nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2014‒12‒24
twelve papers chosen by

  1. Addressing access and behavioral constraints through social intermediation services : a review of Chile Solidario and Red Unidos By Camacho, Adriana; Cunningham, Wendy; Rigolini, Jamele; Silva, Veronica
  2. Is there a Brazilian model of development? Are there lessons for countries in Africa? By Barrientos, Armando; Amann, Ed
  3. An Analysis of Inefficiency of Big Urban Water Utilities in LatinAmerica By José Luis Bonifaz; Reyk Itakura
  4. Cost of Living and Wages in the Metropolitans Regions in Brazil By Alexandre de Almeida; Humberto Spolador; Carlos Azzoni
  5. Work and tax evasion incentive effects of social insurance programs. Evidence from an employment-based benefit extension By Marcelo Bérgolo; Guillermo Cruces
  6. The Brazilian Economy in Transition: Macroeconomic Policy, Labor and Inequality By Mark Weisbrot; Jake Johnston; Stephan Lefebvre
  7. Scholarly Publication and Collaboration in Brazil: The Role of Geography By Otavio Sidone; Eduardo Haddad; Jesus Mena-Chalco
  8. Does early centre-based care have an impact on child cognitive and socio-emotional development? Evidence from Chile By Marigen Narea
  9. Regional labour markets in Brazil: the role of skills and agglomeration economies By Ana Maria Bonomi Barufi
  10. Estimación de la prima por vencimiento de los TES en pesos del gobierno colombiano By Juan Andrés Espinosa Torres; Luis Fernando Melo Velandia; José Fernando Moreno Gutiérrez
  11. Taxation, redistribution and the social contract in Brazil By Marcus André Melo; Armando Barrientos; André Canuto Coelho
  12. Is there a bubble in the art market? By Kräussl, Roman; Lehnert, Thorsten; Martelin, Nicolas

  1. By: Camacho, Adriana; Cunningham, Wendy; Rigolini, Jamele; Silva, Veronica
    Abstract: Social programs are often designed under the assumption that individuals make rational decisions that improve their welfare. Yet, informational and behavioral constraints limit the extreme and chronic poor's access and participation in social programs. This paper reviews the implementation and performance of two"social intermediation services"that were designed to address these constraints, improve beneficiaries'access to social programs, and help the poor surmount poverty: Chile Solidario, the first such service in Latin America, and Red Unidos, implemented later in Colombia. The analysis provides insights on key factors influencing performance, cost effectiveness, and the impacts that such services can be expected to have.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Access to Finance,Population Policies,Poverty Monitoring&Analysis,Social Inclusion&Institutions
    Date: 2014–12–01
  2. By: Barrientos, Armando; Amann, Ed
    Abstract: Brazil.s recent growth has been intensely pro-poor, and both poverty and inequality have declined significantly in the last decade. It has been suggested that Brazil.s unexpected successes are the outcome of a new model of development. The paper argues th
    Keywords: Brazil, inclusive growth, development, poverty
    Date: 2014
  3. By: José Luis Bonifaz (Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico); Reyk Itakura
    Abstract: This study uses a stochastic frontier parametrical approach to analyze the inefficiency of firms in the water industry between 1999 and 2010. For this purpose, an unbalanced panel of data from 12 firms from all over Latin America was used. One of the main findings of the study is that companies from the private sector outperform those from the public sector over time. Another conclusion is that there are no economies of scale or density, considering the actual size of the average sector. Finally, inefficiency shows a positive correlation with the firms’ size and with the length of the network.
    Keywords: Inefficiency, Big, Urban, Water, Utilities, Latin, LatinAmerica, America, Private, Public, 1999, 2010, Panel, Data, 12, Firm, Economies of scale, Density, Size, Length, Network
    JEL: D24 H42 H54 H0 L10 L25 L32 L33 L95
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Alexandre de Almeida; Humberto Spolador; Carlos Azzoni
    Abstract: This paper analyses the relationship between household cost of living and wages in the Brazilian metropolitan regions. The country's economic growth in the last decade contributed significantly to structural economic changes at the regional level, in terms of employment, population growth and income at PPP levels. With low inflation and modest economic growth, families have been able to adjust their domestic budget on the long run, improving their welfare. In urban areas, poverty reduction has been significant and has increased the consumption of families, with changes in the basket of goods and services, as well in relative prices. Based on recent estimations of cost of living in the Brazilian metropolitan regions (Almeida and Azzoni, 2013), we tested if the elasticity between wages and living cost is unitary. In other words, if workers who live in the most expensive regions receive a full compensation through wages for living costs differences. We used micro data from the Household Expenditure Surveys in the period 1996-2009. Our preliminary results suggest that the price index elasticity in response to wage levels is above the unity. This result is in accordance to the literature, but we found higher elasticities. The elasticity for housing expenditures is higher than for food and transportation, indicating that housing costs are more important in defining welfare levels.
