nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2016‒03‒23
seven papers chosen by

  1. The Impact of Race and Inequality on Human Capital Formation in Latin America During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries By Enriqueta Camps; Stanley Engerman
  2. Exploring the link between Innovation and Growth in Chilean firms By Caterina Santi; Pietro Santoleri
  3. The price is not always right : on the impacts of commodity prices on households (and countries) By Lederman,Daniel; Porto,Guido
  4. What is Different About Urbanization in Rich and Poor Countries? Cities in Brazil, China, India and the United States By Juan Pablo Chauvin; Edward Glaeser; Yueran Ma; Kristina Tobio
  5. El efecto de la Reforma Laboral de 2012 sobre la dualidad y el empleo: Cambios en la contratación y el despido por tipo de contrato By J. Ignacio García Pérez
  6. Pobreza en la Argentina. Privaciones múltiples y asimetrías regionales By Carla Arévalo; Jorge A. Paz
  7. Economic Backwardness and Catching Up: Brazilian Agriculture, 1964–2014 By Lee Alston; Bernardo Mueller

  1. By: Enriqueta Camps; Stanley Engerman
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the reasons behind the delay of the spread of education in Latin America and its relationship with income inequality and race. While the racial composition of the population was behind the low literacy levels obtained during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries, racial inequality and its impact on education and educational inequality decreased during the last decades of the 20th century. Nonetheless educational levels lagged behind those of the OECD countries even during the late 20th century. We also find that the spread of primary and to a lesser extent secondary school during the 20th century can explain the sharp decrease of educational inequality during the same time period. Nonetheless this diminution of educational inequality did not have any impact on the diminution of income inequality at least during the 20th century. While this paper gives consistent results on race and inequality on human capital formation, the trends and causes of the long run evolution of income inequality till the beginnings of the 21st century are still a controversial research topic that we want to further discuss in other forthcoming contributions.
    Date: 2016–03
  2. By: Caterina Santi; Pietro Santoleri
    Abstract: We employ a balanced panel dataset representative of the entire Chilean productive structure in order to investigate the relation between the introduction of innovation and subsequent firm growth in terms of sales. Recent contributions examining the returns to innovation on firm performance have stressed the need of going beyond the analysis of the `average effect for the average firm'. However, previous studies in the case of Latin American economies have often overlooked the importance of analyzing which firms benefit more from the introduction of innovations. Our analysis consists of a series of parametric and non-parametric exercises which take into account the properties of the firm growth distribution. In particular, we adopt quantile treatment effects (QTE) which allow to estimate the effect of the introduction of innovation by comparing firms with a similar propensity to innovate for different quantiles of the firm growth distribution. On one hand, our results indicate that process innovation shows a positive and significant relation with firm growth for those firms located at the 75th and 90th percentiles. On the other, product innovation shows a negative association only for high-growth firms.
    Keywords: innovation, firm growth, Chile, quantile regression, quantile treatment effects
    Date: 2016–01–03
  3. By: Lederman,Daniel; Porto,Guido
    Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the impact that one-time changes in commodity and other prices have on household welfare. It begins with a collection of stylized facts related to commodities based on household survey data from Latin America and Africa. The data uncovers strong commodity dependence on both continents: households typically allocate a large fraction of their budget to commodities, and they often also depend on commodities to earn their income. This income and expenditure dependency suggests sizable impacts and adjustments following commodity price shocks. The article explores these effects with a review of the relevant literature. The authors study consumption and income responses, labor market responses, and spillovers across sectors. The paper provides evidence on the relative magnitudes of various mechanisms through which commodity prices affect household (and national) welfare in developing economies.
    Keywords: Access to Markets,Economic Theory&Research,Labor Policies,Emerging Markets,Markets and Market Access
    Date: 2016–02–29
  4. By: Juan Pablo Chauvin; Edward Glaeser; Yueran Ma; Kristina Tobio
