nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2013‒06‒24
nine papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
University of the Republic

  1. Commodity prices and the business cycle in Latin America: Living and dying by commodities By Maximo Camacho; Gabriel Perez-Quiros
  2. Social Spending and Income Redistribution in Argentina during the 2000s: The Rising Role of Noncontributory Pensions By Nora Lustig; Carola Pessino
  3. Innovation for economic performance: The case of Latin American firms By Arias Ortiz, Elena; Crespi, Gustavo; Tacsir, Ezequiel; Vargas, Fernando; Zuniga, Pluvia
  4. R&D and Non-R&D Innovators in the Financial Crisis: the Role of Binding Credit Constraints By Sandra M. Leitner; Robert Stehrer
  5. Market Openness and Culture as Factors that Shape the Gender Gap: a Comparative Study of Urban Latin America and East Asia (1960-2000) By Enriqueta Camps
  6. Can conditional cash transfers compensate for a father's absence ? By Fitzsimons, Emla; Mesnard, Alice
  7. Trade Liberalization and Skill Premium in Chile By Yoshimichi Murakami
  8. Development Chutes and Ladders: A Joint Impact Evaluation of Asset and Cash Transfers in Brazil By Fitz, Dylan
  9. Social spending, distribution, and equality of opportunities : opportunity incidence analysis By Cuesta, Jose

