nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2012‒12‒22
thirteen papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. The Growth of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America and the Caribbean: Did They Go Too Far? By Stampini, Marco; Tornarolli, Leopoldo
  2. Formación para el Trabajo en Colombia By Juan Esteban Saavedra; Carlos Medina
  3. Labor Market Institutions and Informality in Transition and Latin American Countries By Lehmann, Hartmut; Muravyev, Alexander
  4. Protecting workers against unemployment in Uruguay By Verónica Amarante; Rodrigo Arim; Andrés Dean
  5. Movilidad social en Colombia By Roberto Angulo; Alejandro Gaviria; Gustavo Nicolás Páez; Joao Pedro Azevedo
  6. Dinámica del mercado laboral uruguayo. By Verónica Amarante; Andrés Dean
  7. Productivity and structural heterogeneity in the Brazilian manufacturing sector: trends and determinants By Eva Yamila Catela; Mario Cimoli; Gabriel Porcile
  8. Desigualdad de Resultados y Oportunidades en Colombia: 1997-2010 By Francisco H.G. Ferreira; Marcela Meléndez
  9. Peer effects identified through social networks. Evidence from uruguayan schools. By Gioia de Melo
  10. Unemployment insurance design and its effects: evidence from de Uruguayan case By Verónica Amarante; Rodrigo Arim; Andrés Dean
  11. El efecto de las condiciones de ingreso al mercado de trabajo en los jóvenes uruguayos. Un análisis basado en la protección de la seguridad social By Paula Carrasco
  12. Equidad en la Diferencia: Políticas para la Movilidad Social de Grupos de Identidad. Misión de Movilidad Social y Equidad By Juan Camilo Cárdenas; Hugo Ñopo; Jorge Luis Castañeda
  13. La Política de Primera Infancia en el Contexto de la Equidad y Movilidad Social en Colombia By Raquel Bernal; Adriana Camacho

  1. By: Stampini, Marco (Inter-American Development Bank); Tornarolli, Leopoldo (CEDLAS-UNLP)
    Abstract: Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) are an endogenous innovation from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) that aims to reduce current poverty while developing the human capital of the next generation, in the attempt to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Pioneered in Brazil and Mexico in the late 1990s, by 2011 CCTs had spread to 18 countries in the region and covered as many as 135 million beneficiaries. In this paper, we use administrative and household survey data to document (i) the evolution of CCTs and poverty in LAC, (ii) the relationship between expanded coverage and the quality of targeting and (iii) the change in beneficiary household characteristics. We show that in most countries the transfers represent over 20% of poor beneficiaries’ incomes, and the poverty headcount index would be on average 13% higher, had CCTs not been implemented. A decade of sustained and widespread economic growth has expanded the fiscal space for social assistance. The largest programs (in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico) have achieved coverage rates around 50-55% of the poor. At the same time, economic growth contributed to reducing the incidence of poverty. As a result, the number of CCT beneficiaries overtook the number of poor in the region in 2006 (using a standardized income poverty line of USD 2.5 per day (purchasing-power-parity adjusted)). Higher coverage was accompanied by increasing levels of leakage. For example, the share of non-poor beneficiaries increased from 46% to 65% in Ecuador over the period 2004-10 and from 40% to 61% in Mexico over the period 2002-10. Beneficiaries’ level of education and participation in formal labor markets have increased. Yet, the analysis of household data shows that CCT beneficiaries remain mostly poor or vulnerable, characterized by extremely low levels of schooling and unstable labor market outcomes. Hence, while further expansion of the programs may in many cases be unnecessary, the need for social assistance and human capital development remains high. The transition to the new generation of CCT programs will require focusing on the quality of the services that accompany the transfers, in order to maximize the impact on current and future poverty.
    Keywords: Socio-Economic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean (SEDLAC), beneficiary characteristics, social assistance, leakage, coverage, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs)
    JEL: I38
    Date: 2012–11
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izapps:pp49&r=lam
  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: 2012–10–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:col:000089:010315&r=lam
  3. By: Lehmann, Hartmut (University of Bologna); Muravyev, Alexander (St. Petersburg University GSOM and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes, using country-level panel data from transition economies and Latin America, the impact of labor market institutions on informal economic activity. The measure of informal economic activity is taken from Schneider et al. (2010), the most comprehensive study to date. The data on institutions, which cover employment protection legislation (EPL), the tax wedge, the unemployment benefit level, unemployment benefit duration and union density, are assembled at the IZA (transition countries) and the World Bank (LAC countries). We find that a more regulated labor market (higher EPL) increases the size of the informal economy. There is also evidence that a larger tax wedge increases informality. The tax wedge elasticity of informal economy, when evaluated at the sample mean, is rather modest, around 0.1%. Our results are broadly in line with the literature, which identifies labor market regulation and the tax wedge as important drivers of informality.
