nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2018‒04‒02
six papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Socio-Economic Determinants of Hunger in Latin American Countries By Maximo Rossi; Gastón Ares; Zuleika Ferre
  2. Interventions Using Regular Activities to Engage High-Risk School-Age Youth: a Review of After-School Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean By Cid, Alejandro
  3. Testing Happiness Hypothesis among the Elderly By Cid, Alejandro; Ferrés, Daniel; Rossi, Máximo
  4. Earnings Inequality and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from Brazil By Christian Moser; Niklas Engbom
  5. Measuring the Redistributive Effect of Pensions By Alvaro Forteza
  6. Investment Gaps in IDB Borrowing Countries By Francesca Castellani; Marcelo Olarreaga; Ugo Panizza; Yue Zhou

  1. By: Maximo Rossi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Gastón Ares (Sensometrics & Consumer Science, Instituto Polo Tecnológico de Pando, Facultad de Química, Universidad de la República); Zuleika Ferre (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: This paper studies the influence of socio-economic variables on hunger prevalence in 18 Latin American countries using the database of Latinobarometro survey, developed by Latinobarometro Corporation. With this objective we estimate an ordered probit model. The results show that on average, only 52% of respondents indicated that they had never experienced lack of enough food in the last 12 months, which suggests that hunger is still a relevant problem in the region. Large heterogeneity across countries was found. Although the percentage of people who often experienced lack of food only corresponded to 2% for the countries in the southern part of Latin America (Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Brazil), it reached values higher than 10% for several countries in Central and North America (Honduras, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Mexico). These results indicate the need to implement public policies aimed at improving access to enough food in Latin America in order to achieve the goal of eradicating hunger by 2025 (FAO, 2015b).
    Keywords: hunger, Latin America, Latinobarometro, access to food
    JEL: I31 I32 O54
    Date: 2017–11
  2. By: Cid, Alejandro
    Abstract: This research provides the review of an issue that is an urgent challenge in the development field: the effectiveness of after-school programs on preventing school-age youth violence in vulnerable settings of developing countries. The existence of highly underprivileged youth in poor neighborhoods and its association with violence have spurred a variety of programs covered by the name of after-school activities. Most rigorous trials of after-school interventions to prevent youth violence have been conducted in developed countries, with far fewer in Latin America. In this review, ranges of databases were systematically searched. Six studies in five Latin American and Caribbean countries have been identified, and most reported results favor after-school. But also some concerns have emerged: the results in some domains of youth behavior are null or even negative for some subpopulations. These findings suggest that after-school interventions hold significant promise for preventing violence and criminal behavior in at-risk school-age youth, but also that there is an urgent need for a significant upgrade in the quality of the programs and in the fidelity of the implementation. The identified concerns also demand more rigorously evaluated and reported studies, even of the different components of the interventions.
    Keywords: youth at risk; violence; crime; prevention; delinquency; extra-curricular programs; after-school programs; Latin America and Caribbean
    JEL: I1 I12
    Date: 2017–10
  3. By: Cid, Alejandro; Ferrés, Daniel; Rossi, Máximo
    Abstract: A growing strand of economic literature focuses its attention on the relationship between happiness levels and various individual and socioeconomic variables. Recent studies analyze the impact of income, marital status, health and educational levels and other socioeconomic variables on satisfaction with life. A large majority of these studies limit their attention to industrialized countries. In our work, we analyze data for a group of individuals living in a Latin American country (Uruguay) with age 60 or older. We use a rich data set that allows us to test different happiness hypothesis employing four methodological approaches. We find that older people in Uruguay have a tendency to report themselves happy when they are married, they have higher standards of health and when they earn higher levels of income. On the contrary, they report lower levels of happiness when they live alone and when their nutrition is insufficient. We also find that education has no clear impact on happiness. We think that our study is an initial contribution to the study of those factors that can explain happiness among the elderly in Latin American countries. Future work will focus on enhanced empirical analysis and in extending our study to other countries.
    Keywords: Happiness; Health; Family; Censored Econometric Models; Semiparametric Methods; Treatment Evaluation
    JEL: C14 C24 I10 J12
    Date: 2018–12–11
  4. By: Christian Moser (Columbia University); Niklas Engbom (Princeton University)
    Abstract: We assess the extent to which a rise in the minimum wage can account for three facts characterizing a large decline in earnings inequality in Brazil from 1996--2012: (i) the decline is bottom-driven yet wide-spread; (ii) lower-tail inequality is negatively correlated with the bindingness of the minimum wage across Brazilian states over time; and (iii) a large share of the decline is due to a compression in the returns to firm and worker characteristics in pay. To this end, we build a general equilibrium search model with heterogeneous firms engaging in monopsonistic competition for heterogeneous workers. The rise in the minimum wage in our model explains 70 percent of the observed decline in the variance of log earnings, while being consistent with the above three facts.
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Alvaro Forteza (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: In this document, I present a conceptual framework for the analysis of the redistributive effect of pensions. The paper makes specific recommendations on the controversial issue of whether pensions should be treated as transfers or deferred income. I show that most pension programs have both dimensions in different degrees and present a proposal to deal with them in a unified framework. The proposal has specific recommendations in terms of accounting and counterfactuals. Using some simple examples, I show that usual accounting and “nonbehavioral” assumptions —particularly regarding non-labor income— may be very misleading.
    Keywords: Pensions, redistribution, fiscal incidence analysis
    JEL: D31 H55 I38
    Date: 2017–12
  6. By: Francesca Castellani (Inter-American Development Bank); Marcelo Olarreaga (University of Geneva and CEPR); Ugo Panizza (IHEID, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and CEPR); Yue Zhou (IHEID, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)
    Abstract: TWe estimate public investment gaps in a sample of developing countries using a public investment demand function. We then use GDP per capita projections, forecasts of structural transformation, and three SDG targets (poverty, infant mortality and lower secondary school completion) to predict public investment needs in 2030 among IDB borrowing countries. Our estimates suggest that in 2014 the total public investment gap of IDB borrowers was close to $170 billion (3.1 percent of the Region’s GDP) and that the gap is expected to surpass $717 billion (6.3 percent of the Region’s GDP) by 2030 if the SDGs were to be reached.
    Keywords: Investment gaps, Latin America, SDG
    JEL: H54 H63 O16 O54
    Date: 2018–03

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