nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2017‒06‒25
four papers chosen by

  1. Balance Sheet Effects in Colombian Non-Financial Firms By Adolfo Barajas; Sergio Restrepo; Roberto Steiner; Juan Camilo Medellín; César Pabón
  2. Concurrent Validity and Feasibility of Short Tests Currently Used to Measure Early Childhood Development in Large Scale Studies: Methodology and Results By Marta Rubio-Codina; María Caridad Araujo; Orazio P. Attanasio; Sally Grantham-McGregor
  3. Sex-Differences in Language and Socio-emotional Skills in Early Childhood By Rosangela Bando; Florencia López Bóo; Xia Li
  4. Are social protection systems in Latin America and the Caribbean shock-responsive? By Rodolfo Beazley

  1. By: Adolfo Barajas; Sergio Restrepo; Roberto Steiner; Juan Camilo Medellín; César Pabón
    Abstract: After building up foreign currency-denominated (FC) liabilities over several years, the balance sheets of Colombian firms might be particularly vulnerable to a shift in external conditions. This paper undertakes four exercises in order to get a better understanding of these vulnerabilities. First, probit/logit estimations are used to identify the firm-level and macroeconomic determinants of FC borrowing by non-financial corporations. Second, the implications of the balance sheet vulnerability for real activity are investigated. Evidence is found of an FC balance sheet effect that transmits exchange rate fluctuations to firm-level investment, and show that that this effect is asymmetric, much greater for depreciations than for appreciations. Third, using logit/probit estimations, it is shown that not all firms use forward exchange derivatives solely to hedge their FC liabilities. This might be a consequence of exchange rate intervention by the monetary authority, protecting against extreme exchange rate misalignments. Finally, results are reported of a survey-based qualitative analysis on the hedging policies and activities of 12 large non-financial firms.
    Keywords: Capital flows, investment level, Bonds, Macroeconomics, Interest rates, Exporting Firm, Corporate Debt, Firm performance, Devaluation of currency, Foreign Currency Debt, investment level, Non-Financial Firms, Foreign Currency Debt
    JEL: F31 E22
    Date: 2016–10
  2. By: Marta Rubio-Codina; María Caridad Araujo; Orazio P. Attanasio; Sally Grantham-McGregor
    Abstract: In low- and middle-income countries (LIMCs) measuring early childhood development (ECD) with standard tests in large scale surveys (i.e. evaluations of interventions) is difficult and expensive. Multi-dimensional screeners and single-domain tests ('short tests') are frequently used as alternatives. However, their validity in these circumstances is unknown. We examine the feasibility, reliability, and concurrent validity of three multi-dimensional screeners -the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ-3), the Denver Developmental Screening Test (Denver-II), the Battelle Developmental Inventory screener (BDI-2) -and two single-domain tests- the MacArthur-Bates Short-Forms (SFI and SFII) and the WHO Motor Milestones (WHO-Motor)-in 1,311 children 6-42 months in Bogota, Colombia. We compare scores on these short tests to those on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III), which we take as the 'gold standard'. The Bayley-III was given at a center by psychologists; whereas the short tests were administered in the home by interviewers, as in a survey setting. Concurrent validity of the multi-dimensional tests' cognitive, language, and fine motor scales with the corresponding Bayley-III scale is low below 19 months but increases with age, becoming moderate-to-high over 30 months. In contrast, gross motor scales' concurrence is high under 19 months and then decreases. Of the single-domain tests, the WHO-Motor has high validity with gross motor under 16 months, and the SFI and SFII expressive scales show moderate correlations with language under 30 months. Overall, the Denver-II seems the most feasible and valid multi-dimensional test and the ASQ-3 performs poorly under 31 months. By domain, gross motor development has the highest concurrence below 19 months, and language above. Results do not vary by household socio-economic status. Predictive validity investigation is nonetheless needed to further guide the choice of instruments for large scale studies.
    Keywords: Early Childhood Development, Language Development, Educational tests, Child development, Cognitive Development, desarrollo cognitivo, desarrollo del lenguaje
    JEL: I3 I2 I1 J1
    Date: 2016–08
  3. By: Rosangela Bando; Florencia López Bóo; Xia Li
    Abstract: This study explores sex differences in language and socio-emotional skills. It focuses on children 7 months old to 6 years old in Chile in 2012 and Nicaragua in 2013. A focus on young children allowed for ruling out a set of environmental and identity effects to explain the gap. Females had an advantage in both countries and both dimensions. Males in Chile scored at -0.13 standard deviations (SD) in language in the distribution of females. In addition, males scored at -0.20 SD in socio-emotional skills. The gaps in Nicaragua were not statistically different to those in Chile. Thus geographical and cultural variation across the two countries did not affect the gap. Within countries, variation in family characteristics, parenting practices and health investments did not explain the gap either. These findings shed light on the role of biological and environmental factors to explain sex gaps. The identification of the role of these factors is necessary to inform policy.
    Keywords: Early Childhood Development, Language Development, gender gap, Child development, Early Childhood Education, Socio-Emotional Skills, language development, socio-emotional skills
    JEL: Z13 O15 J16 J13 I25
    Date: 2016–07
  4. By: Rodolfo Beazley (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "There is growing global recognition of the role social protection can play in emergency response. In Latin America and the Caribbean natural disasters have occurred with increasing frequency in recent decades, and at the same time social protection systems have evolved and expanded substantially, providing an opportunity to support the response to large scale shocks". (?)
    Keywords: social protection, systems, Latin America, Caribbean, shock-responsive
    Date: 2017–03

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