nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2015‒11‒07
thirteen papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Productivity and the Performance of Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: From the Lost Decade to the Commodity Boom By Nin-Prat, Alejandro; Falconi, Cesar; Ludena, Carlos; Martel, Pedro
  2. Appraising Cross-National Income Inequality Databases: An Introduction By Ferreira, Francisco H. G.; Lustig, Nora; Teles, Daniel
  3. Long-term Direct and Spillover Effects of Job Training: Experimental Evidence from Colombia By Adriana Kugler; Maurice Kugler; Juan Saavedra; Luis Omar Herrera Prada
  4. Towards a new model of state-led development in Brazil (?) By Judit Ricz
  5. The Political Economy of Pension Reform: Public Opinion in Latin America and the Caribbean By Fabiana Machado; Giselle Vesga
  6. Agricultural Productivity Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC): An analysis of Climatic Effects, Convergence, and Catch-up By Lachaud, Michee; Bravo-Ureta, Boris; Ludena, Carlos
  7. Explaining Changes in Tax Burdens in Latin America: Does Politics Trump Economics? By Mark Hallerberg; Carlos Scartascini
  8. Brazil's Agricultural Total Factor Productivity Growth by Farm Size By Steven M. Helfand; Marcelo M. Magalha?es; Nicholas E. Rada
  9. Local poverty reduction in Chile and Mexico: The role of food manufacturing growth By Cazzuffi, Chiara; Lopex, Mariana; Soloaga, Isidro
  10. What is the Relationship between National Saving and Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean? By Eduardo A. Cavallo; Mathieu Pedemonte
  11. Understanding Domestic Saving in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Case of Mexico By Miguel Székely; Pamela Mendoza; Jonathan Karver
  12. Understanding Domestic Savings in Chile By Rodrigo Cerda; J. Rodrigo Fuentes; Gonzalo García; José Ignacio Llodrá
  13. The Effects of Real Exchange Rate Fluctuations on the Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence in Uruguay By Ignacio Munyo; Martín Rossi

  1. By: Nin-Prat, Alejandro; Falconi, Cesar; Ludena, Carlos; Martel, Pedro
    Abstract: This study employs a growth accounting approach to analyze the performance of Latin America and the Caribbean’s agriculture between 1980 and 2012 looking at Total Factor Productivity growth and its contribution to output per worker. Our findings show that TFP in 2012 was 45 percent bigger than in 1980, reducing the difference between TFP in LAC and in OECD countries. Observed growth patterns at the country level suggest that countries that increased input per worker have increased TFP at a higher rate than countries with limited access to capital and land. As a result of these growth patterns, the improved performance in the region has increased differences in labor productivity between countries. Growing differences in labor productivity and the fact that the favorable shock in commodity prices that benefited LAC’s agriculture in recent years has apparently ran its course, raise concerns for the future.
    Keywords: Production Economics, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Ferreira, Francisco H. G. (World Bank); Lustig, Nora (Tulane University); Teles, Daniel (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 entirely 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: Adriana Kugler; Maurice Kugler; Juan Saavedra; Luis Omar Herrera Prada
    Abstract: We use administrative data to examine medium and long-term formal education and labor market impacts among participants and family members of a randomized vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Colombia. In the Colombian program, vocational training and formal education are complementary investments: relative to non-participants, randomly selected participants are more likely to complete secondary school and to attend and persist in tertiary education eight years after random assignment. Complementarity is strongest among applicants with high baseline educational attainment. Training also has educational spillover effects on participants’ family members, who are more likely to enroll in tertiary education. Between three and eight years after randomization, participants are more likely to enter and remain in formal employment, and have formal sector earnings that are at least 11 percent higher than those of non-participants.
    JEL: J24 J38 J6 O17 O54
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Judit Ricz (Institute of World Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: The paper investigates recent changes and evolutions of the state-led developmental approach in Brazil. Changes since the Millennium, documented among others by Draibe (2007), Wylde (2012), Kerstenetzky (2014) and Amann – Barrientos (2014) have resulted in a new policy approach, which might serve with some lessons for other developing countries, as well as for the revision of the classic developmental state concept. Using institutional and political economy approach to analyse the evolution of the Brazilian developmental state we argue that under the Lula administration (2003-2010) a special economic policy mix has emerged and institutionalized, which though maintaining some continuities to both the old Brazilian developmental state and neoliberal reform period, can be regarded as a new model of state-led development in Brazil.
