nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2016‒08‒21
seven papers chosen by

  1. Understanding the Dynamics of Labor Income Inequality in Latin America By Carlos Rodríguez-Castelán; Luis F. López-Calva; Nora Lustig; Daniel Valderrama
  2. Deflecting my burden, hindering redistribution: How elites influence tax legislation in Latin America By Juan A. Bogliaccini; Juan Pablo Luna
  3. The costs of using formal intellectual property rights: a survey on small innovative enterprises in Latin America By Ignacio L. De León; José Fernández Donoso
  4. Access to Education and Teenage Pregnancy By Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner; Jesse Matheson
  5. Is it Displacement? Evidence on the Impact of Police Monitoring on Crime By Ignacio Munyo; Martín Rossi
  6. Ecotourism in the Bolivian Amazon: an attribute analysis By Carlos Solis; Felipe Vásquez Lavín; Roberto Ponce Oliva; Dragana Bojovic
  7. The Impact of Fiscal Decentralization on Growth, Inflation, and Inequality in the Americas By Antonio N. Bojanic

  1. By: Carlos Rodríguez-Castelán (Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank); Luis F. López-Calva (Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank); Nora Lustig (Department of Economics, Tulane University); Daniel Valderrama (Poverty and Equity Global Practice, World Bank)
    Abstract: Since the early 2000s, after a long period of wide and persistent gaps, Latin America has experienced a steady decline in income inequality. This paper presents evidence of a trend reversal in labor income inequality, which is considered the main factor behind such a decline in income inequality across the region. Our analysis shows that, while labor income inequality increased during the 1990s, with heterogeneous experiences across countries, it fell in a synchronized way across countries beginning in the early 2000s. This systematic decline was supported by an expansion in real hourly earnings among the bottom of the wage distribution and, to a lesser extent, the middle part of the earnings distribution, thus reducing both upper and lower tail inequality. This trend reversal is explained by a lower dispersion of earnings among workers with observable different attributes and by a much less extensive dispersion of residual labor inequality. Regarding the earnings differentials among workers with observable different attributes, our analysis concludes that the decline in labor inequality in Latin America has been closely associated with a reduction in the college/primary education premium and in the urban-rural earnings gap, coupled with a steady drop in the high school/primary education premium, which accelerated markedly since the 2000s, as well as a reduction in the experience premium across all age-groups.
    Keywords: Inequality, Labor Incomes, Education Premium, Experience Premium, Latin America.
    JEL: D63 E24 J21 J31 O54
    Date: 2016–08
  2. By: Juan A. Bogliaccini; Juan Pablo Luna
    Abstract: This paper proposes to understand a singular but salient factor that enables the wealthy to deflect their tax burden downwards: elites. political leverage to shape legislation via their capacity to influence political actors and policy outcomes. The analysis sheds light on alternative mechanisms used by economic elites over time and space. Our analysis of the political economy of taxing upper-income groups in Chile and Uruguay reveals the importance of continuous political agency on the part of organized elite interest groups. Our results show how even centre-left parties competing on a redistributive programmatic platform confront and concede to the interests of wealthy elites, especially when sustained interaction between political leaders and economic elites becomes routinized in the long run.
    Keywords: tax policy, Latin America, elites, tax avoidance, redistribution, case study
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Ignacio L. De León; José Fernández Donoso (School of Business and Economics, Universidad del Desarrollo)
    Abstract: This document analyzes the perception of small innovative enterprises (SIE) in Latin America towards the effectiveness of the legal protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). To analyze the costs of using IPR, we surveyed 352 SIEs from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. We found evidence of SIEs not knowing how the IP system works, and most of them considering that knowing how it works is not important for business performance. We find strong differences between countries in the need to hire legal services to apply for IPR. We also fin differences in the perception of the IP system efficiency, and the evaluations are not related to the country´s IPR enforcement (Park 2008). We also find differences in the perception of disadvantage to protect their IPR if imitated by a big firm. This difference is related to the country´s IPR enforcement
    Keywords: Intellectual property rights, intellectual capital, Innovation, Latin America, Small business, Entrepreneurship
    Date: 2016–08