    Keywords: labor market institutions, informality, macroeconometric regressions, transition countries, Latin America
    JEL: E24 J21 J42 O17 P20
    Date: 2012–11
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7035&r=lam
  4. By: Verónica Amarante (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Rodrigo Arim (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Andrés Dean (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: This paper considers the main institutional features of the Uruguayan labor market and its recent evolution, with a focus on unemployment. The main policies aimed at protecting workers against unemployment are analyzed. Using administrative data from social security records, the paper studies the dynamics of the labor market. Particularly examined are inflows and outflows from the formal labor market, as well as the effect, in terms of earnings loss, of episodes out of the formal labor market. Finally, an impact evaluation of recent changes in the unemployment insurance program is presented.
    Keywords: Unemployment insurance, Entry and exit rates, Earnings loss, Impact evaluation
    JEL: J01 J08
    Date: 2012–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-08-12&r=lam
  5. By: Roberto Angulo; Alejandro Gaviria; Gustavo Nicolás Páez; Joao Pedro Azevedo
    Abstract: En Colombia el debate acerca de la movilidad social, debido a la carencia de datos, se ha basado principalmente en anécdotas y opiniones. El presente trabajo exhibe una propuesta metodológica, a partir de encuestas con preguntas retrospectivas, que no solo busca aportar información al debate, sino proponer una forma para que aquellos países que carezcan de encuestas longitudinales debidamente implementadas puedan calcular la movilidad social. Finalmente, buscando hacer un estudio integro, ésta se va a medir de dos formas distintas (educación y nivel socioeconómico) para Colombia, Chile y México (estos últimos se hacen buscando un punto de comparación) y en tres generaciones distintas (para poder describir el comportamiento de la movilidad a través del tiempo).
    Date: 2012–11–20
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:col:000089:010323&r=lam
  6. By: Verónica Amarante (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Andrés Dean (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: This paper looks at labor force mobility in the formal labor market in Uruguay during 1997-2009. The study is based on a sample of longitudianal labor histories taken from the social security administrative records. Different indicators are considered : entry and exit rates, transitions across different labor market states, job to job mobility and non parametric analysis of flows out of the formal labor market. Our results whow significante mobility in terms of entries and exits from the formal labor market, with important heterogeneities between groups. Job to job flows show an important inertia in terms of firm size and income levels. In addition, duration out of the formal labor market for those workers who become beneficiaries of the unemployment insurance program presents a mode around six months, the maximum duration of the program (until its reformulation in 2009). The document shows that survival rats are higher for women, older owrkers, employers and higher income workers. Also, workers in services (where the presence of the public sector is high) and in bigger firms also present higher survival rates.
    Keywords: Labor market dynamics, Transitions, Survival and risk analysis
    JEL: C41 H53 J23
    Date: 2012–11
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-17-12&r=lam
  7. By: Eva Yamila Catela; Mario Cimoli; Gabriel Porcile
    Abstract: This paper discusses the evolution of firmsù productivity and structural heterogeneity (SH) in the Brazilian manufacturing industry in the 2000s. SH is defined (following the Latin American structuralist tradition) as a situation in which a large share of total firms is in the lowest productivity groups of the production structure, and there are very large differences in labour productivity between groups and firms. The paper combines and makes compatible several databases on manufacturing production, innovation and micro-social data for Brazil, in order to measure productivity and SH, to analyze its evolution between 2000 and 2008, and to discuss its determinants. Econometric analyses (k-means cluster methodology to identify productivity groups, and ordered probit models to analyse the determinants of SH) show that increasing returns in innovation and learning prevailed in the 2000s, while policies failed to encourage the catching up process by laggard firms. As a result, SH did not fall in the Brazilian manufacturing sector.
    Keywords: Structural heterogeneity; technological change; productivity growth; technological asymmetries
    Date: 2012–11–29
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2012/20&r=lam
  8. By: Francisco H.G. Ferreira; Marcela Meléndez
    Abstract: Este documento usa las Encuestas de Calidad de Vida de 1997, 2003, 2008 y 2010 para realizar un diagnóstico de la desigualdad en Colombia. Encuentra que aunque ha habido progreso en el tiempo, en niveles absolutos la desigualdad es aún muy alta y lo es también en comparación con la de otros países latinoamericanos. Cuando la población se ordena según el gasto per cápita observado del hogar, las diferencias que emergen entre la calidad de vida de aquellos en los extremos alto y bajo de la distribución son enormes. Los ejercicios realizados muestran que una parte importante de la desigualdad en los resultados que obtienen las personas a lo largo de sus vidas está determinada por sus circunstancias al nacer. El nivel de escolaridad alcanzado por los padres es la circunstancia que individualmente tiene la correlación más alta con los resultados de sus hijos en la edad adulta y están también en desventaja las personas que nacen en municipios pequeños, en el área rural y en las regiones Atlántica y Pacífica. Cuando se controla por otras circunstancias al nacer, el género pierde importancia como explicación de la desigualdad.
