New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2012‒11‒03
eight papers chosen by

  1. Declining inequality in Latin America in the 2000s : the cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico By Lustig, Nora; Lopez-Calva, Luis F.; Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo
  2. Formación para el Trabajo en Colombia By Juan Esteban Saavedra; Carlos Medina
  3. The Latin American Development Problem: An Interpretation By Diego Restuccia
  4. Payments for Water Ecosystem Services in Latin America: Evidence from Reported Experience By Julia Martin-Ortega; Elena Ojea; Camille Roux
  5. The role of sectoral growth patterns in labor market development By Arias-Vazquez , Francisco Javier; Lee, Jean N.; Newhouse, David
  6. Employment and Labor Regulation: Evidence from Manufacturing Firms in Bolivia, 1988-2007 By Beatriz Muriel; Carlos Gustavo Machicado
  7. El Tax Credits Response to Tax Enforcement: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Chile By Claudio Agostini
  8. Pesquisa de Estabilidade Financeira do Banco Central do Brasil. By Solange Maria Guerra; Benjamin Miranda Tabak; Rodrigo César de Castro Miranda

  1. By: Lustig, Nora; Lopez-Calva, Luis F.; Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo
    Abstract: Between 2000 and 2010, the Gini coefficient declined in 13 of 17 Latin American countries. The decline was statistically significant and robust to changes in the time interval, inequality measures, and data sources. In-depth country studies for Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico suggest two main phenomena underlie this trend: a fall in the premium to skilled labor and more progressive government transfers. The fall in the premium to skills resulted from a combination of supply, demand, and institutional factors. Their relative importance depends on the country.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Inequality,Poverty Impact Evaluation,Labor Policies,Labor Markets
    Date: 2012–10–01
  2. By: Juan Esteban Saavedra; Carlos Medina
    Abstract: La participación del estado en la formación para el trabajo (FpT) se justifica por fallas contractuales en el mercado laboral y consideraciones redistributivas. Este ensayo: i) caracteriza la oferta de programas de FpT en Colombia—educación media vocacional, formación profesional técnica y tecnológica, y formación complementaria—, ii) discute evidencia rigurosa disponible referente a su impacto y pertinencia, y iii) rescata, a partir de la evidencia, lecciones para el diseño de programas de FpT. Estas lecciones incluyen la efectividad de la financiación pública a la provisión privada relativa a la provisión pública directa, los méritos de los incentivos al desempeño y de la separación de funciones de financiación, provisión y regulación, y la importancia de currículos enfocados a competencias transversales no-rutinarias.
    Date: 2012–10–17
  3. By: Diego Restuccia
    Abstract: By international standards, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Latin America is low: around one fourth of that of the United States. Moreover, in the last five decades, Latin America has failed to catch-up in wealth to the level of the United States while other countries at similar or even lower stages of development have been successful. The failure to attain higher levels of relative income represents what I call the development problem in Latin America. Using a development accounting framework, I find that the bulk of the difference in GDP per capita between Latin America and the United States is accounted for by low GDP per hour and, in particular, low total factor productivity (TFP) in Latin America. I estimate that to explain the difference in GDP per hour, TFP in Latin America must be around 60 percent of that in the United States. I then consider a model with heterogeneous production units where institutions and policy distortions lead to a 60 percent productivity ratio between Latin America and the United States. Removing the barriers to productivity can increase long-run GDP per hour in Latin America by a factor of 4 relative to that of the United States. This increase is equivalent to 70-years worth of post-world-war-II economic development in the United States.
    Keywords: productivity, capital, schooling, establishments, distortions
    JEL: O1
    Date: 2012–10–25
  4. By: Julia Martin-Ortega; Elena Ojea; Camille Roux
