versus poverty targeted transfers. The comparison of transfers to children and the elderly also supports the view that choosing carefully categories of beneficiaries is almost as important as targeting the poor for achieving a high poverty and inequality impact. Overall, the findings suggest that although in the Latin American context poverty targeting tends to deliver higher poverty impacts, there are circumstances under which categorical targeting confined to geographical regions (sometimes called "geographic targeting") may be a valid option to consider. This is particularly the case in low-income countries with widespread pockets of poverty.
    Keywords: cash transfers, targeting, social assistance, poverty
    JEL: D6 H5 O1
    Date: 2011–11
  2. By: Francisco H. G. Ferreira (The World Bank and IZA); Jérémie Gignoux (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper proposes two related measures of educational inequality: one for educational achievement and another for educational opportunity. The former is the simple variance (or standard deviation) of test scores. Its selection is informed by consideration of two measurement issues that have typically been overlooked in the literature: the implications of the standardization of test scores for inequality indices, and the possible sample selection biases arising from the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) sampling frame. The measure of inequality of educational opportunity is given by the share of the variance in test scores that is explained by pre-determined circumstances. Both measures are computed for the 57 countries in which PISA surveys were conducted in 2006. Inequality of opportunity accounts for up to 35 percent of all disparities in educational achievement. It is greater in (most of) continental Europe and Latin America than in Asia, Scandinavia, and North America. It is uncorrelated with average educational achievement and only weakly negatively correlated with per capita gross domestic product. It correlates negatively with the share of spending in primary schooling, and positively with tracking in secondary schools.
    Keywords: Educational inequality, educational achievement, inequality of opportunity.
    JEL: D39 D63 I29 O54
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Gustavo Crespi; Ezequiel Tacsir
    Abstract: This presentation provides the comparative results of a project carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank to understand the links between innovation and employment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Special attention is paid to the importance of sectoral and size difference in both quantity and quality composition of employment. This project is based on national country studies performed by different research teams and includes research from Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay. This presentation was prepared for the 9th GLOBELICS Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 15th, 2011.
    Keywords: Science & Technology :: New Technologies, Labor :: Workforce & Employment, Private Sector :: Business Development, Private Sector :: SME, Economics :: Productivity, innovation and employment, microeconomics, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, SMEs, innovation types, business innovation strategies
    Date: 2011–11
  4. By: Lopez-Calva, Luis F.; Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo
    Abstract: Measurement of the middle class has recently come to the center of policy debate in middle-income countries as they search for the potential engines of growth and good governance. This debate assumes, first, that there is a meaningful definition of class, and second, that thresholds that define relatively homogeneous groups in terms of pre-determined sociological characteristics can be found empirically. This paper aims at proposing a view of the middle class based on vulnerability to poverty. Following this approach the paper exploits panel data to determine the amount of comparable income -- associated with a low probability of falling into poverty -- which could define the lower bound of the middle class. The paper looks at absolute thresholds, challenging the view that people above the poverty line are actually part of the middle class. The estimated lower threshold is used in cross-section surveys to quantify the size and the evolution of middle classes in Chile, Mexico, and Peru over the past two decades. The first relevant feature relates to the fact that the proposed thresholds lie around the 60th percentile of the distribution. The evidence also shows that the middle class has increased significantly in all three countries, suggesting that a higher number of households face lower probabilities of falling into poverty than they did in the 1990s. There is an important group of people, however, which cannot be defined as middle class from this perspective, but are not eligible for poverty programs according to traditional definitions of poverty.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Inequality,Regional Economic Development,Urban Partnerships&Poverty,Services&Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2011–12–01
  5. By: Sztulman, Aude; Menéndez, Marta; Castilho, Marta
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of trade liberalization and international trade on household income inequality and poverty using detailed micro-data across Brazilian states, from 1987 to 2005. Results suggest that Brazilian states that were more exposed to tariff cuts experienced smaller reductions in household poverty and inequality. If significance of results on Brazilian states depends on the choice of poverty and inequality indicators, robust and contrasting results emerge when we disaggregate into rural and urban areas within states. Trade liberalization contributes to poverty and inequality increases in urban areas and may be linked to inequality declines in rural areas (no significant effect on rural poverty appears from our study). In terms of observed integration to world markets, import penetration plays a similar role as trade liberalization for Brazilian states as a whole. On the contrary, rising export exposure appears to have significantly reduced both measures of household welfare.
