New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2012‒10‒06
six papers chosen by

  1. Testing the law of one price in retail banking: An analysis for Colombia using a pair-wise approach By Ana María Iregui; Jesús Otero
  2. Wages and Informality in Developing Countries By Costas Meghir; Renata Narita; Jean-Marc Robin
  3. Conditional Cash Transfers, Political Participation, and Voting Behavior By Baez, Javier E.; Camacho, Adriana; Conover, Emily; Zárate, Román Andrés
  4. Financial Development, Exporting and Firm Heterogeneity in Chile By Roberto Alvarez; Ricardo Lopez
  5. "Beyond Full Employment: The Employer of Last Resort as an Institution for Change" By Pavlina R. Tcherneva
  6. The Delivering Ecological Services Index (DESI) By McLennan, D.; Sharma, R.

  1. By: Ana María Iregui; Jesús Otero
    Abstract: We apply a pair-wise approach to test the law of one price for deposit (lending) rates in Colombia. We find that when banks are of different size deposit rates adjust quickly, suggesting a competitive environment. By contrast, lending rates adjust rapidly when banks are of similar size, supporting market segmentation.
    Date: 2012–09–17
  2. By: Costas Meghir (Economics Department, Yale University); Renata Narita (World Bank); Jean-Marc Robin (Sciences Po)
    Abstract: It is often argued that informal labor markets in developing countries promote growth by reducing the impact of regulation. On the other hand informality may reduce the amount of social protection offered to workers. We extend the wage-posting framework of Burdett and Mortensen (1998) to allow heterogeneous firms to decide whether to locate in the formal or the informal sector, as well as set wages. Workers engage in both off the job and on the job search. We estimate the model using Brazilian micro data and evaluate the labor market and welfare effects of policies towards informality.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; credit constraints; business training; consulting; managerial capital
    JEL: J24 J3 J42 J6 O17
    Date: 2012–09
  3. By: Baez, Javier E. (World Bank); Camacho, Adriana (Universidad de los Andes); Conover, Emily (Hamilton College); Zárate, Román Andrés (Universidad de los Andes)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of enrollment in a large scale anti-poverty program in Colombia, Familias en Acción (FA), on intent to vote, turnout and electoral choice. For identification we use discontinuities in program eligibility and variation in program enrollment across voting booths. We find that FA has a positive effect on political participation in the 2010 presidential elections by increasing the probability that program beneficiaries register to vote and cast a ballot, particularly among women. Regarding voter's choice, we find that program participants expressed a stronger preference for the official party that implemented and expanded the program. Overall, the findings show that voters respond to targeted transfers and that these transfers can foster support for incumbents, thus making the case for designing political and legislative mechanisms, as the laws recently passed by the Colombian government, that avoid successful anti-poverty schemes from being captured by political patronage.
    Keywords: Conditional Cash Transfers, voting behavior, Colombia
    JEL: O10 D72 P16
    Date: 2012–09
  4. By: Roberto Alvarez (University of Chile and Central Bank of Chile); Ricardo Lopez (International Business School, Brandeis University)
    Abstract: Using plant-level data from the manufacturing sector of Chile for the period 1990-2000, this paper examines the effect of financial development on the probability of exporting at the plant level, with a special focus on the heterogeneous responses of plants with different characteristics. The main results are that an improvement in financial development increases the probability of exporting of more productive plants and those with foreign ownership operating in manufacturing sectors that are more dependent on external finance. Our estimates also show that financial development does not appear to improve the probability of exporting for relatively smaller and younger plants. This result suggests that, at least for the case of exporting in Chile, smaller and younger plants are not necessarily more likely to benefit than larger and older plants from improvements in access to credit.
    Keywords: Exporting, Financial Development, Credit Constraints, Plant Level Data, Chile
    JEL: F14 O16 O54
    Date: 2012–05
  5. By: Pavlina R. Tcherneva
    Abstract: Over the past decade and a half the ability of the employer-of-last-resort (ELR) proposal to deliver full employment and price stability has been discussed at length in the literature. A different issue has received relatively little attention—namely, the concern that even when the ELR produces these macroeconomic benefits, it does so by offering "low-paying" "dead-end" jobs, further denigrating the unemployed. In this context, the important buffer stock feature of the ELR is misconstrued as a hydraulic mechanism that prioritizes macroeconomic stability over the program's benefits to the unemployed. This paper argues that the two objectives are not mutually exclusive by revisiting Argentina's experience with Plan Jefes and its subsequent reform. Plan Jefes is the only direct job creation program in the world specifically modeled after the modern ELR proposal developed in the United States. With respect to macroeconomic stability, the paper reviews how it exhibits some of the key stabilizing features of ELR that have been postulated in the literature, even though it was not designed as an unconditional job guarantee. Plan Jefes also illustrated that public employment programs can have a transformative impact on persistent socioeconomic problems such as poverty and gender disparity. Women-by far the largest group of program beneficiaries-report key benefits to their communities, families, children, and (importantly) themselves from participation in Jefes. Argentina's experience shows that direct job creation programs that offer employment at a base wage can have the unique capacity to empower and undermine prevailing structures that produce and reproduce poverty and gender disparities. Because the latter two problems are multidimensional, the ELR cannot be treated as a panacea, but rather as an important policy tool that remedies some of the most entrenched and resilient causes of poverty and gender inequality. The paper examines survey evidence based on narratives by female participants in Jefes to assess these potentially transformative aspects of the ELR proposal.
    Keywords: Employer of Last Resort; Full Employment; Gender Inequality; Poverty
    JEL: D63 E6 E24 I3
    Date: 2012–09
  6. By: McLennan, D.; Sharma, R. (Rimisp)
    Abstract: This document is the result of the Rural Territorial Dynamics Program, implemented by Rimisp in several Latin American countries in collaboration with numerous partners. The program has been supported by the International Development Research Center (IDRC, Canada). We authorize the non-for-profit partial or full reproduction and dissemination of this document, subject to the source being properly acknowledged.
    Keywords: Delivering, Ecological, Services, Index, DESI
    JEL: D44 D82 L86 C72
    Date: 2012

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