    Date: 2012–11–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:col:000089:010320&r=lam
  9. By: Gioia de Melo (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence on peer effects in standardized tests by exploiting a unique data set on social networks in Uruguayan primary schools. The identification method enables one to disentangle endogenous from contextual effects via instrumental variables that emerge naturally from the network structure. Correlated effects are controlled for via classroom fixed effects. I find significant endogenous effects in reading and math: a one-standard deviation increase in peers's scores increases own scores by about 40 percent of a standard deviation. Simulation exercises show that, when schools are stratified by socioeconomic status, peer effects may amplify educational inequalities.
    Keywords: Peer effects, Education, Networks, Inequality.
    JEL: I21 I24 O1
    Date: 2012–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-15-12&r=lam
  10. By: Verónica Amarante (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Rodrigo Arim (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Andrés Dean (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: Abundant empirical evidence both for developed and developing countries finds that the design of unemployment insurance program may have important consequences on labor market outcomes. In particular, the design of UI system can affect both unemployment duration and employment outcomes. Recent changes in the design of the Uruguayan UI have implied modifications that may alter various labor market outcomes. In particular, we assess the impacts of the following modifications: the duration of UI was reduced from six to four months in the case of temporary laid off workers (suspension); the scheme of payments was changed for permanent laid off workers (job loss). Instead of a lump sum during six months, a decreasing scheme of payments was installed; and the duration of the UI can be extended up to one year for workers 50 or older.
    Keywords: Unemployment insurance, Impact evaluation
    JEL: J65 J68
    Date: 2012–09
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-09-12&r=lam
  11. By: Paula Carrasco (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: This paper examines how the characteristics associated with the quality of young' first job in Uruguay determine their future performance in the labor market. Based on the analysis of marginal and treatment effects, applying different methods, we find evidence that supports the hypothesis of segmentation, in which the young can become "trapped" in a situation of vulnerability. Education appears to be the main factor that mitigates these effects. In the case of young workers with high education levels, suboptimal initial employment could be an "entry port" to achieve the protected employment in subsequent jobs.
    Keywords: Youth labor market, Social security, Simultaneous equations model.
    JEL: J13 J42 H55
    Date: 2012–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-13-12&r=lam
  12. By: Juan Camilo Cárdenas; Hugo Ñopo; Jorge Luis Castañeda
    Abstract: Este documento de política se propone (i) documentar la evidencia existente sobre las desigualdades definidas por la pertenencia a un grupo étnico, la identidad sexual o una situación de discapacidad en Colombia, (ii) analizar las mejores prácticas internacionales y nacionales para reducir dichas inequidades y (iii), a partir de (i) y (ii), derivar recomendaciones de política pública que permitan mejorar los procesos de inclusión en la diferencia, y de esta manera la movilidad social, de estos grupos en el país. El diagnóstico se concentrará en identificar las dimensiones sociales o mercados en que se manifiestan las diferentes desigualdades asociadas a la identidad de los individuos por su grupo étnico, género, orientación sexual o estado de discapacidad, aunque en estas últimas dos categorías la escasez de datos limita sustancialmente el análisis. Dentro de las recomendaciones se busca un equilibrio entre la urgente necesidad de intervenir en el corto plazo y la tarea de construir las bases de un cambio cultural y socioeconómico más duradero, buscando para el largo plazo el tránsito hacia una sociedad más incluyente en la diversidad y la diferencia. Para lograr este objetivo se hace una propuesta concreta de creación de un organismo técnico y una estrategia de diseño institucional que apunte a este cambio cultural.
    Date: 2012–10–31
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:col:000089:010319&r=lam
  13. By: Raquel Bernal; Adriana Camacho
    Abstract: En este documento se presenta primero, una breve revisión de la literatura sobre inversiones en la primera infancia y una comparación de retornos de diversos programas de inversión en capital humano en Colombia incluidos los de primera infancia. Segundo, se presenta un diagnóstico de la situación de la primera infancia en el país en términos de población objetivo, atención y cuidado, estado nutricional, de salud y desarrollo cognitivo de niños entre los 0 y 5 años de edad. Finalmente, se exponen los objetivos y diseño ideal de los programas de Primera Infancia, enfatizando en el marco institucional y financiero que se requeriría para implementar de manera exitosa una política de Estado de Primera Infancia.
    Date: 2012–10–24
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:col:000089:010313&r=lam

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