    Keywords: Regional economic growth; living cost; wages; Brazil
    JEL: O10 O18 R1
    Date: 2014–11
  5. By: Marcelo Bérgolo (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Guillermo Cruces (CEDLAS-UNLP)
    Abstract: This article studies how social insurance programs shape individual’s incentives to take up registered employment and to report earnings to the tax authorities. The analysis is based on a social insurance reform in Uruguay that extended healthcare coverage to the dependent children of registered private/sector workers. The identification strategy relies on a comparison between individuals with and without dependent children before and after the reform. The reform increased benefit-eligible registered employment by 1.6 percentage points (about 5 percent above the prereform level), mainly due to an increase in labor force participation rather than to movement from unregistered to registered employment. The shift was greater for parents with younger children and for cohabiting adults whose partners’ jobs did not provide the couples’ children with access to the benefit. Finally, the reform increased the incidence of underreporting of salaried earnings by about 4 percentage points (25 percent higher than the pre-reform level), mostly for workers employed at small firms. The increase in fiscal revenue from higher levels of registered employment was several orders of magnitude greater than the loss of revenue due to an increase in underreporting.
    Keywords: labor supply, work incentives, social insurance, tax evasion
    JEL: J22 H26 O17
    Date: 2014–12
  6. By: Mark Weisbrot; Jake Johnston; Stephan Lefebvre
    Abstract: The Brazilian economy has gone through a significant transformation during the past decade. Following nearly a quarter-century with very little growth in per capita GDP, there was a major change beginning in 2004. GDP per person (adjusted for inflation) grew at a rate of 2.5 percent annually from 2003-2014, more than three times faster than the 0.8 percent annual growth of the prior government (1995-2002). This growth rate was achieved in spite of the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession, which pushed Brazil into recession in 2009; and this comparison includes the slowdown of the past few years. Over the past decade there have also been sharp declines in unemployment, poverty, and extreme poverty, as well as a large shift towards less inequality in the distribution of income gains. This paper looks at these changes as well as government policy changes that have contributed to them. It also looks at the economic slowdown over the past few years, and the role of macroeconomic policy since 2011.
    Keywords: brazil, economic growth, macroeconomic policy
    JEL: E E0 F F1 F13 F17
    Date: 2014–09
  7. By: Otavio Sidone; Eduardo Haddad; Jesus Mena-Chalco
    Abstract: Brazilian scholarly outputs have had rapid growth that was accompanied by an expansion of domestic research collaboration. In this paper, we identify spatial patterns of research collaboration in Brazil, as well as measure the role of geographical proximity in determining the interaction among Brazilian researchers. Using a database comprised of over one million researchers and seven million publications registered in the Brazilian Lattes Platform, we collect and consolidate information on inter-regional research collaboration in terms of scientific co-authorship networks among 4,616 municipalities over the period between 1992 and 2009, which enabled a range of data analysis unprecedented in literature. The effects of geographical distance on collaboration are measured for different knowledge areas under the estimation of spatial interaction models. The main results suggest strong evidence of geographical deconcentration of collaboration in recent years with an increased participation of authors in scientifically less traditional regions, such as South and Northeast Brazil. Additionally, the distance still is significant in determining the intensity of knowledge flows in scientific collaboration networks in Brazil since the increase of 100 kilometers between two researchers implies the average reduction on 16% of the probability of collaboration and there is no evidence that its effect has diminished over time, although the magnitude of such effects varies among networks of different knowledge areas.
    Keywords: spatial scientometrics; scientific collaboration; co-authorship networks; spatial interaction models;
    JEL: R12
    Date: 2014–11
  8. By: Marigen Narea
    Abstract: Worldwide, non-maternal child care during the first years of life has gradually become more prevalent. However, there is little evidence for Chile about the benefit of early attendance at centre-based care—especially universal early childhood programs for under-three-year-olds—and child development. This study explores the association between two-year-olds' attendance at day care and child development. Attendance at day care (versus maternal care) between the ages of 24 and 36 months is positively associated with child cognitive development and shows insignificant association with child socio-emotional development. In addition, more daily hours in centre-based care is positively associated with cognitive outcomes, but negatively associated with socio-emotional outcomes. Additionally, the association between attendance at centre-based care and socio-emotional outcomes is more negative for children of lower income households relative to children of higher income households. The analyses use a Chilean panel survey and control for child, maternal, and family characteristics as well as for unobserved individual fixed effects. The results are consistent using both OLS regressions and propensity score matching techniques. Implications for future research and social policies are discussed.
