New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2013‒01‒07
seven papers chosen by

  1. Equality of Educational Ppportunity Employing PISA Data: Taking both Achievement and Access into Account By Márcia de Carvalho; Luis Fernando Gamboa; Fábio D. Waltenberg
  2. The impact of economic policy and structural change on gender employment inequality in Latin America, 1990-2010 By Seguino, Stephanie; Braunstein, Elissa
  3. Social Spending and Income Redistribution in Argentina During the 2000s: the Rising Role of Noncontributory Pensions. Extended Version By Nora Lustig; Carola Pessino
  4. Sovereign Dept in Latin America, 1820–1913 By Gerardo della Paolera; Alan M. Taylor
  5. Higher education dropouts, access to credit, and labor market outcomes: Evidence from Chile By Sergio Urzua; Tomas Rau
  6. Social capital and economic performance: trust and distrust in eighteenth-century gold shipments from Brazil By Leonor Freire Costa,; Maria Manuela Rocha & Tanya Araujo,; Tanya Araujo,
  7. Las tecnologías de la información y el cambio climático en países en desarrollo By Fernando Borraz

  1. By: Márcia de Carvalho (Departamento de Estatística and Centro de Estudos sobre Desigualdade e Desenvolvimento (CEDE), Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Brazil); Luis Fernando Gamboa (Facultad de Economía, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia.); Fábio D. Waltenberg (Departamento de Economia and Centro de Estudos sobre Desigualdade e Desenvolvimento (CEDE), Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Brazil)
    Abstract: While PISA datasets have been used for measuring inequality of educational opportunity they have important limitations: (i) samples only cover a relatively limited fraction of developing countries’ cohorts of 15-year-olds, and (ii) such fractions are not uniform across countries and waves. This casts doubts on the reliability of such measures when used for international and intertemporal comparisons: a milder calculated inequality of opportunity in a given country at a given moment might simply be the artifact of a more restricted and homogeneous sample. Previous attempts of addressing this problem have focused on explicitly reconstructing full samples. Here an alternative path is followed, relying on bidimensional indices, in which equality of opportunity in achievement is the first dimension and equality of opportunity for access to the exam is the second one. We compute the two dimensions and aggregate them using alternative techniques. Employing PISA 2006/2009 data for six Latin-American countries we observe rank reversals when comparing results based upon our indices and those based upon conventional indices of equality of opportunity for achievement. We then generalize our approach allowing for more dimensions and parameterizing the dimensions’ weights.
    Keywords: equality of opportunity, measurement of inequality of opportunity, multidimensional measures, PISA test scores, Latin America.Classification-JEL: I24, O54.
    Date: 2012–11
  2. By: Seguino, Stephanie; Braunstein, Elissa
    Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to analyze the impact of economic policy and structural change on gender inequality in employment and economic opportunities for a set of 18 Latin American countries over the time period 1990-2010. We use three different methodologies to explore this question: 1) statistical description of changes in a range of gender inequality in economic opportunity variables in the 1990s versus the 2000s; 2) estimates of the growth elasticity of employment for women and for men; and 3) econometric analysis of the determinants of gendered employment and unemployment levels, as well as the determinants of gender inequality in these variables.
    Keywords: Latin America; gender; inequality; structural change; macroeconomic policy
    JEL: C51 E62 O54 B54
    Date: 2012–08–15
  3. By: Nora Lustig (Tulane University and Center for Global Development and Inter-American Dialogue); Carola Pessino (Department of Economics at the Universidad del CEMA, Argentina and Center for Global Development, Washington, DC)
    Abstract: Between 2003 and 2009, Argentina’s social spending as a share of GDP increased by 7.6 percentage points. Marginal benefit incidence analysis for 2003, 2006, and 2009 suggests that the contribution of cash transfers to the reduction of disposable income inequality and poverty rose markedly between 2006 and 2009 primarily due to the launching of a noncontributory pension program – the pension moratorium – in 2004. Noncontributory pensions as a share of GDP rose by 2.2 percentage points between 2003 and 2009 and entailed a redistribution of income to the poor, and from the formal sector pensioners with above minimum pensions to the beneficiaries of the pension moratorium. The redistributive impact of the expansion of public spending on education and health was also sizeable and equalizing, but to a lesser degree. An assessment of fiscal funding sources puts the sustainability of the redistributive policies into question, unless nonsocial spending is significantly cut.
