New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2012‒03‒08
seven papers chosen by

  1. Social Policies and the Fall in Inequality in Brazil: Achievements and Challenges By Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza
  2. Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment By Karen Macours; Norbert Schady; Renos Vakis
  3. Poverty, Inequality and Social Policies in Brazil, 1995-2009 By Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza
  4. Fairness and Income Redistribution- an Analysis of the Latin American Tax System By Erik Alencar de Figueiredo; Cleiton Roberto da Fonseca Silva
  5. Educational Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap for Recent College Graduates in Colombia By Cepeda Emiliani, Laura; Barón, Juan D.
  6. Convergencia interregional en dinámica de regimenes: el caso del Mercosur By Brida, Juan Gabriel; London, Silvia; Rojas, Mara
  7. Spillovers from Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: Bolsa Família and Crime in Urban Brazil By Chioda, Laura; de Mello, João M. P.; Soares, Rodrigo R.

  1. By: Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza (Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA))
    Abstract: By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the most usual international depiction of Brazil is that of a burgeoning, upcoming country. Although in many ways frankly exaggerated, this marks a stark contrast with a not-so-distant past. This turnaround has had a lot to do with favourable international circumstances, but it also owes a lot to extensive reforms that made possible something that was almost unprecedented in Brazil: pro-poor growth. (?)
    Keywords: Social Policies and the Fall in Inequality in Brazil: Achievements and Challenges
    Date: 2012–02
  2. By: Karen Macours; Norbert Schady; Renos Vakis
    Abstract: Cash transfer programs have become extremely popular in the developing world. There is a large literature on the effects of these programs on schooling, health and nutrition, but relatively little is known about possible impacts on child development. This paper analyzes the impact of a cash transfer program on cognitive development in early childhood in rural Nicaragua. Identification is based on random assignment. We show that children in households assigned to receive benefits had significantly higher levels of development nine months after the program began. There is no fadeout of program effects two years after the program had ended and transfers were discontinued. We show that the changes in child development we observe are unlikely to be a result of the cash component of the program alone.
    Keywords: Social Development :: Poverty, Social Development :: Youth & Children
    JEL: D12 I2 I3
    Date: 2012–02
  3. By: Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza (Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA))
    Abstract: Since the mid-1990s, Brazil has undergone extensive reforms that have finally reversed the dismaying economic performance of the 1980s. In particular, poverty and inequality indicators have improved dramatically, especially since the late-2000s. This paper provides an overview of such recent trends and discusses the role played by four major government interventions: public education, the minimum wage law, Social Security pensions and Social Assistance transfers. Additionally, available data sets and methods for policy evaluation are also discussed. (?)
    Keywords: Poverty, Inequality and Social Policies in Brazil, 1995-2009
    Date: 2012–02
  4. By: Erik Alencar de Figueiredo; Cleiton Roberto da Fonseca Silva
    Abstract: This paper assesses the effects of income redistribution policies on "responsibilit -sensitive" fairness levels in major Latin American countries. In doing so, the following items are analyzed- i) the fairness rule described in Bossert (1995),Konow (1996), and Cappelen & Tungodden (2007) and; ii) the redistribution mechanism (taxation policy) proposed by Ooghe & Peich (2010). The results indicate that taxation does not have a significant effect on Latin American fairness indicators. This behavior can be explained, among other factors, by the fiscal design used, which utilizes high rates associated with the effort variables and fails to equalize unequal opportunities.
    Keywords: Theory of Justice,Redistribution,
    JEL: D31 E62 H2
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Cepeda Emiliani, Laura (Banco de la República de Colombia); Barón, Juan D. (Banco de la República de Colombia)
    Abstract: In this paper we show the importance of subject of degree in explaining the gender wage gap in Colombia. In order to minimize the influence of gender differences in experience, promotions, and job changes on the wage gap, we focus on college graduates who have a formal job and who have been in the labor market at most one year. Using unique, administrative datasets with detailed subjects of degree, we find that the wage gap against women is on average 11% and that 40% of it can be explained by differences in subject of degree. Using a distributional decomposition, we find an increasing gender wage gap across the distribution of wages (from 2% at the bottom to 15% at the top), although subject of degree explains a lower 30% of the gap at the top. Policies designed to reduce the gender wage gap need to address the differing gender educational choices and the factors that influence them. These policies would be more effective in reducing the gap for median wage earners.
    Keywords: gender wage gap, subject of degree, decomposition
    JEL: J24 J31 J71
    Date: 2012–02
  6. By: Brida, Juan Gabriel; London, Silvia; Rojas, Mara
    Abstract: This paper analyses the regional convergence of sub-national states in the case of Mercosur from 1961 to 2005 by using a non-parametric techniques of clustering under the concept of regime of performance. That is, the convergence between two regions is established by the approximation of their dynamic of regimens. The best positioned Brazilian states show an interregional convergence process in dynamics of regimens towards the richest Argentinean regions and Uruguay; moreover Paraguay, the north part of Brazil and the historically underdevelopment regions of Argentina are in scenarios of low economic performance, reducing the intra-group distance but showing a divergence process in reference to the highest income group. Results exhibit evidence in favor to convergence clubs of performance.
    Keywords: economic performance; dynamic of regimens; convergence; clusters; Mercosur
    JEL: C14 O49 O54
    Date: 2012–02–24
  7. By: Chioda, Laura (World Bank); de Mello, João M. P. (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)); Soares, Rodrigo R. (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio))
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs on crime. Making use of a unique dataset combining detailed school characteristics with time and geo-referenced crime information from the city of São Paulo, Brazil, we estimate the contemporaneous effect of the Bolsa Família program on crime. We address the endogeneity of CCT coverage by exploiting the 2008 expansion of the program to adolescents aged 16 and 17. We construct an instrument that combines the timing of expansion and the initial demographic composition of schools to identify plausibly exogenous variations in the number of children covered by Bolsa Família. We find a robust and significant negative impact of Bolsa Família coverage on crime. The evidence suggests that the main effect works through increased household income or changed peer group, rather than from incapacitation from time spent in school.
    Keywords: crime, Bolsa Família, conditional cash transfer, education, schooling, Brazil
    JEL: I28 I38 K42
    Date: 2012–02

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