nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2018‒04‒30
three papers chosen by

  1. Fading Out Effect or Long Lasting Nudge? The impact of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program Beyond Starting the School Year in Argentina By María Edo; Mariana Marchionni
  2. The Impact of a Permanent Income Shock on the Situation of Women in the Household: the case of a pension reform in Argentina By Inés Berniell; Dolores de la Mata; Matilde Pinto Machado
  3. A Community Based Program Promotes Sanitation By Alzúa, María Laura; Djebbari, Habiba; Pickering, Amy J.

  1. By: María Edo (UdeSA & CONICET); Mariana Marchionni (CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP & CONICET)
    Abstract: We estimate the impact on education outcomes of the Universal Child Allowance (AUH), a massive conditional cash transfer program targeted at young children of unemployed and informal workers launched in Argentina in late 2009. Evidence from previous works suggests that the AUH has had a significant positive impact on attendance rates at the beginning of the school year, but concentrated on boys in upper-secondary school. In this paper we study the effects on other education outcomes: intra-year dropout rates and primary school completion rates. We find that the AUH may be held responsible for significant improvements in both outcomes while the analysis highlights heterogeneous effects across age groups and gender. In particular, the AUH seems to have contributed to reduce intra-year dropout rates of eligible girls aged 12 to 14 (almost 4 p.p.) and 15 to 17 (7 p.p.) while no effects were found for children aged 6 to 11 or for boys, irrespective of age. The program seems to have also increased the probability of graduating from primary school of over-aged eligible children (1.4 p.p. for boys aged 12 to 14, almost 3 p.p. for girls in that age range and 2 p.p. for boys in the 15-17 age group). These results suggest that beyond the effects on school access indicators, the AUH may also contribute to the improvement of final outcomes in education. Nevertheless, the evidence also indicates that there is room for improvements in the design of the program aimed at enhancing these long term effects.
    JEL: I2 I3
    Date: 2018–04
  2. By: Inés Berniell (CEDLAS-UNLP); Dolores de la Mata (CAF); Matilde Pinto Machado (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: Income transfers from social programs are often not gender neutral and should, according to the vast literature on intra-household decision making and allocation, affect the distribution of bargaining power within the household. This result, however, was by and large established under the assumption of marriage stability. If this assumption does not hold, then the positive response of bargaining power to income found in the empirical research may be the artefact of sample selection. One may postulate, however, that when restricted to certain groups in the population, such as seniors, the assumption may hold since their probability of divorce is close to zero. In this paper we prove that the assumption is wrong, even when applied to seniors. We use a non-contributory pension reform in Argentina, that resulted in an unexpected and substantial increase in permanent income for around 1.8 million women, to study its effects on outcomes related to both marital stability and women’s bargaining power within the household. We find that the reform increased the probability of divorce/separation among senior highly educated women but had no impact on the low-educated. Instead, the latter gained considerable bargaining power within the household by decreasing the probability of being the only one in charge of household chores in tandem with an increase in their husbands’ participation in these chores.
    JEL: J12 J16 J26 H55
    Date: 2017–11
  3. By: Alzúa, María Laura (Universidad Nacional de la Plata); Djebbari, Habiba (Université Laval); Pickering, Amy J. (Tufts University)
    Abstract: Basic sanitation facilities are still lacking in large parts of the developing world, engendering serious environmental health risks. Interventions commonly deliver in-kind or cash subsidies to promote private toilet ownership. In this paper, we assess an intervention that provides information and behavioral incentives to encourage villagers in rural Mali to build and use basic latrines. Using an experimental research design and carefully measured indicators of use, we find a sizeable impact from this intervention: latrine ownership and use almost doubled in intervention villages, and open defecation was reduced by half. Our results partially attribute these effects to increased knowledge about cheap and locally available sanitation solutions. They are also associated with shifts in the social norm governing sanitation. Taken together, our findings, unlike previous evidence from other contexts, suggest that a progressive approach that starts with ending open defecation and targets whole communities at a time can help meet the new Sustainable Development Goal of ending open defecation.
    Keywords: sanitation, behavioral change, community-based intervention, social norm
    JEL: Q53 Q58 D78
    Date: 2018–03

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