nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2015‒01‒03
eleven papers chosen by

  1. Gross Inequality and Inequality of Opportunities in Basic Education: Were they affected by Latin America’s Economic Boom? By Natalia Krüger; Luis Fernando Gamboa; Fábio Waltenberg
  2. Ranking the performance of national innovation systems in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America from a neo-Schumpeterian economics perspective By Paredes-Frigolett, Harold; Pyka, Andreas; Pereira, Javier; Gomes, Luiz Flávio Autran Monteiro
  3. Privatization of telecommunications in Latin America, an analysis of its efficiency By Julieta Llungo-Ortiz
  4. The formation of new firms: An ordered probit model approach for Latin American and Caribbean Countries By Vélez Ospina, Jorge Andres; Campo Robledo, Jacobo
  5. Antipoverty Transfers and Inclusive Growth in Brazil By Armando Barrientos; Dario Debowicz; Ingrid Woolard
  6. Comparing social-economic conditions in ethanol production areas in Brazil and United States ? a spatial econometric approach By Andre Chagas
  7. Structural change, de-industrialization and inflation inertia in Brazil By André Roncaglia de Carvalho
  8. Mapping Corruption and its Institutional Determinants in Brazil By Lindsey Carson; Mariana Mota Prado
  9. Estabilidad de la demanda de trabajo y efecto del salario minimo sobre el Empleo: El caso Chileno By Miranda Pinto, Jorge
  10. The Impact of Brazilian Regional Development Funds on Regional Economic Growth: A spatial panel approach By Guilherme Resende; Tulio Cravo; Alexandre Carvalho
  11. Hope and commitment. Lessons from a randomize control trial in a shanty town. By Marianne Bernatzky; Alejandro Cid

  1. By: Natalia Krüger; Luis Fernando Gamboa; Fábio Waltenberg
    Abstract: In the context of economic growth and recovering socio-economic conditions, many Latin American countries have implemented deep educational reforms since the beginning of the century. This paper aims to analyse whether these changes have promoted equality of educational opportunities in the region. Both the access and knowledge and skills dimensions are evaluated for six important countries, deepening the analysis for Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, in order to better understand the trends observed. Results point to reasonable progress in access, but reflect an unsatisfactory evolution of the level and distribution of knowledge and skills –as reflected by PISA test scores–.
    Keywords: education, equality of opportunities, Latin America, PISA
    JEL: I24 O54 C78
    Date: 2014–11–20
  2. By: Paredes-Frigolett, Harold; Pyka, Andreas; Pereira, Javier; Gomes, Luiz Flávio Autran Monteiro
    Abstract: We present the results of an empirical study of the national innovation systems of countries in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America from a comprehensive neo-Schumpeterian economics (CNSE) perspective. The empirical study covered the period from 2000 until 2011 and the countries analyzed are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Portugal, and Spain. Unlike previous approaches that used cluster analyses as a methodological framework to analyze national innovation systems from a CSNE perspective, we use a novel approach based on multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) to rank innovation performance. We show how an MCDA approach can be followed in order to rank the performance of national innovation systems and provide an analysis of the results obtained at the financial, public and industry pillars of the CNSE model.
    Keywords: Comprehensive neo-Schumpeterian Economics,Innovation Performance,Multicriteria Decision Analysis,National Innovation Systems,China
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Julieta Llungo-Ortiz
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the efficiency of the telecommunications sector in Latin America. The great dynamism acquired by this sector has been due to external factors of change such as privatization processes that took place mainly during the nineties, technological changes, market liberalization and internationalization of services and funds lender firms. In this regards, the purpose of this paper is to assess the evolution of telecommunications by valuing the two main responsible factors: privatization and technological advances. In order to understand privatizations in economic policies carried out in Latin as well as to assess its efficiency and to what extent it accounted as a dynamic component in the telecommunications case, this work accounts privatizations as a changing element of economic policies in Latin America. A close look at the motivations and characteristics behind privatizations in the telecommunications sector in Latin America is shown. Finally, a measure on the results of the privatizations in terms of efficiency is obtained. To measure the efficiency of the telecommunications sector at regional, country and company levels, methodology of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is used, complemented with Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and Index of Malmquist. The results indicate that the process of privatization and technological advances have been two distinguish elements for the development of telecommunications, improving the service provided to society, as well as their efficiency and productivity rates.
