nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2015‒06‒27
eight papers chosen by

  1. Historical Patterns of Gender Inequality in Latin America: New Evidence By María Magdalena Camou
  2. Latin American Economic History: looking backwards for the future By Luis Bértola; Javier Rodríguez Weber
  3. Extending the school day in Latin America and the Caribbean By Holland,Peter Anthony; Alfaro,Pablo; Evans,David
  4. The education networks of Latin America. Effects on trade during and after the cold war By Marina Murat; María Luisa Recalde; Pedro Gabriel Degiovanni
  5. Risky Health Behaviors: Evidence for an Emerging Economy By Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez; Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra; María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo
  6. Income inequality in Chile since 1850 By Javier Rodríguez Weber
  7. Human Capital Persistence and Development By Rocha, Rudi; Ferraz, Claudio; Soares, Rodrigo R.
  8. The Impact of Going to School at Night on Teenage Risky Behavior By Martín Rossi; Ana Reynoso

  1. By: María Magdalena Camou (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: The topic of this paper is to explore Latin America’s backwardness in the incorporation of women to the labour market. The collected data allows advancing in the reconstruction of the main disaggregated gender indicators of performance in education, income and life expectancy for a group of Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, México and Venezuela) along the XX century. The evidence shows that Latin America has already achieved gender equality in the results for Education and Life Expectancy in most countries. Nevertheless, the main gap between the sexes is in the labour market, both in the participation rate and in wages. Our preliminary results show a marked relationship between women’s activity rate and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, but this is not enough to explain variations between countries
    Keywords: gender inequality, labour market, gender education gap, Gender Development Index
    JEL: N36 O1
    Date: 2015–04
  2. By: Luis Bértola (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Javier Rodríguez Weber (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: The paper will explore different trends in Latin American economic history written in different periods, relating them to contemporary academics, economic and political debates in Latin America and in the developed world. It will highlight the extent to which economic history in Latin America and Latin American historiography has shown similar development patterns to the Western canon, where particular and distinctive features can be found.
    Keywords: Latin America, economic history, development studies, political economy,economics, historiography
    JEL: A12 B25 B50 O54
    Date: 2015–04
  3. By: Holland,Peter Anthony; Alfaro,Pablo; Evans,David
    Abstract: Countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are reforming their education systems with the view of adding more hours to the school day. This paper examines the existing evidence on the relationship between instructional time and student learning, and reviews 15 studies measuring the effects of longer school days. It draws on examples throughout the region to characterize differences in the implementation of extended school day programs, and provides one detailed case study and cost-effectiveness exercise (for Uruguay). While the evidence suggests positive impacts across a range of outcome variables, including gains in student learning, reductions in repetition and dropout, and reductions in teenage pregnancy, there is considerable heterogeneity across programs and studies. Even using the most optimistic impact estimates, a cost-effectiveness exercise suggests that there are likely many more cost-effective reforms to achieve similar effects. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for policy makers and practitioners considering an extension of the school day.
    Keywords: Education For All,Secondary Education,Tertiary Education,Effective Schools and Teachers,Primary Education
    Date: 2015–06–16
  4. By: Marina Murat; María Luisa Recalde; Pedro Gabriel Degiovanni
    Abstract: The friendship and social networks international students tend to build during their university studies can boost trade between the home country and that of the alma mater. This paper tests the effects of Latin American students on bilateral trade between eleven home economies and nine OECD countries during 1971-2012. We find education networks to positively and significantly affect both exports and imports. Also, the democratization and liberalization of Latin American political regimes following the end of the cold war slightly weaken the influence of networks, but directly and positively affect trade. Results are robust to different specifications and regressors.
    Keywords: bilateral trade, education networks, international students, Latin America.
    JEL: F14 F29 F59 I20
    Date: 2015–06
  5. By: Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez (Banco de la República de Colombia); Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra (Banco de la República de Colombia); María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo (Banco de la República de Colombia)
    Abstract: This paper uses the Colombian National Health Survey to analyze the relationship between education and risky health behaviors, namely smoking, heavy drinking, being obese, and unsafe sexual behavior, by estimating the education gradient using Logit models. We also provide evidence on the effect of education, socio-economic and knowledge variables on these health behaviors by gender and area of residence. Results indicate that there is a negative and significant effect of years of schooling on the probability of smoking, whereas the probability of heavy drinking and unsafe sexual behaviors increases with education, highlighting the importance of social and cultural factors. Knowledge variables not only reduce the probability of smoking, but also the probability of heavy drinking and being obese, indicating that campaigns and research on the negative effects of these behaviors have raised awareness about how harmful they are. Classification JEL: I1, I12, I20
    Keywords: Education, risky health behaviors, Colombia
    Date: 2015–06
  6. By: Javier Rodríguez Weber (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: This paper is a synthesis of the author’s Ph.D. dissertation. It studies the relationship between income inequality and the development process, understood as the combination of economic, social and political changes produced over time based on the case of Chile between 1850 and 2009. It aims to describe and explain the tendencies in income distribution over time signaling their causes and some of their consequences. In the empirical area, the main contributions of the dissertation are the estimates of historical series of salaries, wages, and different measures of income distribution –Gini index, Theil, labor share and the income of the top 1%. These estimates relied on the methodology of ‘social tables’, which aggregates income earners in categories such as occupation, having estimated the number and earnings for each category every year between 1860 and 1970. In spite of the problems arising from the use of assumptions to obtain an annual estimate, which implies an immeasurable but undoubtedly large margin of error for each year, this methodology allows us to analyze medium-term trends with relative confidence. In the fields of theory and methodology, the paper makes two major contributions. First, it shows the potential of in-depth case studies as a means to analyze the relationship between development and inequality. Second, its focus on the political economy of inequality overcomes the problem of oversimplification. Most studies tend to focus on a single factor –usually either on the market or institutions- and analyze the impact on inequality in a timeless or ahistorical manner. But, as this work shows, trends in inequality are always the consequence of a set of factors -economic, social, political and institutional- which interact, so that each one reinforces or overrides the influence of the other. The combination of these factors, which is an outcome of the historical process, is what determines the trends in inequality over time.
    Keywords: inequality, income distribution, development, Chile, institutions
    JEL: N16 O15 J31 O54
    Date: 2015–04
  7. By: Rocha, Rudi (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IE-UFRJ)); Ferraz, Claudio (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)); Soares, Rodrigo R. (Sao Paulo School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of human capital persistence in explaining long-term development. We exploit variation induced by a state-sponsored settlement policy that attracted a pool of immigrants with higher levels of schooling to particular regions of Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th century. We show that municipalities that received settlements experienced increases in schooling that persisted over time. One century after the policy, localities that received state-sponsored settlements had higher levels of schooling and income per capita. We provide evidence that long-run effects were driven by persistently higher supply and use of educational inputs and shifts in the structure of occupations towards skill-intensive sectors.
    Keywords: human capital, education, immigration, development
    JEL: O15 O18 N36
    Date: 2015–06
  8. By: Martín Rossi (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres); Ana Reynoso (Department of Economics, Yale University)
    Abstract: We study the relationship between attending high school at night and the probability of engaging in risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex or consuming substances. To address potential endogeneity concerns we take advantage of a random assignment of high school students to daytime and night shifts in the city of Buenos Aires. Using an original survey on students attending their last year of high school, we nd that girls attending high school in the evening start having sex at an earlier age and present a higher probability of getting an abortion. We find no significant differences for substance use. Our experimental approach suggests that the link between high school shift and risky behavior is causal. Results hold when we use an alternative sample of alumni.
    Keywords: school, teenage, behavior
    Date: 2015–04

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