nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2014‒08‒28
fourteen papers chosen by

  1. Evolving wage cyclicality in Latin America By Messina, Julian; Gambetti, Luca
  2. The Latin American Efficiency Gap By Francesco Caselli
  3. The age of microfinance: Destroying Latin American economies from the bottom up By Bateman, Milford
  4. Governance of Multi-sectoral Interventions to Promote Healthy Living in Latin America and the Caribbean By María E. Bonilla-Chacín
  5. Terms of Trade and Total Factor Productivity: Empirical evidence from Latin American emerging markets By Castillo, Paul; Rojas, Youel
  6. Agricultural Supply Chain Risk Assessment in the Caribbean By Diego Arias Carballo; dos Reis Laura
  7. Too Late but Profitable: Railroads in Colombia during 1920-1950 By Adolfo Meisel R.; María Teresa Ramírez G.; Juliana Jaramillo E.
  8. Development without Deforestation By Carlos Ferreira de Abreu Castro,; Guilherme B. R. Lambais
  9. Confidence in the Judicial System and Court Experience: Evidence from Brazil By Joelson Oliveira Sampaio; Rodrigo de Losso da Silveira Bueno; Luciana Gross Cunha
  10. Volatility and Inequality as Constraints to Shared Prosperity : Paraguay Equity Assessment By Santiago Garriga; Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva; Maria Ana Lugo; Alejandro Medina Giopp; Miriam Muller; Liliana D. Sousa
  11. The Brazilian Competitiveness Cliff By Otaviano Canuto; Jose Guilherme Reis; Matheus Cavallari
  12. Minería y medio ambiente en Colombia By Astrid Martínez Ortiz; Santiago Cajiao; Julián Lozano; Tatiana Zárate
  13. Resolving the Halperín Paradox: The Terms of Trade and Argentina’s Expansion in the Long Nineteenth Century By Francis, Joseph A.
  14. What's the Long-Term Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Education? By World Bank

  1. By: Messina, Julian; Gambetti, Luca
    Abstract: A vector autoregression model with time-varying coefficients is used to examine the evolution of wage cyclicality in four Latin American economies: Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, during the period 1980-2010. Wages are highly pro-cyclical in all countries up to the mid-1990s except in Chile. Wage cyclicality declines thereafter, especially in Brazil and Colombia. This decline in wage cyclicality is in accordance with declining real-wage flexibility in a low-inflation environment. Controlling for compositional effects caused by changes in labor force participation along the business cycle does not alter these results.
    Keywords: Labor Policies,Environmental Economics&Policies,Labor Markets,Youth and Governance,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2014–07–01
  2. By: Francesco Caselli
    Abstract: The average Latin American country produces about 1 fifth of the output per worker of the US. What are the sources of these enormous income gaps? I report development-accounting results for Latin America. On average Latin America's overall physical and human capital endowment relative to the USA is essentially identical to Latin America's efficiency relative to the USA . In my main sample average relative capital and average relative efficiency are both roughly double actual average relative incomes. Hence, both capital gaps and efficiency gaps are very large: the average Latin American country has less than half the capital (human and physical) per worker of the US, and uses it less than half as efficiently. In assessing this evidence, it is essential to bear in mind that efficiency gaps contribute to income disparity both directly -- as they mean that Latin America gets less out of its capital -- and indirectly -- since much of the capital gap itself is likely due to diminished incentives to invest in equipment, structure, schooling, and health caused by low efficiency. The consequences of closing the efficiency gap would correspondingly be far reaching. Explaining the Latin American efficiency gap is therefore a high priority both for scholars and for policy makers.