    Keywords: Privatization; telecommunications; Latin America; efficiency
    Date: 2014–11
  4. By: Vélez Ospina, Jorge Andres; Campo Robledo, Jacobo
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to identify the factors that affect the creation of new firms in Latin American countries. We take into consideration economic, political, social and technological factors which should also help governments realize the areas that we found to have the greatest impact. The study relies on data from international organizations from which we construct an Ordered Probit model. The results indicate that credit and government effectiveness enhance the probability of generating new business but it depended of business density
    Keywords: Business density, Orderet Probit, Institutional
    JEL: L00
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Armando Barrientos; Dario Debowicz; Ingrid Woolard
    Abstract: The paper examines the growth of antipoverty transfers in Brazil and their role in securing inclusive growth. Since the turn of the century, Brazil has managed to combine improvement in its growth performance, by the standards of recent decades, with substantial, and arguably unprecedented, reductions in poverty and inequality. There is considerable interest in the mix of economic and social policies responsible for inclusive growth in Brazil, including from countries in Africa. Since the mid-1990s, the emergence of large scale programmes providing direct income transfers to household facing extreme poverty and vulnerability have provided a focus for poverty reduction strategies in Brazil. They include non-contributory pensions, like Previdência Social Rural and the Benefício de Prestação Continuada, and human development conditional transfer programmes like Bolsa Escola and Bolsa Família. Antipoverty transfers are credited with a sharp reduction in extreme poverty and with having contributed to a reduction in inequality and social exclusion. Arguably, they have also strengthened political support for pro-poor policies. This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of the role of antipoverty transfers in securing inclusive growth. It examines their design, implementation, outcomes, and sustainability. It also sketches their potential relevance to African countries. There a growing literature covering recent developments in social assistance in Brazil. The paper contributes to the literature it in several respects. First, the huge interest in conditional cash transfers globally has concentrated attention on Bolsa Família, but the other components of social assistance are important too and are covered in the paper. Second, very little attention has been paid outside Brazil to the rich discussion and debate around the conceptual and normative frameworks supporting the development of social assistance, and social policy more broadly. The paper addresses this gap. Third, research into the effectiveness of social assistance in Brazil has produced a wealth of information on the aggregate impact of each of the component programmes. This paper assesses this literature while paying special attention to the distribution of the outcomes across municipalities in Brazil and the role socio-economic and capacity condition. Fourth, the paper will pay close attention to the sustainability of social assistance in Brazil, especially the budgetary and political sustainability issues. Fifth, the paper discusses the relevance of Brazil’s antipoverty transfers to African countries, including South-South international cooperation.
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Andre Chagas
    Abstract: The production of ethanol has increased in United States and Brazil in recent years, because of incentives to reduce gas consumption. In Brazil, there is a big program to use ethanol both as a single fuel or an additive to gas. In US, the incentive is to use ethanol combined to gas in proportion that can reach to 85 percent of the mix. This situation has prompted the need to assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of this process, both for the country as a whole and for the regions where this has occurred. Doubts that can be raised, for example, concerning the quality of employment, the environmental impacts (soil contamination, atmospheric pollution from burning fields, water use, etc.) and dislocation of other crops to native forests, among others. Even though the balance of costs and benefits is, in general, positive from an overall standpoint, this may not be so in specific producing regions, due to negative externalities. The producing regions may disproportionately bear the negative impacts of the sector's presence. Perhaps the most obvious aspect in this respect is the labor market, since many studies have analyzed the working conditions in the sector, particularly those encountered in manual harvesting, in Brazilian case. It is recognized that sugarcane is significantly more valuable by tilled area than many other crops, such as soybeans, for example. The objective of this paper is to estimate the effect of growing sugarcane on socio-economic indicators (like GDP, HDI or others) in ethanol producing regions, comparing differences in results of Brazilian regions with American ones. In the literature on matching effects, this is interpreted as the effect of the treatment on the treated. Location effects are controlled by spatial econometric techniques, giving rise to the spatial propensity score matching model. This work extends the results from Chagas, Toneto-Jr. and Azzoni (2011), analysing the producing regions in both countries according its social and economics characteristics, as well the producing characteristics.
