nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2017‒11‒26
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework By Sebastian Galiani; Guillermo Cruces; Pablo Acosta; Leonardo C. Gasparini
  2. Educational Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America: A New Database By Guido Neidhöfer; Joaquín Serrano; Leonardo Gasparini
  3. Monitoring the evolution of Latin American economies using a flow-of-funds framework By Pérez Caldentey, Esteban; Cruz Luzuriaga, Manuel
  4. International Inequality in Subjective Well-Being: An exploration with the Gallup World Poll By Pablo Gluzmann; Leonardo Gasparini
  5. Unemployment insurance, job mobility and formalization: an analysis of the Brazilian case By Danilo P. Souza
  6. Does the Adoption of Complex Software Impact Employment Composition and the Skill Content of Occupations? Evidence from Chilean Firms By Rita K. Almeida; Ana M. Fernandes; Mariana Viollaz
  7. Service Quality in Electricity Distribution in Brazil: A Malmquist Approach By Alexandre Marinho; Marcelo Resende

  1. By: Sebastian Galiani; Guillermo Cruces; Pablo Acosta; Leonardo C. Gasparini
    Abstract: This paper documents the evolution of wage differentials and the supply of workers by educational level for sixteen Latin American countries over the period 1991-2013. We find a pattern of rather constant rise in the relative supply of skilled and semi-skilled workers over the period. Whereas the returns to secondary education fell over time, in contrast, the returns to tertiary education display a remarkable changing pattern common to almost all economies: significant increase in the 1990s, strong fall in the 2000s and a deceleration of that fall in the 2010s. We conclude that supply-side factors seem to have limited explanatory power relative to demand-side factors in accounting for changes in the wage gap between workers with tertiary education and the rest.
    JEL: J01
    Date: 2017–11
  2. By: Guido Neidhöfer (Freie Universität Berlin); Joaquín Serrano (CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP & CONICET)
    Abstract: The causes and consequences of the intergenerational persistence of inequality are a topic of great interest among various fields in economics. However, until now, issues of data availability have restricted a broader and cross-national perspective on the topic. Based on rich sets of harmonized household survey data, we contribute to filling this gap computing time series for several indexes of relative and absolute intergenerational education mobility for 18 Latin American countries over 50 years, and making them publicly available. We find that intergenerational mobility has been rising in Latin America, on average. This pattern seems to be driven by the high upward mobility of children from low-educated families; at the same time, there is substantial immobility at the top of the distribution. Significant cross-country differences are observed and are associated with income inequality, poverty, economic growth, public educational expenditures and assortative mating.
    JEL: D63 I24 J62 O15
    Date: 2017–08
  3. By: Pérez Caldentey, Esteban; Cruz Luzuriaga, Manuel
    Abstract: Flow-of-funds accounting permit to monitor the financial sector in terms of flows and stocks and to analyze its relationship with the real sector. These show inter-sectoral financial flows, capture balance sheet positions and all financial transactions by instrument, type and economic sector. In this paper we explain the methodology for the construction of flow-of-funds accounts and we exemplify their use for two source cases of study: the Mexican Crisis (1994-1995) and the Asian Crisis (1997-1998). Using similar sources of data, the same methodology and approach for the construction of all the flow-of-funds matrices allow comparisons among countries relating to the impact, manifestations of these crisis episodes and policy reactions to confront their effects. The use of homogeneous data and methodology also permits to trace contagion effects between countries.
    Date: 2017–10
  4. By: Pablo Gluzmann (CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP & CONICET)
    Abstract: In this paper we compute inequality measures over the distribution of a subjective well-being variable constructed from a life satisfaction question included in the Gallup World Poll in almost all countries in the world. We argue that inequality in subjective well-being may be a better proxy for the degree of unfairness in a society than income inequality. We find evidence that inequality in subjective well-being has an inverse-U relationship with per capita GDP, but it is monotonically decreasing with respect to mean subjective well-being. We argue that this difference might be associated to inequality aversion in the space of utility.
    JEL: I31 D31 D39 D63
    Date: 2017–09
  5. By: Danilo P. Souza
    Abstract: In order to assess the recent rise in the fiscal expenses due to unemployment insurance (UI) in Brazil, we build a simple matching model that takes into account the growing formalization rate, job mobility and other institutional characteristics of the country’s labor market. Our results indicate that around 77% of the positive variation in the UI expenses is due to an increase in the formalization rate, while 22% is due to a rise in the job mobility between 2000-2014.
    Keywords: labor market; job mobility; informality; unemployment insurance
    JEL: J08 J65
    Date: 2017–10–30
  6. By: Rita K. Almeida (World Bank & IZA); Ana M. Fernandes (World Bank); Mariana Viollaz (CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP)
    Abstract: A major concern with the rapid spread of technology is that it replaces some jobs, displacing workers. However, technology may raise firm productivity, generating more jobs. The paper contributes to this debate by exploiting a novel panel data set for Chilean firms in all sectors between 2007 and 2013. While previous studies examine the impacts of automation on the use of routine tasks by middle-educated workers. This study focuses on a measure of complex software that is typically used by more educated workers in cognitive and nonroutine tasks for client, production, and business management. The instrumental variables estimates show that in the medium run, firms’ adoption of complex software affects firms’ employment decisions and the skill content of occupations. The adoption of complex software reallocates employment from skilled workers to administrative and unskilled production workers. This reallocation leads to an increase in the use of routine and manual tasks and a reduction in the use of abstract tasks within firms. Interestingly, the impacts tend to be concentrated in sectors with a less educated workforce, suggesting that technology can constrain job creation for the more skilled workers there. The paper concludes that the type of technology matters for understanding the impacts of technology adoption on the labor market.
    JEL: J23 J24 O33
    Date: 2017–07
  7. By: Alexandre Marinho; Marcelo Resende
    Abstract: The paper undertakes a dynamic analysis for service quality in the electricity distribution in Brazil between 2010 and 2014 based on Malmquist indexes constructed upon Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) distance functions. The motivation for the less usual consideration of efficiency frontiers for service-quality builds on previous static applications in the context of telecommunications as given by Façanha and Resende (2004), Resende and Façanha (2005) and Resende and Tupper (2009). The analysis treats undesirable technical indicators as inputs and desirable consumer satisfaction indicators as outputs. The bootstrap- corrected Malmquist indexes indicated that service quality is an important concern as the evidence respectively indicates quality deterioration in 38.1 %, quality stagnation in 40.5 % and quality improvement only in 21.4 % of the cases. When one decomposes the Malmquist index, the evidence does not suggest relevant frontier shifts and indicates a dominant role for the catch-up effect.
    Keywords: service quality, consumer satisfaction, electricity distribution, Brazil
    Date: 2016

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