    Abstract: Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes are attracting increasing interest as policy mechanisms to improve conservation and sustainable development outcomes. PES initiatives aim to reach mutually beneficial agreements between providers and users of ecosystem services. In Latin America, with Costa Rica as the frontrunner, there are now more than two decades of experience in the implementation of PES schemes, which potentially represent a valuable source of knowledge for the improvement of the efficacy of conservation programs. Reviews and special issues dedicated to the study of PES exist, but they remain to most of their extent descriptive and qualitative. This paper presents the first study that systematically analyses the PES experience on the basis of a descriptive analysis of existing programs. The objective is twofold: (i) understanding the key features of existing PES mechanisms based on reported evidence; and (ii) identifying information needs for evidence-based policy design and implementation. We focus on water-related services since this type of service is involved in the majority of schemes. A database was constructed with 287 observations from 39 studies, from 1984 to 2011 in 10 Latin American countries. We find evidence confirming some known facts, such as deforestation and forest management as the main drivers of PES establishment, and revealing new ones, such as that average income for sellers is 60% larger than average buyers’ payment for the service.
    Keywords: PES, water ecosystem services, Latin America
    Date: 2012–10
  5. By: Arias-Vazquez , Francisco Javier; Lee, Jean N.; Newhouse, David
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between sectoral growth patterns and employment outcomes. A broad cross-country analysis reveals that in middle-income countries, employment responds more to growth in less productive and more labor-intensive sectors. Employment in middle-income countries is susceptible to a resource curse, and grows rapidly in response to manufacturing and export manufacturing growth. Within Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico, the effects of different sectoral growth patterns are context dependent, but differences in sectoral growth effects on employment and wages are substantially reduced in states or provinces with higher measured labor mobility. Consistent with this, aggregate employment and wage effects of growth by sector are close to uniform when examined over longer time horizons, after labor has an opportunity to adjust across sectors. The results reinforce the importance of growth in more labor-intensive sectors, and suggest that job mobility may be an important mechanism to diffuse the benefits of capital-intensive growth.
    Keywords: Labor Policies,Labor Markets,Economic Theory&Research,Achieving Shared Growth,Banks&Banking Reform
    Date: 2012–10–01
  6. By: Beatriz Muriel (Institute for Advanced Development Studies); Carlos Gustavo Machicado (Institute for Advanced Development Studies)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes employment in Bolivian registered manufacturing firms during 1988 to 2007, establishing its relationship with labor regulation. Estimating job flows, we find that firms with high temporary worker rates (less labor regulation costs) are those with both higher job reallocation rates and higher net employment growth, and only they contributed to employment growth during the country economic downturn, 1998-1999. In addition, estimating demand functions, we find the following effects of recent changes in labor norms: i) the compulsory basic salary rise in 2006-2009 entailed costs in terms of job losses, 5.6 percent for production workers and 4.8 percent for non-production workers; iii) the major labor costs derived from the new pension law, enacted in 2010, decreased employment demand around 1 percent; and, iv) labor protection policies decreased production workers demand.
    Keywords: job flows, labor demand, labor regulation, translog function, unbalanced panel
    JEL: D24 J01 J23 K31
    Date: 2012–07
  7. By: Claudio Agostini (Escuela de Gobierno, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez)
    Abstract: Diesel in Chile receives a different tax treatment depending on its use. If diesel is used in industrial activities the diesel taxes paid can be fully used as a credit against VAT, but if it is used in freight or public transportation (basically trucks and buses) only a fraction of diesel taxes paid can be used as a credit against VAT. As a result of this different tax treatment firms have incentives to use “tax exempted” diesel in activities requiring “non tax exempted” diesel. This tax wedge therefore generates and opportunity for tax evasion. In this paper we analyze the impact of a tax enforcement program implemented by the Chilean IRS, where letters requiring information about diesel tax credits were sent to around 200 firms in 2003. Using different empirical strategies to consider the non-randomness of the selection of firms, we find that firms receiving a letter decreased their diesel tax credits by around 11%.
    Date: 2012–01
  8. By: Solange Maria Guerra; Benjamin Miranda Tabak; Rodrigo César de Castro Miranda
    Abstract: This paper presents the quarterly survey on Financial Stability conducted by the Central Bank of Brazil since September 2011. It presents aggregate results, which were obtained with the answers of participant financial institutions. The objective of the survey is to consolidate market expectations regarding financial stability in the national financial system.
    Date: 2012–10

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