nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2019‒01‒21
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Territorial inequality, equalization transfers and asymmetric sharing of non-renewable natural resources in Latin America By Brosio, Giorgio; Jiménez, Juan Pablo; Ruelas, Ignacio
  2. Violence during Early Childhood and Child Development By Berthelon, Matias; Contreras, Dante; Kruger, Diana; Palma, María Isidora
  3. Connecting to Economic Opportunity? The Role of Public Transport in Promoting Women's Employment in Lima By Martinez, Daniel; Mitnik, Oscar A.; Salgado, Edgar; Scholl, Lynn; Yanez-Pagans, Patricia
  4. A Rapid Road to Employment? The Impacts of a Bus Rapid Transit System in Lima By Scholl, Lynn; Martinez, Daniel; Mitnik, Oscar A.; Oviedo, Daniel; Yanez-Pagans, Patricia
  5. Las dimensiones del bienestar infantil y la focalización de los programas dirigidos a la primera infancia By Colacce, Maira; Tenenbaum, Victoria
  6. The deterrence effect of linear versus convex penalties in environmental policy: laboratory evidence By Caffera, Marcelo; Chávez, Carlos; Ardente, Analía
  7. Bright Investments: Measuring the Impact of Transport Infrastructure Using Luminosity Data in Haiti By Mitnik, Oscar A.; Sanchez, Raul; Yanez-Pagans, Patricia

  1. By: Brosio, Giorgio; Jiménez, Juan Pablo; Ruelas, Ignacio
    Abstract: Non-renewable natural resources (NRNR) contribute a large share of tax revenue in Latin American countries; and the fact that these resources are concentrated in just a few regions generates a high level of territorial inequality. This paper aims to analyse how NRNR revenues could be included in equalization grants, and how countries are implementing adequate equalization grant systems, or could do so. Based on fiscal equalization theory, vertical and horizontal systems are evaluated with reference to mid-level governments in Argentina and Peru. The study identifies a variety of political and economic costs for different NRNR revenue systems, where: (i) the provinces own the resources in question (Argentina); and (ii) NRNR revenues are collected and distributed by central government to a large number of subnational governments under a fully asymmetrical scheme (Peru).
    Date: 2018–12–30
  2. By: Berthelon, Matias (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez); Contreras, Dante (University of Chile); Kruger, Diana (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez); Palma, María Isidora (Universidad de Chile)
    Abstract: We study the effects of violence towards children on early childhood development. We contribute to the literature providing estimates of the effects of violence (verbal and/or physical) that control for child-mother unobserved characteristics. We find that violence has negative effects on verbal skills (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test) and socio-emotional development (Child Behavior Check List). We also find that violence affects girls in their vocabulary development and increases behavioral problems of both boys and girls, with stronger effects among boys; that the negative effects diminish as children get older; and that they are more harmful among children with less educated mothers.
    Keywords: violence toward children, spanking, corporal punishment, child development, cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes, Chile
    JEL: O15 J12 J13 I31
    Date: 2018–11
  3. By: Martinez, Daniel (Inter-American Development Bank); Mitnik, Oscar A. (Inter-American Development Bank); Salgado, Edgar (Inter-American Development Bank); Scholl, Lynn (Inter-American Development Bank); Yanez-Pagans, Patricia (IDB Invest)
    Abstract: Limited access to safe transportation is one of the greatest challenges to labor force participation faced by women in developing countries. This paper quantifies the causal impacts of improved urban transport systems in women´s employment outcomes, looking at Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and elevated light rail investments in the metropolitan region of Lima, Perú. We find large gains in employment and earnings per hour among women, and not for men, due to these investments. Most of the gains arise on the extensive margin, with more women being employed, but employment does not appear to be of higher quality than that for comparison groups. We find also evidence of an increase in the use of public transport. Results are robust to alternative specifications and we do not find evidence that they are driven by neighborhood composition changes. Overall, these findings suggest that infrastructure investments that make it more convenient and safer for women to use public transport can generate important labor market impacts for women who reside in the area of influence of the improved infrastructure.
