New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2012‒08‒23
ten papers chosen by

  1. Inequality in Education: Evidence for Latin America By Guillermo Cruces; Carolina García Domench; Leonardo Gasparini
  2. Building Blocks for Effective Macroprudential Policies in Latin America: Institutional Considerations By Luis Ignacio Jácome; Patrick A. Imam; Erlend Nier
  3. The Global Financial Crisis and currency crises in Latin America By Kuper, Gerard H.; Jacobs, Jan P.A.M.; Boonman, Tjeerd M.
  4. Impact Evaluation of a Privately Managed Tuition-Free Middle school in a Poor Neighborhood in Montevideo By Ana I. Balsa; Alejandro Cid
  5. When do people become adults? The Uruguayan case By Máximo Rossi; Natalia Melgar
  6. Learning from China's rise to escape the middle-income trap : a new structural economics approach to Latin America By Lin, Justin Yifu; Treichel, Volker
  7. Developing and Evaluating Citizen Security Programs in Latin America: A Protocol for Evidence-Based Crime Prevention By Lawrence W. Sherman
  8. On the Effectiveness of Child Care Centers in Promoting Child Development in Ecuador By Jose Rosero
  9. Polarización y segregación en la distribución del ingreso en el Perú: trayectorias desiguales. By Escobal, Javier; Ponce, Carmen
  10. The Effectiveness of Prenatal Care in a Low Income Population: A Panel Data Approach By Ana I. Balsa; Patricia Triunfo