    Keywords: Latin America, income gaps, development accounting
    JEL: O11
    Date: 2014–08
  3. By: Bateman, Milford
    Abstract: This article argues that the microfinance model that arrived in Latin America in the 1970s has proven, as elsewhere around the world, to be an almost wholly destructive economic and social policy intervention. Centrally, I argue that the microfinance model is responsible for embedding and giving continued impetus to an adverse 'anti-development' trajectory in Latin America's economies, one that has progressively helped to de-industrialise, infantilise and informalise the overall local economic and social structure. Until recently, the extent and precise nature of this 'anti-development' trajectory has been ignored for fear of undermining and delegitimizing the global microfinance model and, with it, the dominant political-economic philosophy - neoliberalism - that essentially gave life to it. Effective local industrial policies and 'pro-development' local financial institutions are now urgently required in Latin America to build genuinely sustainable and equitable solidarity-driven local economies from the bottom up. --
    Keywords: microcredit,microfinance,neoliberalism,productivity,deindustrialisation
    Date: 2013
  4. By: María E. Bonilla-Chacín
    Keywords: Health, Nutrition and Population - Tobacco Use and Control Health, Nutrition and Population - Adolescent Health Health, Nutrition and Population - Alcohol and Substance Abuse Health Monitoring and Evaluation Food and Beverage Industry Industry
    Date: 2013–01
  5. By: Castillo, Paul (Banco Central de Reserva del Perú); Rojas, Youel (Banco Central de Reserva del Perú)
    Abstract: In this paper we use quarterly data from Chile, Mexico and Peru to study the link between terms of trade and Total Factor Productivity (TFP). We estimate TFP using a stylized general equilibrium model for a small open economy model with quarterly data. Then, the TFP is decomposed into a domestic component and one external component linked to terms of trade using a structural VAR model as in Blanchard and Quah (1989). Our main results shows that the terms of trade has indeed not only short term but also medium and long term effects on TFP, being the short and medium term impact more predominant in the sample.
    Keywords: Calibration, general equilibrium, terms of trade, total factor productivity
    JEL: C11 C13 C51 F41
    Date: 2014–08
  6. By: Diego Arias Carballo; dos Reis Laura
    Keywords: Insurance and Risk Mitigation Social Protections and Labor - Labor Policies Urban Development - Hazard Risk Management Macroeconomics and Economic Growth - Markets and Market Access Crops and Crop Management Systems Finance and Financial Sector Development Agriculture
    Date: 2013–03
  7. By: Adolfo Meisel R.; María Teresa Ramírez G.; Juliana Jaramillo E.
    Abstract: During the 1920s, the Colombian economy experienced the highest rate of growth in its history. The economic reforms of 1923 (the central bank, gold standard, banking legislation, fiscal reorganization), the coffee boom, and the unprecedented influx of foreign capital were the driving forces behind this success. During that decade, the country received 25 million dollars from the United States as compensation for its role in the separation of Panama from Colombia. Those reforms and the growth in coffee exports also allowed for an enormous increase in foreign loans. The value of the loans obtained by 1929 came to 257 million dollars. Those funds were used mainly to build much needed public infrastructure, particularly railroads. Approximately 45% of the foreign loans during that period were invested in railroad construction. Additionally, 16 of the 25 million dollars received as reparation for Panama were invested in railroads. In this paper, we estimate the global rate of return and the internal rates of return on individual railroads. For those calculations, we consider that Colombia ended up paying only around 85% of the loans obtained in the 1920s’s, owing to the effects of the Great Depression and the suspension of foreign debt payments . The rates of return on the railroads constructed and extended in the 1920´s are comparable to those obtained for European countries in the nineteenth century.
    Keywords: Rate of return, investment, railroads, foreign debt, Colombia.
    Date: 2014–08–11
  8. By: Carlos Ferreira de Abreu Castro, (PNUD Brasil); Guilherme B. R. Lambais (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: The conservation projects managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Brazil are underpinned by a strong element of inclusive local development, consisting of innovative initiatives regarding the sustainable use of biodiversity. There are many examples of projects in Mangrove, Caatinga and Cerrado areas, which conciliate the production of goods and environmental services with the generation of jobs, income and an increase in life quality. It is always an enormous challenge to assure opportunities to the most vulnerable populations living in areas characterised by a great expansion of agricultural commodities production and cattle ranching, while respecting people’s livelihoods and protecting the environment. (…
    Keywords: Development, Deforestation
    Date: 2014–08
  9. By: Joelson Oliveira Sampaio; Rodrigo de Losso da Silveira Bueno; Luciana Gross Cunha
    Abstract: Although there is a literature that relates the determinants of confidence in the judicial system and utilization of the judiciary, there is a gap on the causal relationship between these two variables. The purpose of this paper is to examine the causal relationship between confidence in the judicial system and utilization of the judiciary in Brazil. To address this issue, we construct measures of the extent to which the main newspapers report government corruption in their front page during the period 2010-2013 distributed by the states: Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Distrito Federal. By examining how confidence in the judicial system affects the utilization of the judiciary, we used instrumental variable approach: IV Probit. We used the news of corruption (front page coverage of corruption) as instrumental variable. Confidence in the judicial system is the variable instrumentalized. Our results are based on four surveys conducted along 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. We created the Brazilian Confidence in Justice Index (BCJI) as a validity argument for our confidence measure. Our results evidence that confidence in the judicial system has a positive impact on utilization of the judiciary. People who have higher levels of confidence in the judicial system have a greater propensity to seek the judiciary. We also found that there is a positive relationship between confidence in the judicial system and utilization of the judiciary for some demographic variables such as income, education, age and race.
