nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2013‒06‒09
eight papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Brasil: gobernanza regulatoria del sector energético y desarrollo social By Vanesa Valverde Camiña
  2. The Effect of Transport Policies on Car Use: A Bundling Model with Applications By Francisco Gallego; Juan-Pablo Montero; Christian Salas
  3. The Income Effect of Unconditional Grants: A Reduction in the Collection Effort of Municipalities By Javiera Bravo
  4. Disparidades do Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) Per Capita no Brasil: Uma Análise de Convergência em Diferentes Escalas Regionais (1970- 2008) By Guilherme Mendes Resende; João Carlos Ramos Magalhães
  5. A Distribuição de Renda nas Pesquisas Domiciliares Brasileiras: Harmonização e Comparação Entre Censos, PNADS e POFS By Pedro Herculano Guimarães Ferreira de Souza
  6. Evaluating Multiple Spatial Dimensions of Economic Growth in Brazil Using Spatial Panel Data Models (1970 - 2000) By Guilherme Mendes Resende; Alexandre Xavier Ywata de Carvalho; Patrícia Alessandra Morita Sakowski
  7. The Weight of the Crisis: Evidence from Newborns in Argentina By Bozzoli Carlos G.; Quintana-Domeque Climent
  8. Biofuel Taxes, Subsidies, and Mandates: Impacts on US and Brazilian Markets By Bruce A. Babcock; Marcelo Moreira; Yixing Peng

  1. By: Vanesa Valverde Camiña (EEHA - Escuela de Estudios Hispano Americanos - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - CSIC (SPAIN))
    Abstract: The discovery of new oil fields and the bid for ecological fuels make Brazil world energy leader. However, this achievement cannot only be maintained thanks to the country's wealth of natural resources but rather it requires a model based on efficient and sustainable energy policies. Brazil's energy model seems to meet these criteria, on the one hand with a new hydrocarbons law that gives the government control of these resources and on the other hand with the production of biofuels and ethanol. Although we could consider that the cause of success in the case of Brazil is the availability of natural resources, in this study we argue that the regulatory governance of the energy sector developed in the 1990s in Brazil is a direct, explicative factor, giving the country a strategic position in Latin America. Finally, we will try to explain how energy development can influence the social development through one of the most unequal countries in Latin America.
    Keywords: Regulatory governance, Energy sector, Social development, Universalization, Efficiency
    Date: 2012
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00825681&r=lam
  2. By: Francisco Gallego; Juan-Pablo Montero; Christian Salas
    Abstract: In an effort to reduce pollution and congestion, Latin American cities have experimented with different policies to persuade drivers to give up their cars in favor of public transport. Borrowing from the bundling literature, the paper presents a novel model of vertical and horizontal differentiation applied to transport decisions: households differ in their preferences for transportation modes -cars vs public transport- and in the amount of travel. The model captures in a simple way a household's response to a policy shock, i.e., how to allocate existing car capacity, if any, to competing uses (peak vs off-peak hours) and how to adjust such capacity overtime. Using few observables, the model is then used to analyze the effects of two major transport policies: the driving restriction program introduced in Mexico-City in November of 1989 -Hoy-No-Circula (HNC)- and the public transport reform carried out in Santiago in February of 2007 -Transantiago (TS). The model's simulated effects are not only consistent with the econometric estimates in Gallego et al (2013) but also help understand the mechanisms that explain them.
    Keywords: public transport, driving restrictions, pollution, congestion
    JEL: R41 Q53 Q58
    Date: 2013
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ioe:doctra:432&r=lam
  3. By: Javiera Bravo
    Abstract: This paper presents research on the effect of unconditional grants on local government revenue in Chile: the receipt of transfers may engender an income effect that reduces the collection effort of municipalities. Grants are endogenous and we exploit a kink in a component of the Chilean formula for resource distribution for a panel of 340 Chilean municipalities from 1990 to 2007. We find empirical evidence that for Chilean municipalities, unconditional grants have a negative effect on local revenue. Specifically, an increase in per capita grant amount of one standard deviation is associated with a decrease of between 0.25 and 0.32 standard deviations in local per capita revenue.
