nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2015‒10‒17
four papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Inequality and Fiscal Redistribution in Middle Income Countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa - Working Paper 410 By Nora Lustig
  2. Appraising Cross-National Income Inequality Databases: An Introduction By Francisco H. G. Ferreira; Nora Lustig; Daniel Teles
  3. A Comparison of Saving Rates: Micro Evidence from Seventeen Latin American and Caribbean Countries By Néstor Gandelman
  4. Exchange Rate Pass-Through to Prices: VAR Evidence for Chile By Santiago Justel; Andrés Sansone

  1. By: Nora Lustig
    Abstract: This paper examines the redistributive impact of fiscal policy for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa using comparable fiscal incidence analysis with data from around 2010. The largest redistributive effect is in South Africa and the smallest in Indonesia. Success in fiscal redistribution is driven primarily by redistributive effort (share of social spending to GDP in each country) and the extent to which transfers/subsidies are targeted to the poor and direct taxes targeted to the rich. While fiscal policy always reduces inequality, this is not the case with poverty. Fiscal policy increases poverty in Brazil and Colombia (over and above market income poverty) due to high consumption taxes on basic goods. The marginal contribution of direct taxes, direct transfers and inkind transfers is always equalizing. The marginal effect of net indirect taxes is unequalizing in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and South Africa. Total spending on education is pro-poor except for Indonesia, where it is neutral in absolute terms. Health spending is pro-poor in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and South Africa, roughly neutral in absolute terms in Mexico, and not pro-poor in Indonesia and Peru.
    Keywords: fiscal incidence, social spending, inequality, developing countries
    JEL: H22 D31 I3
    Date: 2015–08
  2. By: Francisco H. G. Ferreira (Development Research Group, World Bank); Nora Lustig (Department of Economics, Tulane University); Daniel Teles (Department of Economics, Tulane University)
    Abstract: In response to a growing interest in comparing inequality levels and trends across countries, a number of cross-national inequality databases are now available. These databases differ considerably in purpose, coverage, data sources, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and quality of documentation. A special issue of the \Journal of Economic Inequality, which this paper introduces, is devoted to an assessment of the merits and shortcomings of eight such databases. Five of these sets are microdata-based: CEPALSTAT, Income Distribution Database (IDD), LIS, PovcalNet, and Socio-Economic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean (SEDLAC); two are based on secondary sources: "All the Ginis" (ATG) and the World Income Inequality Database (WIID); and one is generated in full through multiple-imputation methods: the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID). Although there is much agreement across these databases, there is also a non-trivial share of country/year cells for which substantial discrepancies exist. In some cases, different databases would lead users to radically different conclusions about inequality dynamics in certain countries and periods. The methodological differences that lead to these discrepancies often appear to be driven by a fundamental trade-off between a wish for broader coverage on the one hand, and for greater comparability on the other. These differences across databases place considerable responsibility on both producers and users: on the former, to better document and explain their assumptions and procedures, and on the latter, to understand the data they are using, rather than merely taking them as true because available.
    Keywords: inequality comparisons, inequality databases, international inequality
    JEL: D31 I32
    Date: 2015–10
  3. By: Néstor Gandelman
    Abstract: Using micro data on expenditure and income for 17 Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, this paper presents stylized facts on saving behavior by age, education, income and place of residence. Counterfactual saving rates are computed by imposing the saving behavior, the population distribution or the income distribution of two benchmark economies (the United States and Korea). The results suggest that the difference in national saving rates between LAC and the benchmark economies can mainly be attributed to differences in saving behavior of the population and, to a lesser extent, to differences in the distribution of the population by educational levels. Other demographic or income distribution differences are not quantitatively important as explanations of saving rates.
    Keywords: Income, Consumption & Saving, Savings, Saving rates, Latin America
    Date: 2015–07
  4. By: Santiago Justel; Andrés Sansone
    Abstract: This paper investigates the exchange rate pass-through (ERPT) to different price indices in Chile. The analysis is carried out with a vector autoregressive (VAR) model with block exogeneity restrictions. Models were estimated using monthly data for Chile from January 1987 to December 2013. Average pass-through ratio to total CPI is estimated to be between 0.1 and 0.2 in the medium term. These results indicate a lower ERPT after the adoption of inflation targeting. Moreover, from 2002 onwards the effect of an exchange rate movement takes around four quarters to pass-through completely, compared to one to two years for the full sample.
    Date: 2015–02

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