    Keywords: Confidence in Justice; Institutions; Judiciary
    JEL: K11 K30 K40
    Date: 2014–07–30
  10. By: Santiago Garriga; Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva; Maria Ana Lugo; Alejandro Medina Giopp; Miriam Muller; Liliana D. Sousa
    Keywords: Poverty Reduction - Rural Poverty Reduction Economic Theory and Research Macroeconomics and Economic Growth - Regional Economic Development Services and Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2014–06
  11. By: Otaviano Canuto; Jose Guilherme Reis; Matheus Cavallari
    Keywords: Private Sector Development - E-Business Economic Theory and Research Finance and Financial Sector Development - Currencies and Exchange Rates Private Sector Development - Emerging Markets Environmental Economics and Policies Macroeconomics and Economic Growth Environment
    Date: 2013–02
  12. By: Astrid Martínez Ortiz; Santiago Cajiao; Julián Lozano; Tatiana Zárate
    Abstract: El documento consta de cinco secciones, aparte de esta introducción. En el capítulo dos se documenta el impacto que ha tenido la minería en la economía colombiana en la última década y se presentan algunas proyecciones de precios internacionales de los minerales objeto de estudio: carbón, níquel y oro, así como una reflexión sobre la minería ilegal y la ilícita. En el capítulo tres se examina el marco legal que regula en Colombia la minería y el medio ambiente así como la legislación de algunas naciones mineras. En el capítulo cuatro se estudian las mejores prácticas internacionales para mitigar, contrarrestar y compensar los diferentes impactos de la minería en los ecosistemas y en el entorno socio económico de la actividad, así como las BP en Colombia. Para ello, se relaciona el resultado de la encuesta adelantada por FEDESARROLLO con respecto de las prácticas operacionales y ambientales y sobre los programas de RSE de las mineras grandes, en el país. Al final, en el capítulo quinto, se concluye.
    Keywords: Minería y Energía, Medio ambiente, Minería, Minería informal
    JEL: L71 L78 Q32 Q57
    Date: 2014–06–18
  13. By: Francis, Joseph A.
    Abstract: Since the pioneering work of Tulio Halperín Donghi, historians have tried to explain why Argentina experienced a dramatic pastoral expansion in the first half of the nineteenth century even though there were no price incentives for increasing output. Here this ‘Halperín paradox’ is resolved by correcting the methodological error that underlies it. Halperín Donghi made the mistake of looking at the nominal prices of Argentina’s exports in Britain, whereas he should have looked at their prices in Argentina deflated by the prices of the country’s imports – that is, its terms of trade. When this methodological error is corrected, a massive term-of-trade boom can be seen from the 1780s through to the First World War. It is likely that Argentina’s terms of trade improved by at least 2,000 percent over this period, so there were considerable price incentives for the expansion on the Pampas. With the Halperín paradox resolved, future research should look less at the Pampean zone and more at the effects of the terms-of-trade boom on the relatively land-scarce regions of the Interior.
    Keywords: Argentina; nineteenth century; terms of trade; expansion.
    JEL: N96
    Date: 2014–08
  14. By: World Bank
    Keywords: Gender - Gender and Education Education - Education For All Tertiary Education Secondary Education Education - Primary Education
    Date: 2013–06

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.