    Keywords: Early childhood, Centre-based care, Child care, Child development
    JEL: J13 J18 I21
    Date: 2014–11
  9. By: Ana Maria Bonomi Barufi
    Abstract: The study of disparities in the equilibrium of regional labor markets is crucial in a developing country as Brazil, where personal and regional inequalities are extremely pronounced, even with the recent efforts to alleviate them. Following the recent literature on the determinants of productivity differentials in a regional context, this paper aims to discuss how agglomerations economies are present in the equilibrium outcomes of the Brazilian formal labor market. There has been a wide discussion on how to correctly identify agglomeration economies given all the different types of endogeneity found in the labor market relationships, as well as taking into account all the relevant aspects that may affect the results. We make use of an employer-employee panel database from the Ministry of Labor (RAIS - Annual Report on Social Information, filled by all registered firms in Brazil) with information for six year (2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012). The first part of the paper presents a discussion how higher wages can be found in denser areas, where the economic activity is more concentrated. Then, a literature review of agglomeration economies provides the main line of analysis to be pursued With the panel data setting, it is not only possible to account for individual unobserved characteristics constant in time, but also for sectorial and municipal fixed effects. Moreover, identifying skills according to the occupational position of the individuals in each firm, we control for the proximity to different skill levels (in the sector and municipality) to account for different levels of production knowledge externalities. Individual fixed effects control the potential endogeneity of the labor quality. In the case of labor quantity endogeneity, even if there is no consensus of how to best control for it, instruments based on long time lags are considered. The results show that there is a positive and significant effect of density over wages (Urban Economics literature), even when controlling for other relevant characteristics. Moreover, a measure of market potential, related to the New Economic Geography literature, does not capture this positive relationship with wages in the same way, changing sign in a specific setting. Finally, considering a quantile regression approach, there is an indication that agglomeration economies reinforce wage inequality, with a higher effect for the upper part of the wage distribution.
    Keywords: Regional Economic Activity (R11); Skills (J24); Wage Differentials (J31)
    Date: 2014–11
  10. By: Juan Andrés Espinosa Torres; Luis Fernando Melo Velandia; José Fernando Moreno Gutiérrez
    Abstract: Se estima la prima por vencimiento a partir de un modelo afín de 4 componentes principales de la estructura a términos de las tasas de interés de los bonos soberanos de Colombia en pesos. Se sigue la metodología propuesta por Adrian et al. (2013) para el periodo comprendido entre enero de 2003 y octubre de 2014. Los resultados obtenidos indican que la prima por término es mayor y más volátil a medida que aumenta el vencimiento. También se observa que esta prima es decreciente en el tiempo, lo cual se puede asociar a las mejores condiciones del mercado de estos títulos, la mayor estabilidad macroeconómica y las mayores condiciones de liquidez a nivel internacional. Adicionalmente, el modelo estimado captura eventos de estrés observados en el mercado.
    Keywords: Prima por vencimiento, estructura a términos de las tasas de interés, modelo afín.
    JEL: G12 C51 C30
    Date: 2014–12–01
  11. By: Marcus André Melo; Armando Barrientos; André Canuto Coelho
    Abstract: The paper explores theoretically and empirically Brazil’s tax revenue from a political and political economy perspective. The absence of ‘big bang’ reforms to the tax code and tax administration suggests that policy models are less directly relevant to explaining the rise in the tax/GDP ratio. The paper makes the argument that public consent to the hike in taxes is explained by a combination of democratisation, strong preferences for redistribution, fiscally responsible centre-left coalitions, and bureaucratic capacity. New political incentives under democracy combined with high state capacity and a powerful presidency with the political resource necessary to pass an agenda of social reforms to sustain this new equilibrium of high taxation and high redistribution. The current level of taxation and spending in the country in a context in which poverty and inequality is high (although declining rapidly) has prompted concerns about the fiscal sustainability of this equilibrium. The paper argues against pessimistic accounts of this dilemma - such as the arguments based on the concepts of fiscal illusion and inequality traps - and advances an optimistic perspective based on the notion that a new fiscal contract seems to be emerging.
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Kräussl, Roman; Lehnert, Thorsten; Martelin, Nicolas
    Abstract: The record-breaking prices observed in the art market over the last three years raise the question of whether we are experiencing a speculative bubble. Given the difficulty to determine the fundamental value of artworks, we apply a right-tailed unit root test with forward recursive regressions (SADF test) to detect explosive behaviors directly in the time series of four different art market segments ("Impressionist and Modern", "Post-war and Contemporary", "American", and "Latin American") for the period from 1970 to 2013. We identify two historical speculative bubbles and find an explosive movement in today's "Post-war and Contemporary" and "American" fine art market segments.
    Keywords: Art market,Alternative investments,Speculative bubbles,Explosive behavior
    JEL: G12 G14 Z11
    Date: 2014

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