nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2018‒11‒26
five papers chosen by

  1. Rural Development Policies and Conditional Cash Transfers in Brazil: An Impact Evaluation of the IFAD-Supported Gavi o Project and Potential Synergies with Bolsa Fam lia By Costa, L.V.; Helfand, S.; Souza, A.P.
  2. The agricultural R&D investment gap in Latin America and the Caribbean By Nin-Pratt, Alejandro; Falconi, César A.
  3. Wealth Disparities for Early Childhood Anthropometrics and Skills: Evidence from Chilean Longitudinal Data By Jere R. Behrman; Dante Contreras; Isidora Palma; Esteban Puentes
  4. Economic and Social Impacts of Deforestation reduction in Brazil By Ferreira, J.B. De Souza Filho; De Faria, V. Guidotti; Guedes Pinto, L.F.; Sparovek, G.
  5. What's Behind Her Smile? Looks, Self-Esteem, and Labor Market Outcomes By Francisco Gallego; Cristian Larroulet; Andrea Repetto

  1. By: Costa, L.V.; Helfand, S.; Souza, A.P.
    Abstract: Public policies frequently are implemented simultaneously rather than in isolation. We seek to estimate the impacts and possible synergies of a rural development project (Pro-Gavi o) and the Brazilian conditional cash transfer program (Bolsa Fam lia). In partnership with the State Government of Bahia, Pro-Gavi o was an IFAD supported rural development project in 13 contiguous municipalities between 1997 and 2005. Census tract level data were extracted for the analysis from the 1995-96 and 2006 Agricultural Censuses. The evaluation uses Propensity Score Matching to construct a control group of untreated census tracts, and a difference-in-differences estimation to identify impacts. The outcomes analyzed include land productivity, agricultural income and child labor. Although Pro-Gavi o involved significant investments in the region, the results suggest little if any program impact, or synergies between the two programs. Alternative explanations for the null results are discussed. Acknowledgement : We thank the IFAD/Uniandes project on conditional cash transfers and rural development in Latin America for financial support of this research, CNPq and Capes for financial support of Costa s dissertation research, Fernanda de Alc ntara Viana who was responsible for the field work in Bahia, and IBGE for access to the Agricultural Census microdata. The views expressed are solely those of the authors.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy
    Date: 2018–07
  2. By: Nin-Pratt, Alejandro; Falconi, César A.
    Abstract: Given the importance of agricultural R&D investment to sustain agricultural growth in the future, this study looks at the state of agricultural R&D investment in LAC, with the goal of identifying the level of underinvestment in the region. To do this the study uses a new indicator, the ASTI Intensity Index (AII) to measure agricultural R&D intensity in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and compares research intensity with that of other regions and between countries within the region. The index can be used to identify potential under investors, determine intensity gaps and quantify R&D investment needed to close this gap by comparing countries with similar characteristics. Results obtained using a sample of 100 countries including 29 LAC countries show that despite rapid growth in R&D investment after 2004, the region shows low levels of intensity and the largest R&D intensity gap when compared to other regions. Results also show large differences between countries in the region. The Southern Cone (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay) is among the regions showing highest levels of research intensity globally. Low levels of R&D intensity in the region are explained mainly by countries in Central America and by Andean countries. Results also show that the intensity gap represents almost 75 percent of total R&D investment in 2012 and that the region will need to increase investment from $5 to $8.5 billion 2011 PPP to close the intensity gap.
    Keywords: LATIN AMERICA; CARIBBEAN; agriculture; investment; agricultural productivity; agricultural research; public expenditure;
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Jere R. Behrman (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); Dante Contreras (Department of Economics, University of Chile); Isidora Palma (Department of Economics, University of Chile); Esteban Puentes (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: We study wealth disparities in the formation of anthropometrics, cognitive skills and socio-emotional skills. We use a sample of preschool and early school children in Chile. We extend the previous literature by using longitudinal data, which allow us to study the dynamics of child growth and skills formation. Also, we include information on mother's and father's schooling attainment and mother's cognitive ability. We find that there are no significant anthropometric differences favoring the better-off at birth (and indeed length differences at birth to the disadvantage of the better-off), but during the first 30 months of life wealth disparities in height-for-age z scores (HAZ) favoring the better-off emerge. Moreover, we find wealth disparities in cognitive skills favoring the better-off emerge early in life and continue after children turn 6 years of age. We find no concurrent wealth disparities for and socio-emotional skills. Thus, even though the wealth disparities in birth outcomes if anything favor the poor, significant disparities favoring the rich emerge in the early post-natal period. Mother's education and cognitive ability also are significantly associated with disparities in skill formation.
    Keywords: Wealth disparities, anthropometrics, cognitive skills, socio-emotional skills
    JEL: I14 I31 D30
    Date: 2017–09–28
  4. By: Ferreira, J.B. De Souza Filho; De Faria, V. Guidotti; Guedes Pinto, L.F.; Sparovek, G.
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the economic and social impacts of different deforestation reduction scenarios in Brazil, using a detailed inter-regional, bottom-up, dynamic general equilibrium model. We build three deforestation scenarios using detailed information on land use in Brazil, from satellite imagery that comprises deforestation patterns and land use by state and biome. This information includes agricultural suitability of soil, by biome and state, as well as the classification of land between private and public lands. Results show, for the period under consideration, low aggregate economic losses of reducing deforestation in all scenarios, but those losses are much higher in the agricultural frontier states. Reducing deforestation has also a negative impact on welfare (as measured by household consumption), affecting disproportionately more the poorest households, both at national level and particularly in the frontier regions, both by the income and expenditure composition effects. We conclude that although important from an environmental point of view, those social losses must be taken into account for the policy to get general support in Brazil. Acknowledgement : The authors are grateful to Instituto Escolhas for funding this research.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy
    Date: 2018–07
  5. By: Francisco Gallego; Cristian Larroulet; Andrea Repetto
    Abstract: We explore how improving dental health affects economic, social, and psychological outcomes. Using a randomized intervention whereby an impoverished group in Chile received free dental care, including access to prostheses, we find that the treatment in the short-run: (i) significantly improved dental health of both men and women, (ii) had a significant and positive effect on women's selfesteem, and (iii) positively impacted both employment rates and earnings among women. In the medium run, the effects on dental health and self-esteem persist but the treatment effects on labor market outcomes become statistically non-significant, although still economically relevant among women with low levels of self-esteem and among women missing at least one front tooth at baseline. We also find treatment effects on spending on appearance-related items, and improvements in the quality of relationships with partners including a reduction in verbal violence. The employment effects come mostly from the informal sector. Using several pieces of evidence, we document that the employment effects are consistent with a combination of increases in productivity and labor supply jointly with a possibly much smaller response of labor demand in the formal sector.
    Keywords: Dental Health, Labor Markets, Self-Esteem, Women.
    JEL: I10 J16 J20 O15
    Date: 2018–11–15

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