nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2017‒03‒26
five papers chosen by

  1. Distributive Implications of Fertility Changes in Latin America By Nicolas Badaracco; Leonardo Gasparini; Mariana Marchionni
  2. The copper sector, fiscal rules, and stabilization funds in Chile: Scope and limits By Andres Solimano; Diego Calderón Guajardo
  3. Exploring the Uncharted Export: An Analysis of Tourism-Related Foreign Expenditure with International Spend Data By Michele Coscia; Ricardo Hausmann; Franke Neffke
  4. Perceptions of Distributive Justice in Latin America During a Period of Falling Inequality By Germán Reyes; Leonardo Gasparini
  5. Inversión y capital: Chile, 1833-2010 By José Díaz B.; Jeanne Gert Wagner

  1. By: Nicolas Badaracco (CEDLAS - UNLP); Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS - UNLP); Mariana Marchionni (CEDLAS - UNLP)
    Abstract: Fertility rates significantly fell over the last decades in Latin America. In order to assess the extent to which these changes contributed to the observed reduction in income poverty and inequality we apply microeconometric decompositions to microdata from national household surveys from seven Latin American countries. We find that changes in fertility rates were associated to a non-negligible reduction in inequality and poverty in the region. The main channel was straightforward: lower fertility implied smaller families and hence larger per capita incomes. Lower fertility also fostered labor force participation, especially among women, which contributed to the reduction of poverty and inequality in most countries, although the size of this effect was smaller.
    JEL: J2 J1
    Date: 2017–01
  2. By: Andres Solimano; Diego Calderón Guajardo
    Abstract: Historically, Chile has been an economy dominated by mineral and agro-industrial products and subject to frequent external shocks particularly in copper prices. Since the 1980s, the authorities have developed various mechanisms to cope with these shocks and dampen their effects on the domestic business cycle. These mechanisms include a fiscal rule, an economic and social stabilization fund, a pension reserve fund, and a (informal) ‘defence fund’. The first two sovereign wealth funds are regulated by a Fiscal Responsibility Law and complemented by a flexible exchange rate regime and an autonomous Central Bank. This paper recognizes that this macro framework has been associated (causality is another matter) with reasonably good macro outcomes. However, the paper highlights some trade-offs and questions not always recognized in evaluations of the Chilean case and cautions against a blind endorsement of macro rules as the cornerstone for good macro management. In general, this framework entails more discretion than often portrayed and includes: (i) frequent revisions in the methodology that affects the fiscal rule and the level of the structural balance by the authorities, thereby reducing its anchoring role on expectations and policy predictability; (ii) SWFs tend to have clear rules for accumulating resources at good times but no rules for using them at bad times; and (iii) a possible bias to overaccumulation of resources in SWFs without paying attention to the opportunity cost of overinvesting in stabilization funds at the cost of less resources being available for funding egalitarian social policy in a high-inequality country.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Michele Coscia (Center for International Development at Harvard University); Ricardo Hausmann (Center for International Development at Harvard University); Franke Neffke (Center for International Development at Harvard University)
    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
  4. By: Germán Reyes (The World Bank and CEDLAS); Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS-FCE and CONICET.)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore perceptions of distributive justice in Latin America during the 2000s and its relationship with income inequality. In line with the fall in income inequality in the region, we document a widespread, although modest, decrease in the share of the population that believes income distribution is unfair. The fall in the perception of unfairness holds across very heterogeneous groups of the population. Moreover, perceptions evolved in the same direction as income inequality for 17 out of the 18 countries for which microdata is available. Our analysis reveals unfairness perceptions are more correlated with relative measures of income inequality than absolute ones and that individual characteristics are correlated with distributive perceptions. On average, individuals that are older, more educated, unemployed, and left-wing tend to perceive income distribution as more unfair. We show that the decrease in unfairness perceptions during the last decade was due to changes in inequality, rather than to composition effects. Finally, we show that individuals that perceive income distribution as very unfair are more prone to mobilize and protest.
    JEL: D31 D63 D83
    Date: 2017–04
  5. By: José Díaz B.; Jeanne Gert Wagner
    Abstract: This paper reports sources and methods utilized when estimating Chilean gross investment and net capital stock of fixed assets between 1833 and 2010.Two types of assets are identified: (i)machinery and equipment and (ii)construction (total). The main source for machinery investments is imports and a price for such goods based on Chilean import structure and export data of providing countries. In the case of construction, we rely on public expenditure on infrastructure and indirect measures for private activity. From 1940 onwards all data is obtained from national accounts. Capital is generated applying the perpetual inventory method. Main findings are: (i)Chile starts from a quite low capital output ratio around 1830, (ii)in the second half of the 19th Century, and specially due to the expansion of construction, the economy reaches capital output ratios comparable with other countries, (iii)the relative importance of machinery and equipment in total investment starts at practically zero increasing along the 170 years, (iv)capital per laborer expands systematically but slowly.
    Date: 2016

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.