nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2020‒02‒10
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. The Chile Experiment Comparing Chile’s Free School Choice Model with Quasi-Monopoly Educational Systems in Latin America on Academic Outcomes and School Segregation By Mariano Narodowski
  2. Productivity differences among firms in Latin American and the Caribbean By Lucas Figal Garone; Paula A. López Villalba; Alessandro Maffioli; Christian A. Ruzzier
  3. What works for Active Labor Market Policies? By Eduardo Levy Yeyati; Martín Montané; Luca Sartorio

  1. By: Mariano Narodowski
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to show the achievements and challenges of Chile's system of free school choice compared to countries with similar socioeconomic structures and common educational histories, but with traditional education systems: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.
    Date: 2018–10
  2. By: Lucas Figal Garone (IDB); Paula A. López Villalba (Universidad de San Andrés); Alessandro Maffioli (IDB); Christian A. Ruzzier (Universidad de San Andrés)
    Abstract: While the accumulation of factors of production, both physical and human capital, has helped Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to narrow the income gap with developed economies, aggregate productivity is still relatively low. Although there are numerous determinants of aggregate productivity, it is largely based on the underlying productivity of all firms in the economy. Using firm-level data from several waves of the World Bank Enterprise Survey and Chile’s National Manufacturing Survey, we explore the ‘what’ question on productivity dispersion in LAC. We document three stylized facts: (i) there are significant differences in firm productivity within industries – the firm at the 90th percentile of the productivity distribution produces almost seven times as much output (using the same measured inputs) as the 10th percentile firm; (ii) productivity differences persist over time – regressing a firm’s current productivity on its one-year lagged productivity yields an autoregressive coefficient of around 0.9; and (iii) most of the growth in aggregate productivity comes from improvements in the productivity of existing firms. Next, we discuss the factors that explain these persistent productivity differences – the ‘why’ question. We argue that the large productivity differences within industries can be traced back to differences in firm strategy and organization (internal factors), and in the environment in which firms operate (external factors). Finally, we review the existing empirical evidence on the impacts of these factors on firm-level productivity (with a focus on developing countries) and identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for public, private and institutional investments.
    Keywords: Aggregate productivity, firm-level productivity, TFP, Latin America and the Caribbean
    JEL: D24 L20 M20 O30 O47 O54
    Date: 2020–01
  3. By: Eduardo Levy Yeyati; Martín Montané; Luca Sartorio
    Abstract: The past 5 years have witnessed a flurry of RCT evaluations that shed new light on the impact and cost effectiveness of Active Labor Market Policies (ALMPs) aiming to improve workers´ access to new jobs and better wages. We report the first systematic review of 102 RCT interventions comprising a total of 652 estimated impacts. We find that (i) a third of these estimates are positive and statistically significant (PPS) at conventional levels; (ii) programs are more likely to yield positive results when GDP growth is higher and unemployment lower; (iii) programs aimed at building human capital, such as vocational training, independent worker assistance and wage subsidies, show significant positive impact, and (iv) program length, monetary incentives, individualized follow up and activity targeting are all key features in determining the effectiveness of the interventions.
    Keywords: vocational training, labor policies, wage subsidies, randomized controlled trials.
    JEL: J21 J48 E24
    Date: 2019

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