    Keywords: Trade liberalization; Brazil states; Inequality; Poverty;
    JEL: D31 F16 F14
    Date: 2011
  6. By: R Freguglia; G Spricigo; Geraint Johnes; A Aggarwal
    Abstract: The effect of education on labour market outcomes is analysed using both survey and administrative data from The Brazilian PNAD and RAIS-MIGRA series, respectively. Occupational destination is examined using both multinomial logit analyses and structural dynamic discrete choice modelling. The latter approach is particularly useful as a means of evaluating policy impacts over time. We find that policy to expand educational provision leads initially to an increased take-up of education, and in the longer term leads to an increased propensity for workers to enter non-manual employment.
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Diego Aboal; Paula Garda; Bibiana Lanzilotta; Marcelo Perera
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between innovation and employment, in terms of both its quantity and quality, in Uruguay. The effect of product and process innovation on employment growth and on employment composition in terms of skills was studied, using data from manufacturing firms' innovation surveys, matched against economic activity surveys. The impact of different innovation strategies was also analyzed, particularly producing technology vs. sourcing technology externally. The results revealed that product innovation is associated with employment growth. There is (weaker) evidence that process innovation displaces labor. Product innovation is not more complementary to skilled than to unskilled labor. Producing technology in-house has the biggest positive impact on employment, followed by the make-and-buy strategy. Similar results are found for small firms and firms belonging to the low- and high-tech sectors. Interviews carried out with innovation agents support the view that in general innovation does not lead to job losses and that it generates greater demand for a more qualified labor force.
    Keywords: Science & Technology :: New Technologies, Labor :: Workforce & Employment, Labor :: Labor Policy, job losses, innovation, unemployment, innovation strategies, firm size, employment quantity and quality, innovation surveys, job positions, vacancies
    JEL: D2 J23 L1 O31 O33
    Date: 2011–10
  8. By: Claudio Sapelli
    Abstract: We estimate the evolution of intergenerational mobility of education in Chile for synthetic cohorts born between 1930 and 1978. The correlation coefficient between children and parent education falls from 0.67 for the cohort born in 1930 to 0.41 for that born in 1956, a process of improvement that suddenly stops, followed by stagnation. We find that the stagnation is explained by the effect on tertiary education coverage of low incomes when the children were born (long-run credit constraints) and the restrictions to the supply side of tertiary education (that had a particularly strong effect on children from less educated parents) during the late seventies and early eighties.
    Keywords: Intergenerational mobility, synthetic cohorts, education
    JEL: J62 I20
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Paulo Resende
    Abstract: As part of its Road Safety Initiative, the IDB is working with strategic partners to raise awareness about the importance of road safety during the UN Decade for Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. The IDB and Fundação Dom Cabral co-published this technical note to highlight the need for road safety education and awareness. The analysis presented is based on five years of data from 25,000 km of highways in Brazil. It identifies the main causes of traffic accidents, which are road user behavior and lack of road safety education. It also compares the severity and occurrence of accidents in Brazil on roads in good conditions to those in need of maintenance.
    Keywords: Infrastructure & Transport :: Roads & Highways, Health :: Health Policy, Transporte sostenible, Seguridad vial, Brasil, Accidentes de tránsito, Prevención de accidentes, Educación en seguridad vial, Peatones, Bicicletas, Transporte no-motorizado, Motocicletas, Movilidad, Transporte sustentável, Segurança rodoviária, Segurança no tránsito, Brasil, acidentes de trânsito, acidentes de trânsito, prevenção de acidentes, educação rodoviária, pedestres, bicicletas, transportes não motorizados, motocicletas, Mobilidade, Sustainable transport, road safety, Brazil, Traffic accidents, traffic casualties, Accident prevention, Road Safety Education, Pedestrians, Bicycles, Non-motorized transport, Motorcycles, Mobility
    JEL: R41 R42 N76 I18 K32
    Date: 2011–11

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