New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2014‒03‒01
four papers chosen by

  1. Factors that Matter for Financial Inclusion: Evidence from Peru By Noelia Camara; Ximena Pena; David Tuesta
  2. Mental retirement and non-contributory pensions for the elderly poor in Peru By Rafael NOVELLA; Javier OLIVERA
  3. Reshaping financial systems. New technologies and financial innovations - evidence from the United States, Mexico and Brazil By Ewa Lechman; Adam Marszk
  4. The Effects of Shared School Technology Access on Students Digital Skills in Peru By Bet, German; Cristia, Julián P.; Ibarrarán, Pablo

  1. By: Noelia Camara; Ximena Pena; David Tuesta
    Abstract: This study comprises a quantitative approach to the determinants of financial inclusion in Peru based on micro-data from surveys. Significant correlations are used to identify those socioeconomic characteristics that may affect financial inclusion (or exclusion) of households and enterprises. We also analyse the sensitivity to some barriers on the part of individuals who do not use banking services. The results show that the traditionally more vulnerable groups (women, individuals living in rural areas and young people) are those with the greatest difficulties in accessing the formal financial system. When it comes to financial products, loans and mortgages appear to be better drivers for financial inclusion than saving products. For enterprises, formality and education stand out as significant factors for financial inclusion. Finally, for individuals excluded from the financial system, factors such as age, gender, education and income level seem to affect perception of the barriers to financial inclusion. The identification of individual characteristics that could affect financial inclusion provides useful empirical evidence for designing policies that promote more inclusive financial systems.
    Keywords: financial inclusion, economic development, personal finance
    JEL: D14 G21
    Date: 2014–02
  2. By: Rafael NOVELLA; Javier OLIVERA
    Abstract: This paper analyses the effects of retirement on cognitive abilities for the elderly poor on the basis of the “mental retirement” effect that accompanies retirement. Given the recent emergence and expansion of non-contributory pension programs to alleviate poverty in old-age across low and middle income countries, attention should be pay to the potential acceleration of cognitive decline when individuals retire, i.e. when there is a decrease in their engagement on cognitive demanding activities. We use a unique and recent survey of the poor elderly in Peru (ESBAM) which includes a cognitive test and serves as the baseline for a non-contributory pension program. We find a significant negative effect of retirement on cognitive ability after controlling for a number of demographics and objective health measures, and even after applying instrumental variables to deal with the potential endogeneity of retirement.
    Date: 2014–02
  3. By: Ewa Lechman (Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland); Adam Marszk (Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland)
    Abstract: The paper unveils whether ICT diffusion determines development of financial innovation in emerging economies. Particularly, we examine the impact of ICT adoption on changing values of exchange traded funds in Brazil and Mexico, comparing it to the United States as reference country (benchmark). Our methodological framework includes descriptive statistics, logistic growth models (used to estimate ETFs growth) and generalized linear models (used to check for relationship between ICT adoption and ETFs value). In each case we run country-specific estimates. Data on ICT adoption (approximated by Internet Users and Fixed Broadband Subscriptions) are exclusively derived from World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database 2012 (16th edition), and exchange traded funds from funds’ providers and reports published by BlackRock. Analysis period is set for 2000-2012. Empirical findings collectively conclude that in all three countries, growth of ICT was pervasive, and this was accompanied by fast development of exchange traded funds in Mexico and in the United States, measured by increases in assets under management. Moreover, in the period 2002-2012 Mexico has caught up with the United States in terms of ETFs share in total investment funds (sum of assets of ETFs and mutual funds). In Brazil, even though ETFs growth rates were high, in 2012 share of ETFs in investment funds remained at a relatively lower level of 0.17%. Additionally, the relationship between ICT adoption and ETFs development was reported as strong, positive and statistically significant in each of analyzed countries.
    Keywords: emerging markets, ICT, ETFs
    JEL: G11 G23 O16 O33 O57
    Date: 2014–01
  4. By: Bet, German (Northwestern University); Cristia, Julián P. (Inter-American Development Bank); Ibarrarán, Pablo (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of increased shared computer access in secondary schools in Peru. Administrative data are used to identify, through propensity-score matching, two groups of schools with similar observable educational inputs but different intensity in computer access. Extensive primary data collected from the 202 matched schools are used to determine whether increased shared computer access at schools affects digital skills and academic achievement. Results suggest that small increases in shared computer access, one more computer per 40 students, can produce large increases in digital skills (0.3 standard deviations). No effects are found on test scores in Math and Language.
    Keywords: technology, education, digital skills, impact evaluation
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2014–02

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