    Keywords: social spending, benefit incidence, inequality, poverty, Argentina.
    JEL: D31 H22 I38
    Date: 2012–11
  4. By: Gerardo della Paolera; Alan M. Taylor
    Abstract: This paper examines sovereign lending to Latin America and the Caribbean from 1820 to 1913. We examine four waves of capital flows where defaults were followed by a return to market access. In spite of extended default, countries kept promising high returns that attracted international investors again and again: financial autarky thus gave way to eras of high integration to global markets as measured by sovereign risk pricing. We discuss imperfections of the sovereign debt institutional context in the region and discuss a menu of options that some countries used to seek funds in the global financial markets after defaults. The parallel with the modern Latin American and Caribbean sovereign bond market experience is striking.
    Date: 2012–09–19
  5. By: Sergio Urzua (University of Maryland); Tomas Rau (Universidad Católica de Chile)
    Abstract: In this paper we estimate a structural model of sequential decision of higher education and dropout to evaluate the impact of short-term credit constraint on dropouts. In particular, we analyze the impact on dropouts of the State Guaranteed Credit program (CAE) the most important funding program for higher education in Chile. The model allows for heterogeneity in observable and unobservable individual characteristics (Heckman et al. 2006) and controls for selectivity. Our data combine different sources of information, including individual data from standardized tests scores (PSU), higher education enrollment and unemployment insurance system (UI) data. The results show the important role of the abilities of individuals on educational choice. Individuals with higher ability tend to enroll in universities and not to drop out (sorting on ability). We show that household income and access to credit influence the probability of dropping out. Specifically, the results suggest that CAE has a positive impact on reducing the dropouts from higher education, where the program reduces the first year dropout rate in 15.5% for those enrolled in a university and a 24% for enrolled in a Center or Technical Formation (CFT) and Professional Institute (IP). We also found that the CAE is more effective in reducing the probability of dropping out for low-skill individuals from low-income families. However, our results show that CAE beneficiaries have lower wages than those who are not beneficiaries (even after controlling for characteristics, ability and selectivity bias). We attribute this to a incentive problems in the design of CAE which may lead to higher education institutions to reduce the quality of education. The evidence then calls to revise the design of CAE.
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Leonor Freire Costa,; Maria Manuela Rocha & Tanya Araujo,; Tanya Araujo,
    Abstract: This article discusses agency problems in a period of market boom. It takes Portuguese trade with Brazil as a case study to discuss the impact of colonial market expansion on social capital. The hypothesis is that social capital depletion prompted an uneven distribution of information and a limited access to honest individuals, who might afford a premium to certain forms of agency. Given the states inability to provide legal sanctioning in colonial regions, this article focuses on private-order mechanisms which were effective for selecting reputable individuals. The exploration of network analysis identifies the mechanism that responds to such an adverse environment and supports the argument that business organizations which counted on the geographical mobility of agents had comparative advantages. The approach followed in this article brings new insights on informal institutional arrangements and on itinerancy in contexts of low levels of social capital.
    Date: 2012–07
  7. By: Fernando Borraz
    Abstract: En un artículo de prensa en el International Herald Tribune del 27 de septiembre de 2007, Ban Kimoon, secretario general de Naciones Unidas establecía: “A partir de ahora el cambio climático no es un tema principalmente del medio ambiente (…) Como un tema político, el cambio climático se convierte en estrechamente vinculado con el desarrollo económico (…)”. Este estudio analiza el vínculo entre las tecnologías de la información y comunicación y el cambio climático en países en desarrollo y plantea una agenda de investigación sobre el tema. Las TIC tienen un rol relevante en los países en desarrollo por su aporte en reducir las emisiones de otros sectores de la economía; por ejemplo, a través del teletrabajo, las teleconferencias y los sistemas inteligentes, que permiten una menor utilización de energía y, por lo tanto, menores emisiones de gases. Sin embargo, el proceso de adaptación mediante TIC debe tener en cuenta la desigualdad y pobreza en países en desarrollo, con el fin de evitar exacerbar las mismas.
    Date: 2012–12–16

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