  1. By: Maximo Camacho (Universidad de Murcia); Gabriel Perez-Quiros (Banco de España and CEPR)
    Abstract: We analyze the dynamic interactions between commodity prices and output growth of the seven biggest Latin American exporters: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Using a novel defi nition of Markovswitching impulse response functions, we fi nd that the response of their respective output growth to commodity price shocks is time-dependent, size-dependent and sign-dependent. Overall, the major evidence of asymmetries in output growth responses occurs when commodity price shocks lead to regime shifts. Accordingly, we consider that the design of optimal counter-cyclical stabilization policies in this region should take into account that the reactions of economic activity vary considerably across business cycle regimes.
    Keywords: commodities, business cycle, non linearities
    JEL: F44 Y E32
    Date: 2013–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:bde:wpaper:1304&r=lam
  2. By: Nora Lustig (Tulane University); Carola Pessino (Universidad del CEMA)
    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 non-social spending is significantly cut.
    Keywords: social spending, benefit incidence, inequality, poverty, Argentina
    JEL: D31 H22 I38
    Date: 2013–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:tul:ceqwps:1305&r=lam
  3. By: Arias Ortiz, Elena (Education Division, Inter-American Development Bank); Crespi, Gustavo (Competitiveness and Innovation Division, Inter-American Development Bank); Tacsir, Ezequiel (UNU-MERIT / MGSoG, and Competitiveness and Innovation Division, Inter-American Development Bank); Vargas, Fernando (Competitiveness and Innovation Division, Inter-American Development Bank); Zuniga, Pluvia (UNU-MERIT / MGSoG)
    Abstract: In this paper, a wide range of innovation indicators are analysed in order to describe the innovation behaviour of manufacturing firms in LAC using the recently released Enterprise Surveys 2010. The Enterprise Surveys define innovation rates as the share of firms introducing product and process innovations. The survey also measures the proportion of firms investing in research and development (R&D) and filing for intellectual property rights (IPRs). The aim of this note is to understand the main characteristics of innovative firms and to gather new evidence with regard to the nature of the innovation process in the region. Statistics about the performance of LAC firms are provided using different types of indicators to measure firms' innovative behaviour. In particular, differences in innovation performance and effort by country, sector, and key firm characteristics, such as being a multinational or exporter, are explored. Those firms in LAC that are top R&D performers are identified, and the analysis closes with an exploration of firm characteristics that strongly correlate with the probability of being a top R&D performer in the region.
    Keywords: innovation, research and development, Latin America, enterprise surveys
    JEL: D22 O31 O33 O34
    Date: 2013
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:dgr:unumer:2013028&r=lam
  4. By: Sandra M. Leitner; Robert Stehrer (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: In the course of tapping into external funding sources, innovators frequently encounter binding and insurmountable financing constraints, prompting them to discontinue, postpone or altogether abandon some of their innovative efforts, a key source of their growth and survival. This is even more so during economic crises, when profits collapse, internal resources dwindle and external sources risk drying up altogether. Against that backdrop, the analysis identifies the effects of prevailing credit constraints on innovative efforts of both formal R&D innovators as well as non-R&D innovators, which have mostly been neglected so far. It uses Latin America as its empirical platform and demonstrates that irrespective of the global financial crisis, which manoeuvred global financial markets on the verge of collapse, R&D innovators faced binding credit constraints while non-R&D innovators were unconstrained and remained unaffected by the crisis. In addition, there is no evidence that monetary policies aimed at stabilizing capital markets during the crisis had any noticeable alleviating effect on a firm’s probability to pursue R&D-based innovative activities. It also shows that innovative efforts of R&D and non-R&D innovators were driven by entirely different firm characteristics, while, on the contrary, almost identical characteristics determined whether both types of innovators faced any credit constraints at all.
    Keywords: credit constraints, R&D and non-R&D innovators, financial crisis, Latin America
    JEL: C35 G01 G32 O31
    Date: 2013–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:wii:wpaper:95&r=lam
  5. By: Enriqueta Camps
    Abstract: In this paper we present: 1. The available data on comparative gender inequality at the macroeconomic level and 2. Gender inequality measures at the microeconomic and case study level. We see that market openness has a significant effect on the narrowing of the human capital gender gap. Globalization and market openness stand as factors that improve both the human capital endowments of women and their economic position. But we also see that the effects of culture and religious beliefs are very different. While Catholicism has a statistically significant influence on the improvement of the human capital gender gap, Muslim and Buddhist religious beliefs have the opposite effect and increase human capital gender differences. In the second global era, some Catholic Latin American countries benefited from market openness in terms of the human capital and income gender gap, whereas we find the opposite impact in Buddhist and Muslim countries like China and South Korea where women’s economic position has worsened both in terms of human capital and wage inequality.
    Keywords: wage inequality, gender gap, market openness, human capital, religion, culture
    JEL: J22 J13 J16 N3
    Date: 2013–05
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:bge:wpaper:694&r=lam
  6. By: Fitzsimons, Emla; Mesnard, Alice
    Abstract: This paper investigates how the permanent departure of the father from a household affects children's school enrollment and work participation in rural Colombia. The results indicate that the permanent departure of the father decreases children's school enrollment by approximately 5 percentage points and increases child labor by 3 percentage points. This paper explores the rollout of a conditional-cash-transfer program during the period of study and shows that this program counteracts these adverse effects. When coupled with other evidence, this finding strongly suggests that the channel through which the father's departure most affects children is by reducing the income of very poor households, which tightens their liquidity constraints. This finding also highlights the important safety-net role played by welfare programs with respect to disadvantaged households, particularly because these households are unlikely to have formal or informal mechanisms with which to insure themselves against such vagaries.
    Keywords: Labor Policies,Street Children,Primary Education,Youth and Governance,Population Policies
    Date: 2013–06–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6476&r=lam
  7. By: Yoshimichi Murakami (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)
    Abstract: This study empirically analyzes whether trade liberalization increases wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers in Chile during 1974–2007. The findings show that tariff reductions contributed to increases in wage inequality by causing price reductions of unskilled labor-intensive goods protected with the highest tariffs prior to trade liberalization. In contrast, we found no evidence that new technologies embodied in capital and intermediate goods caused skill-biased technological change. In addition, this study shows that an increase in the relative supply of college equivalents did not contribute to wage equalization, while an increase in the minimum wages contributed to wage equalization during the period of the democratic governments.
    Date: 2013–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:kob:dpaper:dp2013-19&r=lam
  8. By: Fitz, Dylan
    Abstract: Land reforms provide large transfers of assets that enable households to increase investments in agriculture, but they can also lead to increases in human capital. Similarly, conditional cash transfers incentivize human capital investments, but they can also increase productive investments in agriculture. Thus, both programs have direct and indirect eects and may even complement each other, as land reforms provide productive assets that increase the returns to investments while cash transfers provide liquidity that make investments possible. In contrast, the goals of each program may conict as they compete for scarce household resources. This paper jointly analyzes a recent land reform program and conditional cash transfer in Brazil in order to test for independent and joint treatment eects. Although neither program increases total monthly per capita income levels, the land reform increases agricultural asset holdings while the conditional cash transfer reduces some agricultural investments. Joint participation leads to a more balanced investment strategy, although it forces households to concentrate labor in own farm production rather than nonfarm employment. Collectively, this suggests that participation in both programs enables households to follow pluriactive pathways with broad investment strategies that may provide future nancial gains and greater freedom.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, International Relations/Trade, Land Economics/Use,
    Date: 2013–06–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ags:aaea13:150254&r=lam
  9. By: Cuesta, Jose
    Abstract: Existing evidence forms a body of"conventional wisdom"on the redistributive impact of fiscal policies that has been recently questioned by more disaggregated analyses. This paper proposes an additional extension to the traditional benefit incidence analysis to explore further the extent to which the conventional wisdom holds, as well as to provide effective guidance in fiscal decision making. The benefit incidence analysis extension includes linking fiscal policies with the concept of equality of opportunities. The paper describes this approach and showcases the application of the proposed"opportunity incidence analysis"to six pilot countries: Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Tajikistan, Thailand, and Paraguay. Three main contributions stand out: first, opportunity incidence analysis complements traditional benefit incidence analysis by applying its mechanics to a more forward looking concept of equal opportunity. Second, opportunities can be used to target public spending with higher precision. Third, micro-simulations can be used to understand the cost-effectiveness of alternative spending interventions that seek to improve equality of opportunities. All of these results complement the diagnosis produced by traditional incidence analysis and provide useful information to guide specific policy decisions.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,Subnational Economic Development,Public Sector Expenditure Policy,Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Health Systems Development&Reform
    Date: 2013–06–01
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6489&r=lam

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