    Abstract: Are the well-known facts about urbanization in the United States also true for the developing world? We compare American metropolitan areas with comparable geographic units in Brazil, China and India. Both Gibrat’s Law and Zipf’s Law seem to hold as well in Brazil as in the U.S., but China and India look quite different. In Brazil and China, the implications of the spatial equilibrium hypothesis, the central organizing idea of urban economics, are not rejected. The India data, however, repeatedly rejects tests inspired by the spatial equilibrium assumption. One hypothesis is that the spatial equilibrium only emerges with economic development, as markets replace social relationships and as human capital spreads more widely. In all four countries there is strong evidence of agglomeration economies and human capital externalities. The correlation between density and earnings is stronger in both China and India than in the U.S., strongest in China. In India the gap between urban and rural wages is huge, but the correlation between city size and earnings is modest. The cross-sectional relationship between area-level skills and both earnings and area-level growth are also stronger in the developing world than in the U.S. The forces that drive urban success seem similar in the rich and poor world, even if limited migration and difficult housing markets make it harder for a spatial equilibrium to develop.
    JEL: O15 O18 R12 R23
    Date: 2016–02
  5. By: J. Ignacio García Pérez
    Abstract: En el presente trabajo se analizan los efectos de la última reforma laboral sobre el empleo y sobre el grado de dualidad del mercado de trabajo español. El trabajo replica un estudio de la OCDE realizado pocos meses después de la reforma, confirmando sus resultados positivos con una muestra sustancialmente más larga, e introduce algunas extensiones que corroboran la robustez de los resultados y permiten afinar las estimaciones del impacto de la reforma dependiendo del tamaño de la empresa y de otras variables como la duración en el desempleo, la edad y el género de los trabajadores. El impacto de la reforma se cuantifica mediante la estimación con datos individuales de la Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales de modelos estadísticos que relacionan las tasas de salida del desempleo al empleo y del empleo al desempleo con las características personales y el historial de cada trabajador, con indicadores de la situación macroeconómica general y del estado del mercado laboral provincial y con una variable dicotómica que distingue entre antes y después de la reforma. Los resultados del estudio sugieren que la reforma ha tenido un efecto positivo sobre el empleo por dos vías: aumentando la probabilidad de salir del desempleo hacia un empleo indefinido y reduciendo la probabilidad de despido para los trabajadores con un contrato temporal, seguramente porque las empresas están haciendo uso de las nuevas medidas de flexibilidad interna puestas a su disposición de cara a acomodar sus necesidades de ajuste.
    Date: 2016–03
  6. By: Carla Arévalo (CONICET-IELDE/UNSa); Jorge A. Paz (CONICET-IELDE/UNSa)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes poverty in Argentina in the last decade (2005-2015). The main objective is to identify which factors have contributed to poverty reduction in this period. We apply the methodology for multidimensional poverty measurement by Alkire and Foster (2008 and 2011) on data from the Permanent Household Survey. The empirical strategy used to identify determining factors of poverty going from a one-dimensional descriptive analysis to microeconometric decompositions based on Blinder (1973), Oaxaca (1973) and Yun (2005). We found that poverty has fallen over the last decade. This decline was stronger in the first five years (2005-2010), and the gap between the cities has narrowed throughout the period. Different factors operate on each period and those that operate into the regions were different too.
    Date: 2015–12
  7. By: Lee Alston; Bernardo Mueller
    Abstract: Alexander Gerschenkron understood the development of backward countries as a contextual process that varied from country to country depending on which perquisites were present or absent. In the past twenty years, Brazilian agriculture evolved from “backward” to an agricultural powerhouse. Its production and total factor productivity more than doubled. Brazil is in the worlds’ top five producers of coffee, soybeans, oranges, beef and corn. Yet, some segments of agriculture lag far behind. We draw on the insights of Gerschenkron and Albert Hirschman, inter alia to conceptualize the development process. As an illustrative aid we apply fitness landscapes to the process of development. Fitness landscapes are good representations of a contextual view of development. We portray the process as an evolutionary search for good designs across a large, uncertain and not pre-statable set of possibilities. In such circumstances a controlled strategy of following predetermined stages is not effective. Rather we need an approach relying on creativity and imagination to find solutions to specific problems faced by each country.
    JEL: N56 Q15
    Date: 2016–02

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