nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2019‒04‒08
three papers chosen by

  1. Growing in the Womb: The Effect of Seismic Activity on Fetal Growth By Álvarez-Aranda, Rocío; Chirkova, Serafima; Romero, José Gabriel
  2. More Work to Do? Taking Stock of Latin American Labor Markets By Antonio David; Frederic Lambert; Frederik G Toscani
  3. The Growth-Finance Nexus in Brazil: Evidence from a New Dataset, 1890-2003 By Nauro Campos; Menelaos Karanasos; Panagiotis Koutroumpis

  1. By: Álvarez-Aranda, Rocío; Chirkova, Serafima; Romero, José Gabriel
    Abstract: We study how prenatal maternal stress, caused by sustained seismic activity, affects birth outcomes in Chile during the period 2011-2015. A mother-fixed-effect model together with the spatiotemporal variation of earthquakes in Chile allow us to deal with identification issues that have obscured previous estimates. Our findings show that prenatal maternal stress seems to affect fetal growth, because infants born to mothers exposed to earth tremors in early and/or mid gestation are more likely to be large for gestational age. The estimates suggest that relatively poorer Chilean mothers are more vulnerable to earthquakes, because their babies seem to drive the reported impacts on fetal growth. We discuss and provide evidence that suggests a possible mechanism that explains the varying results across socioeconomic status. Mothers with diabetes and/or hypertension are more likely to have large-for-gestational-age babies. Exposure to earth tremors seems to increase the incidence of these afflictions among the affected population, with the observed impact on diabetes being relatively higher among women with lower socio-economic status.
    Keywords: Health Economics and Policy
    Date: 2019–01–14
  2. By: Antonio David; Frederic Lambert; Frederik G Toscani
    Abstract: We analyze the performance of labor markets in Latin America since the late 1990s. Strong GDP growth during the commodity boom period led to important gains in employment and a fall in the unemployment rate as labor demand outpaced an increasing labor supply. We emphasize the role of informality in the dynamics of labor markets in Latin America. A re-examination of Okun’s law shows that informality dampens changes in unemployment accompanying output fluctuations. Moreover, we present some evidence that countries with higher redundancy costs and cumbersome dismissal regulations, exhibit “excess” informality over and above what would be expected based on their income and educational levels. Labor market reforms could thus contribute to reducing informality and increasing the responsiveness of labor markets to output growth. However, looking at selected case studies of reforms using the synthetic control method, we find mixed results in terms of labor market outcomes.
    Date: 2019–03–08
  3. By: Nauro Campos (Brunel University, London); Menelaos Karanasos (Brunel University, London); Panagiotis Koutroumpis (Queen Mary University of London)
    Abstract: This study revisits the growth-finance nexus using a new econometric approach and unique data set. In particular by employing the smooth transition framework and annual time series data for Brazil from 1890 to 2003, we attempt to address on the one side, what is the relationship between financial development, trade openness, political instability and economic growth and, on the other, how it changes over time. The main finding is that financial development has a mixed positive and negative time-varying impact on economic growth, which signifi cantly depends on jointly estimated trade openness thresholds. Moreover our estimates highlight a positive impact of trade openness on growth but with interesting variation regarding their size and power, whereas the effect of political instability (both formal and informal) on growth is mainly negative. We also find that changes between regimes tend not to be smooth. Finally, our estimates show that in 57% of the years in which financial development has a below the mean effect, we find that trade openness experiences a substantial above the mean change.
    Keywords: Economic growth; financial development; political instability; smooth transition models; trade openness
    JEL: C14 O40 E23 D72
    Date: 2019–03–20

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