    Keywords: developmental state, Brazil, new developmentalism, political economy policy
    JEL: I38 O10 O54
    Date: 2015–10
  5. By: Fabiana Machado; Giselle Vesga
    Abstract: Countries around the world are facing important challenges to the sustainability of their pension systems. Changing policies, especially those of large scope and financial magnitude, is a political challenge. It takes a combination of willingness, capacity and enough political support to change the status quo and avoid costly subsequent reversals. Taking advantage of several waves of public opinion data in Latin America and the Caribbean, this paper aims to identify and analyze individual-level factors that are relevant to gauging political support for pension reform.
    Keywords: Social Policy & Protection, Social Security, Pension funds, Political economy of reform, Pension reform, Public opinion
    Date: 2015–09
  6. By: Lachaud, Michee; Bravo-Ureta, Boris; Ludena, Carlos
    Abstract: This study estimates a Climate Adjusted Total Factor Productivity (CATFP) for agriculture in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries. Climatic variability is introduced in SPF models by including average annual maximum temperature, precipitation and its monthly intra-year standard deviations, and the number of rainy days. Climatic conditions have a negative impact on production becoming stronger at the end of the 2000s compared to earlier periods. An Error Correction Model is applied to investigate catch-up and convergence across LAC countries. Argentina defines the frontier in LAC and CATFP convergence is found across all South American countries, Costa Rica, Mexico, Barbados and The Bahamas. Using IPCC 2014 scenarios, the study shows climatic variability induces significant reductions in productivity over the 2013-2040 period. Estimated productivity losses due to climatic variability range from USD 12.7 to 89.1 billion in the LAC region depending on the scenario and the discount rate.
    Keywords: Agriculture, Total Factor Productivity, Climate Effects, Convergence, Forecasting, Latin America, Caribbean, Agricultural Finance, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis, D24, Q54, O47, E27,
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Mark Hallerberg; Carlos Scartascini
    Abstract: This paper examines whether elections, which are generally held on fixed dates, and banking crises explain the timing of tax reforms and the allocation of the additional tax burden. Using an original fine-grained dataset of tax reforms, the paper finds support for the role of these two sources of variation. In particular, the probability of reform is higher during banking crises. During electoral periods, increasing taxes becomes highly unlikely, even if the government is facing financing problems. Interestingly, politics seem to trump economics: banking crises do not affect the probability of having a reform during electoral times. Moreover, the presence of an IMF program affects the tax instruments chosen: countries with a program increase the value-added tax, while those without raise the personal income tax. Finally, the ideology of the president does not explain who bears the additional tax burden.
    Keywords: Public Administration & Policy Making, Taxation, Financial Crises & Economic Stabilization, Fiscal Policy, Elections, Taxation, Banking crises, Elections, Political economy, Fiscal reform, Ideology, Policymaking
    Date: 2015–09
  8. By: Steven M. Helfand; Marcelo M. Magalha?es; Nicholas E. Rada
    Abstract: The role of farm size has recently come to the forefront of agricultural development debates. Agricultural development policy often focuses on small farms given evidence of their role in poverty reduction and of higher yields. Yet policy has also focused on large farms due to their share of output, efficiency gains from vertical and horizontal integration, and potential employment generation. Brazil offers an interesting case study because of its wide spectrum of farm sizes and the country's dual agricultural policy focus towards large commercial agribusiness enterprises, led by the Ministry of Agriculture, and family farms, led by the Ministry of Agrarian Development. Our purpose is to examine the role that farm size may have in Brazil's agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) growth, which has accelerated at one of the world's fastest rates over the last twenty years. The data are drawn from the agricultural censuses of 1985, 1995-96, and 2006, aggregated at the municipality level into five farm-size classes. The findings of this study point to heavy technical efficiency losses across all size classes, creating a substantial drag on national agricultural TFP growth. Moreover, because farms in the middle of the size distribution achieved the slowest technical change and TFP growth bookended by faster growth in the smallest and largest farm-size classes we identify an unexpected and unexplored source of inefficiency, namely medium-sized farms.
