nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2015‒11‒15
six papers chosen by

  1. Production, Supply and Circulation of 'National' Gold Coins in Brazil (1720-1807) By Fernando Cerqueira Lima; Rita Martins de Sousa
  2. "Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, and Dutch Disease: The Case of Colombia" By Alberto Botta; Antoine Godin; Marco Missaglia
  3. El ciclo económico y el mercado de trabajo en Colombia: 1984 - 2014 By Luis Eduardo Arango; Freddy Felipe Parra; Álvaro José Pinzón
  4. The performance of firms in Latin America and the Caribbean: Microeconomic factors and the role of innovation By Grazzi, Matteo; Pietrobelli, Carlo; Szirmai, Adam
  5. Estimation of Peer Effects with Predicted Social Ties: Evidence from Two Universities in Brazil and Russia By Oleg V. Poldin; Tania P. Simoes; Marcelo Knobel; Maria M. Yudkevich
  6. Tolerance, Agglomeration and Enterprise Innovation Performance: A Multi-Level Analysis of Latin American Regions By Edward Lorenz; Jana Schmutzler

  1. By: Fernando Cerqueira Lima; Rita Martins de Sousa
    Abstract: Based on the hypotheses that Brazil was not merely an economy that exported precious metals and that there was a relative expansion of the domestic market, in this paper we assess the production, supply and circulation of ?national' gold coins in Brazil in the 18th century. New estimates are provided of the production of these gold coins at the mints of Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Minas Gerais. Comparing the values of the coinage with remittances to Lisbon, the first half of the 18th century reveals a more stable conjuncture than was found in the second half. This latter period shows fluctuations that were expressed in the faster growth of the supply despite the fall that took place in the production/coinage of gold. Our conclusions question the historiographical theses about the shortage of currency in Brazil throughout the 18th century. The growth of the economy from the last quarter of the century onwards implied an increase in the demand for money, which it proved possible to meet through the production of ?national' gold coins.
    Keywords: Brazilian Mint Houses; Brazilian gold; Money Supply JEL classification: N13; N23; N43
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Alberto Botta; Antoine Godin; Marco Missaglia
    Abstract: In recent years, Colombia has grown relatively rapidly, but it has been a biased growth. The energy sector (the "locomotora minero-energetica," to use the rhetorical expression of President Juan Manuel Santos) grew much faster than the rest of the economy, while the manufacturing sector registered a negative rate of growth. These are classic symptoms of the well-known "Dutch disease," but our purpose here is not to establish whether or not the Dutch disease exists, but rather to shed some light on the financial viability of several, simultaneous dynamics: (1) the existence of a traditional Dutch disease being due to a large increase in mining exports and a significant exchange rate appreciation; (2) a massive increase in foreign direct investment, particularly in the mining sector; (3) a rather passive monetary policy, aimed at increasing purchasing power via exchange rate appreciation; (4) and more recently, a large distribution of dividends from Colombia to the rest of the world and the accumulation of mounting financial liabilities. The paper shows that these dynamics constitute a potential danger for the stability of the Colombian economy. Some policy recommendations are also discussed.
    Keywords: Colombia; Dutch disease; Balance of payments
    JEL: F21 F32 F40
    Date: 2015–11
  3. By: Luis Eduardo Arango; Freddy Felipe Parra; Álvaro José Pinzón
    Abstract: Presentamos la evolución de una decena de variables a lo largo del ciclo económico para distintas ciudades y grupos demográficos. Las fechas utilizadas para identificar las fases de recesión fueron tomadas de Alfonso et al. (2013). Se encuentra que la participación laboral aumenta en las contracciones mientras que la tasa de ocupación cae. La suma de estos dos hechos permite predecir sin ambigüedades que en las recesiones el desempleo aumenta. En particular, los cesantes, más que los aspirantes, siempre aumentan en los momentos de crisis; es decir, los despidos y la reinserción al mercado parecen ser los eventos más regulares durante los períodos de crisis. Los salarios y las horas trabajadas caen en las recesiones mientras que el subempleo por horas aumenta. La relación de asalariados a población en edad de trabajar se constituye en una variable clave para el estudio de las fases del ciclo ya que siempre se contrae durante las recesiones.
    Keywords: Ciclos económicos, tasa de participación, tasa de ocupación, tasa de desempleo, salarios.
    JEL: J0 E3
    Date: 2015–11–03
  4. By: Grazzi, Matteo; Pietrobelli, Carlo; Szirmai, Adam (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: The low productivity of Latin American and Caribbean economies has been acknowledged as a serious problem that calls for detailed analyses and appropriate and timely responses. However, in addition to macroeconomic and regulatory factors, productivity depends crucially on microeconomic aspects and on the specific strategies and decisions of individual firms. Such microeconomic decisions have been seldom studied in a quantitative and comparative manner. This paper addresses this gap in the literature. The paper presents the results of recent original microeconomic evidence, showing that innovation significantly influences the productivity of firms, although to different degrees depending on the characteristics of the firms. Moreover, the evidence confirms that the impact of innovation on productivity depends also on additional complementary assets, such as access and use of ICT and on-the-job training. Our analysis reveals that these conclusions also hold true for the Caribbean economies, traditionally understudied. Additional factors that can influence productivity have also been detected, such the age of firms, their access to credit and finance, and their participation in international markets and global value chains. The paper concludes by stating that a thorough understanding of these complex phenomena and their interrelations is an essential condition for the design of more effective public policies.
    Keywords: Latin America and Caribbean, Firm Productivity, Research and Development, Innovation, ICT, Microeconomic factors
    JEL: D22 O30 O12
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Oleg V. Poldin (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Tania P. Simoes (University of Campinas (Unicamp).); Marcelo Knobel (University of Campinas (Unicamp).); Maria M. Yudkevich (National Research University Higher School of Economics.)
    Abstract: Social interactions with peers during learning have a significant impact on university students’ academic achievement. As social ties are voluntary, an empirical estimation of peer effects is exposed to a potential endogeneity problem. To overcome this issue, we propose to define the peer group of an individual as their predicted friends. The specific features of the learning environment in higher education institutions may affect dimensions along which friendship ties form. To test the presence of peer effects in different educational and cultural contexts, we use data on students studying in two universities located in two different countries, Brazil and Russia. We assume that friendship is affected by homophily in student attributes, such as having the same region of origin, the same gender, and sharing the same study group. In both institutions, we find positive externalities from having high-ability peers.
    Keywords: peer effects, academic achievement, social networks
    JEL: I21 Z13
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Edward Lorenz (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, France; GREDEG-CNRS); Jana Schmutzler (Universidad de Norte, Colombia; Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany)
    Keywords: human capital, tolerance, innovation, regional development, Latin America
    JEL: O30 R10 J24
    Date: 2015–11

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