    Keywords: Sugarcane; Spatial propensity score matching; Ethanol;
    JEL: C14 C21 Q18
    Date: 2014–11
  7. By: André Roncaglia de Carvalho
    Abstract: The paper focuses some of the non-monetary structural causes of inflationary persistence in Brazil in the post-Real plan period. A connection is made between the de-industrializing trend and the emergence of primary pressures that set a floor to inflation levels. The framework is set up in terms of inter-sector dynamics in a widely indexed economic setting. Two primary pressures are taken into account, namely: (i) the increase in the services sector´s share of total value added in aggregate output combined with (ii) the change in the behavior of Statesupervised prices. Departing from a simple inflation accounting exercise and the structuralist assumption of price rigidity, a connection is made between relative price changes and the inflation rate. Volatility of the exchange rate affects the composition of aggregate supply and the ratio between prices of tradable and non-tradable goods; if prices display some degree of downward inflexibility, such volatility yields price increases in some sectors not offset by proportional price decreases in other sectors. A self-sustaining trend of cost-shift inflation is thus explained on the basis of exchange-rate-fueled structural changes with a bias towards labor-intensive sectors. The sluggish innovating thrust in these sectors sets limits to increases in labor productivity, while labor market regulations and widespread indexation render prices inflexible downwards. Empirical evidence is then garnered to support the analytical claim that de-industrialization engenders a floor to inflation rates.
    Keywords: de-industrialization, inflation inertia, structural change, downward rigidity, Brazil
    JEL: O54
    Date: 2014–12–03
  8. By: Lindsey Carson; Mariana Mota Prado
    Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the status, sources, and forms of corruption in Brazil. While the country outperforms many of its regional and developmental peers on various corruption-related indicators, corruption continues to plague many areas of public life, most notably in regional and state governments, political parties, parliament, and public procurement at all levels of government. After analysing what various metrics reveal about the character and level of corruption in Brazil, we examine how specific scandals have impacted anti-corruption initiatives in the country. We conclude with an overview of the various institutions oriented towards fighting corruption in Brazil, highlighting how systemic failures and deficiencies undermine the performance of accountability mechanisms, particularly at the punishment level.
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Miranda Pinto, Jorge
    Abstract: In this paper I find evidence of a structural change in the labor demand in Chile in 2001. The break is mainly characterized by an increase in the employment-GDP elasticity. Additionally, separating labor demand by sectors, I find evidence of a stronger negative impact of the minimum wages on employment in the tradable sector in the late nineties. A minimum wage increase of 10 % above the average wage of the economy destroys 3.6 % of jobs in the tradable sector. These results highlight the importance of the economic growth on employment generation as well as the cost of not considering the business cycle situation when the minimum wage changes are discussed.
    Keywords: labor demand, structural change, GDP-employment elasticity, minimum wage.
    JEL: C22 J23
    Date: 2013–04–30
  10. By: Guilherme Resende; Tulio Cravo; Alexandre Carvalho
    Abstract: In Brazil, the regional development policy is directed by the regional development funds for the Northeast (FNE), the North (FNO), and the Central-West (FCO), which invested more than ?36 billion in lagging regions between 2004 and 2010. This policy seeks to facilitate the economic and social development of lagging regions by offering loans below market interest rates, primarily, to small-scale farmers and small industrial firms. This paper evaluates the economic impact of these Regional Funds using for the first time unique and recent data provided by the Brazilian Government. The study uses the different spatial scales of municipalities and micro-regions to analyse the impact of Regional funds on GDP per capita growth between 2004 and 2010. The results of the panel data estimations suggest that constitutional funds have some positive impact on GDP per capita growth mainly at municipality level, which is the smallest spatial scale. Nevertheless, the results estimated by fixed effect estimations neither control for spatial dependence nor provide evidence on the magnitude of the spatial spillover stemming from the Regional Constitutional Funds. Thus, to control for these caveats, this paper also applies the Spatial Econometrics estimator for panel data suggested by Elhorst (2010). The results indicate that different modalities of FCO, FNO and FNE affect regional growth differently and the spatial estimations did not indicate the existence of spatial spillovers stemming directly from the constitutional funds.
    Keywords: impact evaluation; regional development; regional funds; Brazil;
    JEL: C52 R58
    Date: 2014–11
  11. By: Marianne Bernatzky; Alejandro Cid
    Abstract: This paper documents the impact of an after-school program called Apoyo Escolar, sited in the most vulnerable neighborhood of a developing country. The outcomes of interest are academic achievement, behavior in the classroom and grade repetition. We designed a field experiment exploiting the existence of oversubscription to the program. We found a novel result that should guide policy design for vulnerable children: increasing time spent in safe, supervised settings does not guarantee academic success. The after-school program is effective in improving academic performance when children have committed parents. This finding is crucial for policy because it is not be enough to merely take children off of the streets, parents’ commitment is needed. Interestingly, results show that students’ performance at school is highly correlated with parents’ educational expectations. This correlation fosters future research that may be designed specifically to explore the causal impact of expectations on educational attainment among disadvantaged children.
    Keywords: After-school program; Poverty; Education; Impact evaluation; Family
    Date: 2014

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