    Keywords: fiscal decentralization, intergovernmental grants, local revenue collection, regression kink design
    JEL: H2 H3 H7 R5
    Date: 2013
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ioe:doctra:437&r=lam
  4. By: Guilherme Mendes Resende; João Carlos Ramos Magalhães
    Abstract: Este texto investiga a evolução das disparidades do produto interno bruto (PIB) per capita brasileiro – cunhada na literatura de convergência sigma (σ) –, entre 1970 e 2008, em quatro escalas regionais (municípios, microrregiões, mesorregiões e Unidades da Federação), utilizando quatro diferentes estatísticas: coeficiente de variação, desvio-padrão, índice de Theil e índice de Gini. Os resultados revelam que, quanto menor a escala de análise, menor é a queda da desigualdade entre 1970 e 2008. A mesma análise feita para dois subconjuntos (ou clubes) de regiões mostra que a significativa queda da desigualdade ocorrida entre os estados do Norte e Nordeste desaparece quando a escala de análise é menor e, segundo alguns indicadores, chega a aumentar entre as microrregiões e municípios. No entanto, os resultados para o resto do país não são tão afetados pela mudança de escala. Assim, pode-se sugerir a ocorrência de processos distintos de convergência do PIB per capita entre os dois grupos de regiões analisados. Isto é, verifica-se um processo de divergência dos PIBs per capita em âmbito microrregional e municipal nas regiões Norte e Nordeste e um processo de convergência no “resto do país”. Este resultado mostrou que não existe uma escala de análise capaz de sintetizar toda a dinâmica regional e que seja mais precisa que as outras, sendo que uma abordagem multiescalar revela-se útil para um melhor entendimento das disparidades dos PIBs per capita regionais no Brasil. This paper investigates the evolution of the Brazilian per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – known as sigma (σ)-convergence –, between 1970 and 2008 across four geographic scales (municipalities, micro-regions, meso-regions and states), using four different statistics – coefficient of variation, standard deviation, Theil index and Gini index. The results reveal that the smaller the scale of analysis the smaller the decrease in inequality between 1970 and 2008. The same analysis conducted for two groups (or clubs) shows that the significant reduction in inequality which happened among the states from the North and Northeast disappears as the scale of analysis gets smaller and, according to two of the four statistics, it even increases between the micro-regions and municipalities. As for the rest of the country the results are not strongly affected by the scale reduction. This suggests the occurrence of a distinct convergence process of the per capita GPD between the two groups of regions, characterized by the divergence of the per capita GDP among the micro-regions and municipalities from the North and Northeast and the convergence for the “rest of the country”. This result shows that there is not one scale that is able to synthesize all the regional dynamics and that is more accurate than the others. In this sense, a multi-scale approach may be useful for a better understanding of the regional per capita GDP disparities in Brazil.