    Keywords: urban transport, gender, employment, impact evaluation
    JEL: J01 J16 O12 R40
    Date: 2018–12
  4. By: Scholl, Lynn (Inter-American Development Bank); Martinez, Daniel (Inter-American Development Bank); Mitnik, Oscar A. (Inter-American Development Bank); Oviedo, Daniel (University College London); Yanez-Pagans, Patricia (IDB Invest)
    Abstract: Despite the growing interest in and proliferation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems around the world, their causal impacts on labor market outcomes remain unexplored. Reduced travel times for those who live near BRT stations or near feeder lines, may increase access to a wider array of job opportunities, potentially leading to increased rates of employment, access to higher quality (or formal) jobs, and increased labor hours and earnings. This paper assesses the effects of the Metropolitano, the BRT system in Lima (Peru), on individual-level job market outcomes. We rely on a difference-in-differences empirical strategy, based on comparing individuals who live close to the BRT system with a comparison group that lives farther from the system, before and after the system started to operate. We find large impacts on employment, hours worked and labor earnings for those individuals close to the BRT stations, but not for those who live close to the feeder lines. Despite the potential to connect poor populations, we find no evidence of impacts for populations living in lower income areas.
    Keywords: Bus Rapid Transit, employment, impact evaluation
    JEL: J01 J21 O12 R40
    Date: 2018–12
  5. By: Colacce, Maira; Tenenbaum, Victoria
    Abstract: El objetivo de este estudio es elaborar un índice de privaciones multidimensionales comprehensivo de las diferentes dimensiones del bienestar infantil en Uruguay mediante una Encuesta longitudinal que cuenta con información exhaustiva sobre la primera infancia (Encuesta de Nutrición, Desarrollo Infantil y Salud). Este índice se compone de cinco dimensiones: Hogares, Embarazo, Prácticas de Crianza, Salud y Nutrición. A la vez, se plantea la estimación de un índice más acotado con indicadores de riesgo sanitario que se puedan captar mediante registros administrativos universales. Eso permitiría mejorar los instrumentos de focalización de un programa orientado a la primera infancia como lo es Uruguay Crece Contigo, así como sus tiempos de captación e intervención.
    Date: 2019–01–09
  6. By: Caffera, Marcelo; Chávez, Carlos; Ardente, Analía
    Abstract: We study the individual compliance behavior of polluting firms in an experimental setting under two different penalty functions (a linear and a strictly convex) and two different regulatory instruments (emission standards and tradable pollution permits). We find that a convex penalty, as compared to a linear penalty, increases the market price of pollution permits and the violation rate of firms. The effect of the structure of the fine on the price of permits operates through an increase in the ask-prices of sellers, not on the bids by suppliers. With convex penalties, sellers are not willing to sell a permit at a price as low as with linear penalties. We do not observe an effect of convex penalties on the compliance status of firms with emission standards. These results call for attention on the possible effect that the type of penalties may have on the cost-effectiveness of pollution control programs based on tradable pollution permits.
    Keywords: Environmental policy, enforcement, penalty structure, emissions standards, emissions trading, laboratory experiments
    JEL: C91 K42 L51 Q58
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Mitnik, Oscar A. (Inter-American Development Bank); Sanchez, Raul (IDB Invest); Yanez-Pagans, Patricia (IDB Invest)
    Abstract: This paper quantifies the impacts of transport infrastructure investments on economic activity in Haiti, using satellite night-light luminosity as a proxy measure. Our identification strategy exploits the differential timing of rehabilitation projects across various road segments of the primary road network. We combine multiple sources of non-traditional data and carefully address concerns related to unobserved heterogeneity. The results obtained across multiple specifications consistently indicate that receiving a road rehabilitation project leads to an increase in luminosity values of between 6% and 26% at the communal section level. Taking into account the national level elasticity between luminosity values and GDP, we approximate that these interventions translate into communal section-GDP increases of between 0.5% and 2.1%, for communal sections benefited by a transport infrastructure project. We observe temporal and spatial variation in results, and crucially that the larger impacts appear once projects are completed and are concentrated within 2 km buffers around the intervened roads. Neither the richest or the poorest communities reap the benefits from road improvements, with gains accruing to those in the middle of the ranking of communal sections, based on unsatisfied basic needs. Our findings provide novel evidence on the role of transport investments in promoting economic activity in developing countries.
    Keywords: Haiti, night-time luminosity, road investments
    JEL: O1 O47 R4 D04
    Date: 2018–12

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NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.