nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2017‒02‒26
five papers chosen by

  1. The Trade-Off between Reforms and Checks and Balances By Alvaro Forteza; Juan S. Pereyra
  2. Taxation and inequality in developing countries - Lessons from the recent experience of Latin America By Martorano, Bruno
  3. The Impact of Migration on Child Labor: Theory and Evidence from Brazil By Genicot, Garance; Mayda, Anna Maria; Mendola, Mariapia
  4. Satisfaction with Democracy in Latin America: Do the Characteristics of the Political System Matter? By Selim Jürgen Ergun; M. Fernanda Rivas; Máximo Rossi
  5. Desigualdad de aprendizajes en Uruguay: determinantes de los resultados de PISA 2012 By Andrea Doneschi

  1. By: Alvaro Forteza (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Juan S. Pereyra (ECARES-Université libre de Bruxelles y F.R.S.-FNRS.)
    Abstract: Strong checks and balances are key features of well performing democracies aimed at protecting citizens from government abuse of power. Nevertheless, some presidents have enjoyed strong and often explicit popular support when they undermined these controls. We present a formal model of the tradeo between control on the executive and delegation geared to enhancing our understanding of this phenomenon. We argue that voters may support the loosening of checks and balances, even when this allows rent extraction, if they are convinced that checks on the executive are blocking necessary reforms. We discuss several cases of strong presidents in Latin America who, alleging that radical reforms were necessary, obtained popular support that allowed them to loosen checks on the executive. Some of these presidents had a pro- and some an anti-market reform agenda so, as our model suggests, voters' willingness to remove checks and balances can emerge under both right- and left-wing executives.
    Keywords: Political agency, Separation of powers, checks and balances.
    JEL: E69 P16
    Date: 2016–11
  2. By: Martorano, Bruno
    Abstract: This paper aims to advance understanding about the relationship between taxation and inequality in developing countries, focusing on the recent experience of Latin America. Although the tax system was regressive in the 1990s, tax changes promoted equality in the first decade of the 2000s. In particular, the increasing contribution of direct taxes with respect to indirect taxes promoted the progressivity of the tax system and contributed to the reduction of inequality. Yet, the effectiveness of taxation in promoting equality in Latin America is still limited by several factors such as the low average tax revenue as percentage of gross domestic product, the relative high contribution of indirect taxes, the inability to tax top incomes, and the low contribution of taxes on property.
    Keywords: Development Policy, Economic Development, Governance,
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Genicot, Garance (Georgetown University); Mayda, Anna Maria (Georgetown University); Mendola, Mariapia (University of Milan Bicocca)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of internal migration on child labor outcomes in Brazil. We develop a theoretical model and evaluate it on children aged 10 to 14 using two decades of Census data. In our model, migration impacts child labor through changes in the local labor market, which is made up of both adults and children. Thus we complement the individual-level child-labor analysis with an empirical study of the labor-market impact of internal migration within Brazil. We exploit variation in the concentration of both skilled and unskilled immigrants at the municipality level and employ an instrumental variable strategy that relies on the historical (1980) distribution of immigrants within the country. Our results show that internal migration of a given skill level has a negative impact on corresponding adults' labor market outcomes. We also find that unskilled (skilled) immigration has a negative (positive) and significant impact on child labor. Finally, unskilled immigration increases children school attendance and decreases their likelihood of being idle.
    Keywords: child labor, migration
    JEL: F22 J61 O12
    Date: 2016–12
  4. By: Selim Jürgen Ergun (Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus); M. Fernanda Rivas (Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus); Máximo Rossi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact that the rules and characteristics of the political system have on satisfaction with democracy in Latin America. Using individual level survey data provided by Latinobarometer and controlling for both personal characteristics and macroeconomic variables, we find that the rules and characteristics of the political system do matter: Satisfaction with democracy is higher in countries that use a proportional electoral rule for choosing the legislature, where voting is not enforced, and in countries with a federal system. The age of democracy has a negative impact on satisfaction with democracy while the electoral rule used to choose the president does not matter. On the economic side, we find that personal assessments of the economy impact more on satisfaction with democracy than actual macroeconomic data.
    Keywords: satisfaction with democracy, Latin America, electoral system
    JEL: D70 D72
    Date: 2016–10
  5. By: Andrea Doneschi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: El presente trabajo pretende estudiar cuáles son los principales factores determinantes de los resultados académicos de los estudiantes de educación media en Uruguay. Para ello se analizan los datos de PISA 2012 a través de un modelo jerárquico lineal (HLM por sus siglas en inglés), considerando tanto los efectos que producen los centros educativos así como las características propias del estudiante, en particular, su entorno familiar. Los datos muestran una varianza entre centros relativamente alta en comparación con otros países, llegando a representar casi la mitad de la varianza total. Se encuentra, por su parte, que el entorno económico, social y cultural del estudiante influye en sus resultados en matemática y que el principal efecto escolar es el promedio de dicho entorno a nivel del centro; además, una vez considerado este efecto, los estudiantes que asisten a centros privados no presentan una ventaja en cuanto a los logros obtenidos respecto a los centros públicos. A partir de los resultados obtenidos, se puede decir que existe cierto grado de segregación educativa en la educación media del país.
    Keywords: función de producción educativa, modelo jerárquico lineal, PISA 2012, Uruguay
    JEL: I24
    Date: 2017–01

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