  4. By: Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner (Department of Economics at the University of Leicester); Jesse Matheson (Department of Economics at the University of Leicester)
    Abstract: Little is known about the causal impact of education opportunities on the decision of young women to have children. Expanding education opportunities may lead to a greater number of young women putting off childbearing until after their teenage years. In this study we look at the effect of one of the largest secondary school expansions on record, providing quasi-experimental evidence to uncover the causal impact of education opportunity on teenage fertility. After achieving near universal enrolment in primary education in the mid- 1990s, Brazil went through an ambitious program of expanding secondary schooling. Between 1996 and 2009 more than 10,269 secondary schools were introduced, increasing the average enrolment rate for teens age 15 to 19 from 21% to 48%. We combine data from the Brazilian School Census, and Brazilian Vital Statistics data capturing 45 million live births by age of mother into an extraordinarily rich data set. Plausibly exogenous variation in the introduction of schools across municipalities over time is used to estimate the effect of education opportunity on teenage births. We find a significant negative effect of secondary school availability on teenage pregnancy. Our results suggest that the addition of one school at age 15 will reduce average cumulative births by 19 by, on average, 4.4 births or 4.6% relative to the mean. These results suggest that the expansion in secondary schools across Brazil can account for roughly 27% of the large decline in teenage childbearing observed between 1997 and 2009 in Brazil.
    Keywords: Secondary education, teenage pregnancy, Brazil
    JEL: I20 I26 J13
    Date: 2016–08
  5. By: Ignacio Munyo (Universidad de Montevideo); Martín Rossi (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres)
    Abstract: We exploit detailed information on location and exact date of installation of police-monitored surveillance cameras coupled with daily data at the street-segment level on all reported crimes in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, to study the impact of police monitoring on crime. The introduction of police-monitored surveillance cameras reduces crime by 28 percent in monitored areas relative to un-monitored areas of the city. Results are robust to alternative definitions of the control group. A series of placebo experiments reassure that the findings have a causal interpretation. We find evidence that the reduction in crime in police monitored areas of the city is compensated by an increase in crime in other areas of the city.
    Keywords: monitoring cameras, theft, robbery, domestic violence
    JEL: K42
    Date: 2016–08
  6. By: Carlos Solis; Felipe Vásquez Lavín; Roberto Ponce Oliva; Dragana Bojovic (School of Business and Economics, Universidad del Desarrollo)
    Abstract: At global scale, the relevance of tourism as an economic activity has been increasing in recent years; while in Bolivia, the activity showed sustained growth during the period 2000-2007. Among the different tourism activity types, ecotourism, and other types of allegedly sustainable tourism initiatives are gaining greater popularity. This paper analyzes the ecotourism market in a region characterized by the presence of indigenous communities within the Bolivian Amazon. The analysis includes the tourism demand characteristics, using choice experiments, as well as the expectations about the tourist services that indigenous communities would like to provide. The main conclusion of our study is that there is a gap between what the indigenous communities want to offer and what visitors actually demand
    Keywords: Ecotourism, Economic activity, Bolovian Amazon
    Date: 2016–08
  7. By: Antonio N. Bojanic (Department of Economics, Tulane University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of fiscal decentralization on economic growth, the inflation rate, and the GINI coefficient in eleven American countries. The findings suggest that the expected positive impacts of this process have been modest, with revenue decentralization being more effective at preventing inflation, and expenditure decentralization showing greater tendency to positively influence growth. The flipside of these findings is that in the full sample of countries revenue decentralization deters growth while expenditure decentralization seems to foster inflation. With regards to the impact on the GINI coefficient, fiscal decentralization seems to be, at best, a marginal, negative influence on income distribution. The main recommendation is that American nations should pause and analyze the reasons why this process of fiscal devolution of responsibilities has not delivered on its promise of greater growth, price stability, and less income inequality.
    Keywords: Fiscal decentralization, economic growth, inflation, income inequality.
    JEL: E62 H70 O10 O50
    Date: 2016–08

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