    Keywords: Agricultural technology adaptation, Agricultural technology transfer, Agricultural information, Agricultural policy, Agricultural productivity, agricultural productivity, Agricultural Policy, Land Tenure, Brazil
    Date: 2015–09
  9. By: Cazzuffi, Chiara; Lopex, Mariana; Soloaga, Isidro
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between local poverty and food manufacturing growth in Chile and Mexico using propensity score matching, differences in differences and spatial econometrics methods. We focus on food manufacturing as a sector with a number of characteristics that make it potentially pro-poor, and whose incentives for spatial distribution may either strengthen or dampen its poverty reduction potential. The overall results indicate that i) geographically, food manufacturing locates in relatively poor areas, but not in the poorest; ii) food manufacturing tends to locate in municipalities with more availability of labor and raw materials and with better infrastructure; iii) controlling for other factors, food manufacturing growth contributes to local poverty reduction both in terms of magnitude and speed.
    Keywords: poverty, poverty reduction, food manufacturing, difference in difference, propensity score matching, spatial analysis, Consumer/Household Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, I32, R11, R12,
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Eduardo A. Cavallo; Mathieu Pedemonte
    Abstract: Using panel co-integration techniques and a comprehensive dataset covering the period 1980-2013, this paper finds a positive and significant correlation between national saving and domestic investment rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The estimated correlation is approximately 0. 39; i. e. , for every 1 percentage point of GDP increase in national saving, domestic investment increases by 0. 39 percentage points on average. There are however, three nuances to the headline result: i) the estimated correlation has been declining over time; ii) the regional average hides a large degree of intra-regional heterogeneity; and iii) the estimated coefficient is largest amongst the biggest economies in the region. It is concluded that low national saving rates remain a binding constraint for capital accumulation in LAC.
    Keywords: Savings, Investment, Saving, Investment, Feldstein-Horioka puzzle, Panel cointegration
    Date: 2015–08
  11. By: Miguel Székely; Pamela Mendoza; Jonathan Karver
    Abstract: This study addresses why Mexico continues to show below-average economic growth rates in spite of displaying systematically higher domestic savings than other countries in the region. Using the wealth of relevant databases available for the country, the paper finds that a possible explanation is that household savings account for a majority of domestic savings, and that the main instrument used for savings is durable goods, which implies that savings are not directly injected into the financial system for fueling productive investment. The construction of a synthetic panel from household survey data shows that household savings in Mexico have a clear age-increasing trend and have been growing across generations during the past 30 years; it is thus probable that rates will increase in years to come. However, if those savings continue to elude the financial system, their influence on economic growth may remain limited.
    Keywords: Savings, Income, Consumption & Saving, Savings, Household surveys, Growth
    Date: 2015–09
  12. By: Rodrigo Cerda; J. Rodrigo Fuentes; Gonzalo García; José Ignacio Llodrá
    Abstract: This paper constructs time series data on savings per type of agent for Chile during the period 1960-2012. It is found that the economy's average savings rate increased by 11 percentage points in the period 1985-2012 compared to 1960- 1984, with particularly pronounced growth in corporate savings. The evidence suggests that this increase was driven largely by the following measures: i) pension reform that introduced mandatory savings and private sector management, ii) banking reform, iii) tax reform, iv) capital markets reform and v) privatizations.
    Keywords: Income, Consumption & Saving, Tax incentives, Savings, Savings, Reform, Incentives, Chile
    Date: 2015–10
  13. By: Ignacio Munyo; Martín Rossi
    Abstract: In this paper, we bring to light the experiences resulting from the significant depreciation of the Uruguayan real exchange rate between 2002 and 2003, followed by an equally considerable appreciation between 2004 and 2010. We explore the link between these fluctuations and the incidence of domestic violence taking place in Uruguay. The real exchange rate is a measure of the relative price between tradable and nontradable goods. While men are traditionally employed in tradable industries, such as manufacturing, women are more likely to work in nontradable industries, such as the service sector. A change in the real exchange rate, therefore, can affect the potential wages of men differently from those of women. In line with the models that represent household bargaining, an increase in the real exchange rate can generate an increase in the bargaining power of men relative to that of women within the household. We present evidence that it raises the frequency of domestic violence. This holds true in rich and poor areas of the city.
    Keywords: Domestic violence, Gender Equality, Exchange rates, Governance, Wages, Real exchange rate, Gender wage gap, Domestic violence, Assault
    Date: 2015–08

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