    Date: 2013–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1833&r=lam
  5. By: Pedro Herculano Guimarães Ferreira de Souza
    Abstract: O objetivo deste trabalho é documentar e explicar as diferenças nas distribuições de renda dos censos demográficos, das Pesquisas Nacionais por Amostra de Domicílios (PNADs) e das Pesquisas de Orçamentos Familiares (POFs). A principal hipótese é que um número relativamente pequeno de procedimentos de harmonização, que aproxima o desenho das três pesquisas, é capaz de promover grande convergência dos resultados. Os resultados confirmam, em larga medida, esta hipótese: o retrato que emerge do Brasil nos censos, nas PNADs e nas POFs é coerente e robusto após a harmonização.Ainda que haja pequenas variações quanto aos níveis de renda, desigualdade e pobreza,pode-se afirmar que, pelo menos de acordo com os dados disponíveis até o momento,o crescimento da renda e a queda da desigualdade e da pobreza podem ser considerados fenômenos bem estabelecidos. Grande parte das discrepâncias entre censos, PNADs e POFs decorre de questões amostrais, conceituais e de tratamento que podem ser minimizadas com os procedimentos sugeridos. O desenho de cada pesquisa influencia fortemente seus resultados e, portanto, não se deve estranhar que os números produzidos não sejam diretamente comparáveis. This paper documents and tries to explain the discrepancies between the income distributions reported by the three major household surveys in Brazil: the Census, the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD) and the Pesquisa de Orçamentos Familiares (POF). The main hypothesis is that key differences in survey design are responsible for these results, which can be remedied by a relatively small number of harmonization procedures. Our analysis largely confirms this hypothesis: the harmonized data yields very consistent results in the Census, the PNAD and the POF. Although the levels of income, inequality and poverty are not exactly the same, the trends are very similar: income growth, the fall in inequality and poverty reduction in the past decade can be considered well-established facts. Most of the differences between the income data in the three surveys can be explained by disparities in sample design, conceptual framework and the statistical treatment of the data. Thus, it is not surprising that the three surveys report divergent figures, as they are not directly comparable.
    Date: 2013–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1832&r=lam
  6. By: Guilherme Mendes Resende; Alexandre Xavier Ywata de Carvalho; Patrícia Alessandra Morita Sakowski
    Abstract: O objetivo deste estudo consiste em avaliar os resultados de estimações de crescimento econômico regional em múltiplas escalas espaciais, utilizando modelos de painel espacial. As escalas espaciais examinadas são áreas mínimas comparáveis, microrregiões, mesorregiões e estados no período entre 1970 e 2000. Modelos alternativos de painel espacial com efeitos fixos foram estimados sistematicamente nestas escalas espaciais para demonstrar que os coeficientes estimados variam de acordo com a escala utilizada. Os resultados mostram que as conclusões obtidas a partir de regressões de crescimento dependem da escolha da escala espacial. Primeiramente, a hipótese de convergência de clube não pode ser rejeitada, sugerindo haver diferenças nos processos de convergência entre o norte e o sul do Brasil. Além disso, quanto mais agregada for a escala espacial utilizada, maior será o coeficiente positivo da média de anos de escolaridade. O efeito de custos de transporte é positivo e estatisticamente significante para o crescimento econômico apenas no nível do estado. Os coeficientes da densidade populacional mostram que áreas mais densamente povoadas são prejudiciais para o crescimento econômico, sugerindo efeitos de congestionamento no nível de áreas mínimas comparáveis (AMCs), microrregiões e mesorregiões, mas a magnitude destes coeficientes varia de acordo com a escala geográfica. Finalmente, os coeficientes de transbordamento espacial também variam conforme a escala espacial sob análise. Em geral, estes coeficientes são estatisticamente significantes nos níveis de AMC, microrregião e mesorregião; mas, no nível estadual, deixam de ser estatisticamente significantes, sugerindo que transbordamentos espaciais são limitados no espaço. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the results of regional economic growth estimates at multiple spatial scales using spatial panel data models. The spatial scales examined are minimum comparable areas, micro-regions, meso-regions and states over the period between 1970 and 2000. Alternative spatial panel data models with fixed effects were systematically estimated across those spatial scales to demonstrate that the estimated coefficients change with the scale level. The results show that the conclusions obtained from growth regressions are dependent on the choice of spatial scale. First, club convergence hypothesis cannot be rejected suggesting there are differences in the convergence processes between the north and south in Brazil. Moreover, the positive average-years-of-schooling coefficient gets larger as more aggregate spatial scales are used. Transportation costs effect is positive and statistically significant to economic growth only at the state level. Population density coefficients show that higher populated areas are harmful to economic growth demonstrating somehow that congestion effects are operating at the MCA, micro-regional and meso-regional spatial scales, but their magnitudes vary across the geographic scales. Finally, the values of spatial spillovers coefficients also vary according to the spatial scale under analysis. In general, such coefficients are statistically significant at the MCA, micro-regional and meso-regional levels; but, at state level those coefficients are no longer statistically significant suggesting that spatial spillovers are bounded in space.