  1. By: Guillermo Cruces (CEDLAS-UNLP, CONICET and IZA); Carolina García Domench (CEDLAS-UNLP); Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS-UNLP)
    Abstract: This paper provides original empirical evidence on the evolution of education inequality for all Latin American countries over the decades of 1990 and 2000. The analysis covers a wide range of issues on differences in educational outcomes and opportunities across the population, including inequality in years of education, gaps in school enrollment, wage skill differentials and public social expenditure. The evidence indicates a significant difference between the 1990s and the 2000s in terms of both the assessment of the equity of the education expansion and its impact on the income distribution. In particular, the changes in the 2000s seem to have had a full equalizing impact on earnings given the more pro-poor pattern of the education upgrading and a more stable or even increasing relative demand for low skill labor.
    Keywords: education, inequality, enrollment, wage premium, Latin America
    JEL: I24 I25 I28 O15
    Date: 2012–08
  2. By: Luis Ignacio Jácome; Patrick A. Imam; Erlend Nier
    Abstract: An increasing number of countries - including in Latin America - are reforming their financial stability frameworks in the aftermath of the financial crisis, in order to establish a stronger macroprudential policy function. This paper analyzes existing arrangements for financial stability in Latin America and examines key issues to consider when designing the institutional foundations for effective macroprudential policies. The paper focuses primarily on eight Latin American countries, where the institutional arrangements for monetary and financial policies can be classified in two distinct groups: the "Pacific" model that includes Chile, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, and Mexico, and the "Atlantic" model, comprising Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.
    Keywords: Banking crisis , Cross country analysis , Financial stability , Latin America , Macroprudential policy , Monetary policy ,
    Date: 2012–07–12
  3. By: Kuper, Gerard H.; Jacobs, Jan P.A.M.; Boonman, Tjeerd M. (Groningen University)
    Abstract: The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has aected many regions including Latin America. This paper focuses on currency crises in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. We estimate an Early Warning System, consisting of a dynamic factor model and an ordered logit model, with monthly data for 1990-2007. Ex ante forecasts for 2008-2009 do not produce currency crises in the fall of 2008, in sharp contrast with reality. Our model only predicts an increased probability of a currency crisis for Argentina in 2009.
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Ana I. Balsa; Alejandro Cid
    Abstract: Using a randomized trial, we evaluate the impact of a free privately-managed middle school in a poor neighborhood. The research compares over time adolescents randomly selected to enter Liceo-Jubilar and those that were not drawn in the lottery. Besides positive impacts on expectations, we find better educational outcomes in the treatment group relative to control subjects. The features of Liceo-Jubilar -autonomy of management, capacity for innovation, and adaptation to the context- contrast with the Uruguayan highly centralized and inflexible public education system. Our results shed light on new approaches to education that may contribute to improve opportunities for disadvantaged adolescents in developing countries. Unlike the experiences of charter schools in developed countries, Liceo-Jubilar does not have autonomy regarding the formal school curricula nor depends on public funding by any means.
    Keywords: Education; Field Experiment; Poverty; Impact Evaluation
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Máximo Rossi (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales); Natalia Melgar (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales)
    Abstract: This paper explores the key experiences that Uruguayans consider relevant for becoming an adult in Uruguay. In particular, we assess the linkages between adulthood and skills, income, labor market participation and marital status, among others transitions that have been found to be associated with the attainment of adulthood. With the aim of identifying attitudinal patterns, we estimate ordered probit models examining a serious of hypothetical transitions. Our dataset is the 2008 survey carried out by the International Social Survey Program in Uruguay. We discover that gender, age, and educational level are viewed as critical determinants in the passage to adulthood. Moreover, we discover that Uruguay may have a different constellation of beliefs pertaining to adult transitions than similar studies that have been conducted in the United States. Este trabajo explora cuáles son los factores clave que los uruguayos consideran relevantes para calificar a alguien como adulto. En particular, se analiza la relación entre la adultez y la educación, el ingreso personal, la participación en el mercado laboral y el estado civil, entre otras características personales. Con el objetivo de identificar patrones de comportamiento, se estiman modelos probit ordenados. La base de datos es la encuesta de 2008 llevada a cabo por el International Social Survey Program en Uruguay.Este artículo señala que el género, la edad y el nivel educativo son factores críticos para entender cuando se considera que alguien es adulto. Por otra parte, se extienden los resultados de investigaciones anteriores, mostrando que el hecho de vivir ciertas circunstancias como la paternidad, no hace que la opinión pública considere que esas personas son adultas.
    Keywords: Adultez, transición, ciclo de vida, Uruguay Adulthood, transition, life course, Uruguay.
    Date: 2012–07
  6. By: Lin, Justin Yifu; Treichel, Volker
    Abstract: This paper discusses the causes of the middle-income trap in Latin America and the Caribbean, identifies the challenges and opportunities for Latin America that come from China's rise, and draws lessons from New Structural Economics and the Growth Identification and Facilitation Framework to help Latin America escape the middle-income trap. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are caught in a middle-income trap due to their inability to structurally upgrade from low value-added to high value-added products. Governments in Latin America and the Caribbean should intervene in industries in which they have a comparative advantage, calibrating supporting policies in close collaboration with the private sector through public-private sector alliances. Through continuous structural upgrading in sectors intensive in factors such as natural resources, scientific knowledge, and unskilled labor, the region could achieve dynamic growth. This would require investments in education, research and development, and physical infrastructure. Therefore, industrial upgrading and diversification would be essential to avoid further de-industrialization arising from the competitive pressures of the rise of China, broaden the base for economic growth, and create the basis for further sustained reduction in unemployment, poverty and income inequality. Failure to do so would lead to a loss of competitiveness and risks of further de-industrialization.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Emerging Markets,Banks&Banking Reform,Debt Markets,Achieving Shared Growth
    Date: 2012–08–01
  7. By: Lawrence W. Sherman
    Abstract: This protocol is designed mainly for people working to reduce crime and improve justice in Latin America, but it discusses principles that can be used anywhere in the world. Those principles can be summarized as evidence-based crime prevention, a process by which good evidence on the facts of crime and its prevention is at the heart of theories and programs for promoting citizen security. "Evidence" in this sense is broadly defined as systematic factual observations of all kinds, not just as the forensic details of a criminal case. Evidence is the data developed by scientific methods to observe and predict any kind of truth, including facts about health, education, crime, and justice. A few key principles of evidence-based crime prevention are the following: crime must be measured reliably and precisely by well-audited systems; crime should be classified in whatever way supports crime prevention; and crime should be analyzed in multiple units or categories, including offenders, criminal networks, victims, micro-places (hot spots), communities, times, days of the week, and other categories.
    Keywords: Public Sector :: Citizen Security & Crime Prevention, impact evaluation, citizen security, cost-benefit, evidence-based crime prevention, efficiency, effectiveness
    JEL: Z10
    Date: 2012–08
  8. By: Jose Rosero (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Although the literature on the effectiveness of child care centers in developing countries is thin, most of the studies have concluded that the provision of these services are beneficial to enhance the development of poor children at early ages. Using different matching techniques, the results in this paper contrast with that conclusion as it finds no support of a positive effect of a large scale child care program in Ecuador on any of the dimensions considered of cognitive development. This paper also provides evidence that the program increased mother's labor force participation and family income but reduced health outcomes of children. The results are in line with the ones found in (Rosero and Oosterbeek, 2011) and support the existence of a trade-off between children development and labor market participation that should be considered at the moment of designing and implementing social policies.
    Keywords: Early childhood development; child care centers; propensity score matching; developing country; Ecuador
    JEL: J13 I28 H40 O12
    Date: 2012–07–19
  9. By: Escobal, Javier (Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE)); Ponce, Carmen (Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE))
    Abstract: A partir de estimaciones de crecimiento del gasto per cápita, pobreza y desigualdad para los años 1981, 1993 y 2007, el estudio encuentra que si bien la desigualdad del gasto per cápita entre individuos (medida por los coeficientes de Gini o de Theil) muestra una ligera tendencia a la baja, las desigualdades entre grupos (asociadas a procesos desegregación y polarización y vinculadas en la literatura a una mayor conflictividad social) se habrían exacerbado. En particular, se observa una tendencia de largo plazo a la segregación y polarización espacial a favor de las grandes ciudades en contraposición a la dinámica deciudades pequeñas y pueblos. Esta tendencia hacia una creciente polarización espacial va de la mano de una creciente polarización entre grupos indígenas y no indígenas. Sin embargo, no se observa una tendencia similar entre grupos con niveles educativos distintos.
    Keywords: Distribución del Ingreso, Desigualdad económica, Desigualdad social, PObreza, Perú, Income distribution, Economic disparity, Social inequality, Poverty, Peru
    JEL: D30 I32
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Ana I. Balsa; Patricia Triunfo
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of prenatal care on the likelihood of low birth weight and prematurity using panel data on births taking place between 1995 and 2008 in the largest maternity ward in Uruguay. The use of difference-Generalized Method of Moments estimation addresses biases due to time invariant unobserved heterogeneity and feedback effects from prior pregnancies. Our estimates are larger than those usually found for developed countries: an adequate use of prenatal care - as defined by the Kessner criterion - decreases the probability of low birth weight by half and the likelihood of a pre-term birth by 70%. Even when imposing less stringent requirements on the total number of prenatal controls, the improvements over birth outcomes are considerable. In addition to indicating the crucial role of prenatal care in the birth outcomes of low-income populations, our analysis highlights the importance of using econometric techniques that use the full distribution of pregnancies to estimate the effectiveness of prenatal care.
    Keywords: prenatal care, panel data, difference GMM, lowbirth weight, low SES populations
    JEL: I12 J13 C14
    Date: 2012

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