nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2016‒12‒11
six papers chosen by

  1. Can Cash Transfers Help Households Escape an Inter-Generational Poverty Trap? By Maria Caridad Araujo; Mariano Bosch; Norbert Schady
  2. The Effect of Temporary and Intense Exposure to Particulate Matter on Birth Outcomes in Montevideo By Ana Inés Balsa; Marcelo Caffera; Juanita Bloomfield
  3. Aseguramiento público, provisión privada: Impacto en el acceso a servicios perinatales y en la salud del recién nacido. By Ana Inés Balsa; Patricia Triunfo
  4. Exploring the Uncharted Export: an Analysis of Tourism-Related Foreign Expenditure with International Spend Data By Michele Coscia; Ricardo Hausmann; Frank Neffke
  5. Bounds on Treatment Effects in Regression Discontinuity Designs under Manipulation of the Running Variable, with an Application to Unemployment Insurance in Brazil By François Gerard; Miikka Rokkanen; Christoph Rothe
  6. Deporte y resiliencia en población juvenil de alta vulnerabilidad By José María Cabrera; Alejandro Cid; Juan José Irisarri

  1. By: Maria Caridad Araujo; Mariano Bosch (Inter American Development Bank); Norbert Schady (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: Many poor households in developing countries are liquidity-constrained. As a result, they may under-invest in the human capital of their children. We provide new evidence on the long-term (10-year) effects of cash transfers using data from Ecuador. Our analysis is based on two separate sources of data and two identification strategies. First, we extend the results from an experiment that randomly assigned children under the age of 6 years to “early” or “late” treatment groups. Although the early treatment group received twice as much in total transfers, we find no difference between children in the two groups on performance on a large number of tests. Second, we use a regression discontinuity design exploiting the fact that a “poverty index” was used to determine eligibility for transfers. We focus on children who were just-eligible and just-ineligible for transfers when they were in late childhood, and compare their school attainment and work status 10 years later. Transfers increased secondary school completion, but the effects are small, between 1 and 2 percentage points from a counterfactual school completion rate of 75 percent. We conclude that any effect of cash transfers on the inter-generational transmission of poverty in Ecuador is likely to be modest.
    Keywords: poverty, human capital, liquidity constraints, educational attainment
    JEL: I30 J24 J13 I00
    Date: 2016–11
  2. By: Ana Inés Balsa; Marcelo Caffera; Juanita Bloomfield
    Abstract: Background: Prior estimates of the correlation between ambient air pollutants’ concentrations and perinatal health show dispersion in magnitudes, as well as positive and negative signs. These differences may be partially explained by the diverse array of methodological approaches between studies, including the set of confounders considered. Objectives: This study explores the effect of breathable particulate matter with diameter of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) on perinatal outcomes in Uruguay, a middle-income country in South America with levels of PM10 that in general do not exceed the recommended thresholds. The analyzed outcomes are: birth weight (BW), the risk of low birth weight (LBW) and the risk of a pre-term birth (PTB). Methods: We exploit the fact that in 2011 the ashes and dust resulting from the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in Chile more than doubled monthly averages of PM10 concentration levels in Montevideo, Uruguay. Using prenatal and birth data for 2010-2013, we estimate the associations between mother’s average exposure to PM10 in each trimester-of-pregnancy and perinatal outcomes controlling for a rich set of covariates. Results: We find that exposure to high levels of PM10 concentration (above 50 µg/m³ for the trimester average) during the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with higher rates of low birth weight and prematurity, and lower birth weight. These effects are quite robust to different specifications, and are particularly large for pregnancies exposed to concentration levels above 70 µg/m³, suggesting non-linear effects. The impact of PM10 on BW and on the rate of LBW appears to be driven primarily by an effect on prematurity. Conclusions: Exploiting a natural experiment, our study shows that exposure to high levels of PM10 during the third trimester of pregnancy can trigger preterm births.
  3. By: Ana Inés Balsa; Patricia Triunfo