    Date: 2013–04
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ipe:ipetds:1830a&r=lam
  7. By: Bozzoli Carlos G. (Torcuato Di Tella University); Quintana-Domeque Climent (University of Alicante and Iza)
    Abstract: We investigate how birth weight in Argentina responds to prenatal economic fluctuations during the period from January 2000 to December 2005, and document its procyclicality, in particular with respect to the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. We find evidence that the birth weight of children of low-educated mothers is sensitive to macroeconomic fluctuations during both the first and third trimester of pregnancy, while that of high-educated mothers only reacts to the first trimester of pregnancy. Our results are consistent with low-educated women facing credit constraints and suffering from both nutritional deprivation and maternal stress, while high-educated women are only affected by stress.
    Keywords: Argentina, birth weight, trimester of pregnancy, economic crisis, macroeconomic shocks
    JEL: I12 E32
    Date: 2013–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:fbb:wpaper:2013125&r=lam
  8. By: Bruce A. Babcock (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD)); Marcelo Moreira; Yixing Peng
    Abstract: Future prospects for biofuels in the United States and Brazil depend on government policies, the prices of gasoline and feedstocks, and the ability of each country’s fleet of vehicles to use ethanol. Because trade barriers between the two countries are low, the prospects for biofuels in each country are dependent on what goes on in the other. To help sort out the complex web of interrelated markets and fuels requires a model of the markets in which the fuels are traded. In this paper we present an updated and expanded market model of biofuels in Brazil and the United States and use the model to help understand the economic impacts of the US biodiesel tax credit and a recent reduction in the tax on ethanol in Brazil. The model looks ahead to the 2013/14 corn marketing year in the United States that begins on September 1, 2013. Crop acreage is assumed known and fixed. For 500 different yield levels of US corn and soybeans, Brazilian soybean, sugarcane and recoverable sugar yields, Argentine soybean yields, gasoline prices and demand for Brazilian exports, the model solves for market-clearing prices and quantities of US corn ethanol and biodiesel, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, and world prices of corn, soybeans, soybean oil and meal, and sugar. US biofuel mandates are a major driver of the market solutions. The competition between biodiesel and sugarcane ethanol to meet the US advanced mandate and the competition between sugarcane ethanol and corn ethanol to meet the US conventional mandate as well as ethanol demand in Brazil are what determine model solutions. The outcome of this competition is a set of equilibrium RIN (Renewable Identification Number) prices that reflect underlying biofuel supply and demand conditions. The model is calibrated to USDA’s May 2013 WASDE projections and to Brazil’s latest CONAB projections. Both sets of projections indicate that corn and sugarcane supplies are likely to increase from recent levels, lowering the cost of producing ethanol. This lower cost helps to hold down conventional biofuel RIN prices, which still must be high enough to induce ethanol consumption beyond the 10 percent blend wall in the United States. In Brazil, more abundant sugarcane supplies will result in increased ethanol production and consumption, but because the demand for ethanol in Brazil is price elastic, market prices will not drop much from recent levels. The biodiesel tax credit increases the competitiveness of US biodiesel relative to sugarcane ethanol. Thus, biodiesel production will likely exceed levels needed to meet the biomass-based diesel mandate and will result in lower imports of sugarcane ethanol. The decline in Brazilian ethanol exports decreases Brazilian domestic demand for imported US corn ethanol so the extent of two-way trade in ethanol is reduced under the tax credit. However, demand for ethanol in Brazil is strong enough, and the cost of producing corn ethanol will likely be low enough, to induce strong exports of corn ethanol to Brazil even with the tax credit. The strong demand for ethanol in Brazil due to its large fleet of flex vehicles is further boosted by the reduction in one of Brazil’s ethanol taxes. Because of the availability of corn ethanol, much of the ethanol consumption increase in Brazil caused by the lower tax is met by increased imports of US corn ethanol.
    Date: 2013–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ias:fpaper:13-sr108&r=lam

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