    Abstract: A partir del año 2008, con la implementación del Sistema Nacional Integrado de Salud, el gobierno uruguayo extendió el seguro social de salud a colectivos no amparados previamente. A diferencia de la cobertura pública, el seguro social habilita la elección de prestadores privados. En este trabajo nos enfocamos en la extensión de la cobertura a las madres menores de 18 años, las cuales constituyeron el grupo de mujeres en edad fértil con mayores cambios en el aseguramiento. En particular, entre 2007 y 2010, aproximadamente 124.000 mujeres menores de 18 años pasaron a tener cobertura privada de salud. Nuestro análisis estudia las diferencias en indicadores asistenciales y en resultados perinatales entre las madres menores de 18 años y mayores antes y después de este cambio normativo. A partir de los datos obtenidos de los Certificados de Nacido Vivo para el Uruguay de 2002 a 2010 y en base a modelos de dobles y triples diferencias, encontramos que el pasaje a prestadores privados tuvo un efecto positivo en la salud del recién nacido. Estas mejoras, sin embargo, no pueden explicarse por mejoras en el momento de captación de la embarazada o en el número de controles prenatales.
  4. By: Michele Coscia; Ricardo Hausmann; Frank Neffke
    Abstract: Tourism is one of the most important economic activities in the world: for many countries it represents the single largest product in their export basket. However, it is a product difficult to chart: "exporters" of tourism do not ship it abroad, but they welcome importers inside the country. Current research uses social accounting matrices and general equilibrium models, but the standard industry classifications they use make it hard to identify which domestic industries cater to foreign visitors. In this paper, we make use of open source data and of anonymized and aggregated transaction data giving us insights about the spend behavior of foreigners inside two countries, Colombia and the Netherlands, to inform our research. With this data, we are able to describe what constitutes the tourism sector, and to map the most attractive destinations for visitors. In particular, we find that countries might observe different geographical tourists' patterns -- concentration versus decentralization --; we show the importance of distance, a country's reported wealth and cultural affinity in informing tourism; and we show the potential of combining open source data and anonymized and aggregated transaction data on foreign spend patterns in gaining insight as to the evolution of tourism from one year to another.
    Date: 2016–11
  5. By: François Gerard; Miikka Rokkanen; Christoph Rothe
    Abstract: A key assumption in regression discontinuity analysis is that units cannot affect the value of their running variable through strategic behavior, or manipulation, in a way that leads to sorting on unobservable characteristics around the cutoff. Standard identification arguments break down if this condition is violated. This paper shows that treatment effects remain partially identified under weak assumptions on individuals' behavior in this case. We derive sharp bounds on causal parameters for both sharp and fuzzy designs, and show how additional structure can be used to further narrow the bounds. We use our methods to study the disincentive effect of unemployment insurance on (formal) reemployment in Brazil, where we find evidence of manipulation at an eligibility cutoff. Our bounds remain informative, despite the fact that manipulation has a sizable effect on our estimates of causal parameters.
    JEL: C14 C21 C31 J65
    Date: 2016–12
  6. By: José María Cabrera; Alejandro Cid; Juan José Irisarri
    Abstract: Usando una base de datos inédita, creada a partir de cuestionarios administrados a una población de contexto crítico, este trabajo busca medir el impacto de un programa de prevención de violencia adolescente a través del deporte. Mediante una metodología de diferencias en diferencias, exploramos asociaciones entre participar en el programa y habilidades no-cognitivas de jóvenes altamente vulnerables. Encontramos evidencia de fuertes asociaciones positivas entre el programa e indicadores claves de resiliencia. Los adolescentes que participaron con más intensidad del programa muestran una mayor probabilidad de desarrollar mejores aspiraciones (educativas, laborales, familiares), mayores índices de integración social y de permanencia en el sector educativo formal, y menores transgresiones a la autoridad pública. Explotamos información cualitativa para estudiar los posibles mecanismos, y se destacan la ocupación del tiempo libre, la práctica asidua de habilidades no-cognitivas, y el coaching personal. Este trabajo arroja luz sobre estrategias prometedoras para aumentar la resiliencia y reinserción social de jóvenes altamente vulnerables provenientes de contextos críticos.
    Keywords: deporte; delincuencia; pobreza; habilidades no-cognitivas; resiliencia

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