nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2020‒03‒16
three papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Measuring and explaining management in schools: new approaches using public data By Leaver, Clare; Lemos, Renata; Scur, Daniela
  2. Child development and obesity prevention: evidence from the Chilean School Meals Program By Caro, Juan Carlos
  3. Trading off the Income Gains and the Inequality Costs of Trade Policy By Artuc,Erhan; Rijkers,Bob; Porto,Guido

  1. By: Leaver, Clare; Lemos, Renata; Scur, Daniela
    Abstract: Why do some students learn more in some schools than others? One consideration receiving growing attention is school management. To study this, researchers need to be able to measure school management accurately and cheaply at scale, and also explain any observed relationship between school management and student learning. This paper introduces a new approach to measurement using existing public data, and applies it to build a management index covering 15,000 schools across 65 countries, and another index covering nearly all public schools in Brazil. Both indices show a strong, positive relationship between school management and student learning. The paper then develops a simple model that formalizes the intuition that strong management practices might be driving learning gains via incentive and selection effects among teachers, students and parents. The paper shows that the predictions of this model hold in public data for Latin America, and draws out implications for policy.
    Keywords: management; teacher selection; teacher incentives; cross-country
    JEL: M50 I20 J30
    Date: 2019–10
  2. By: Caro, Juan Carlos
    Abstract: Childhood obesity is one of the major public health challenges of the 21stcentury.Evidence suggests that timely nutrition and stimulation interventions can prevent excessive weight gain, however little is known about the effects of scaled-up programs. I use a national administrative dataset to explore the short- and long-run exposure effects to the Chilean School Meal Program (SMP) on the nutritional status of children attending public and subsidized schools. I estimate the effects on the standarized body mass index (BMI) using a Regression Discontinuity design based on the SMP eligibility cutoffs over a household vulnerability score. Participation in 1stgrade reduces average BMI of girls but not boys in the same year. Effects are concentrated among overweight or obese children. Effects are driven by improvements in nutritional quality of meals.Non-sedentary students, children with higher socioemotional skills, and those receiving mental health services reap larger benefits from the SMP. Continued participation from1stgrade reduces boys’ average BMI at 5thgrade, relative to never participants.
    Keywords: Nutritional Status, socioemotional development, Human capital, School meal program, Health, Child development
    JEL: I10 I11 I12 J13 J24
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Artuc,Erhan; Rijkers,Bob; Porto,Guido
    Abstract: This paper characterizes the trade-off between the income gains and the inequality costs of trade using survey data for 54 developing countries. Tariff data on agricultural and manufacturing goods are combined with household survey data on detailed income and expenditure patterns to estimate the first-order effects of the elimination of import tariffs on household welfare. The paper assesses how these welfare effects vary across the distribution by estimating impacts on the consumption of traded goods, wage income, farm and non-farm family enterprise income, and government transfers. For each country, the income gains and the inequality costs of trade liberalization are quantified and the trade-offs between them are assessed using an Atkinson social welfare index. The analysis finds average income gains from import tariff liberalization in 45 countries and average income losses in nine countries. Across countries in the sample, the gains from trade are 1.9 percent of real household expenditure on average. We find overwhelming evidence of a trade-off between the income gains (losses) and the inequality costs (gains), which arise because trade tends to exacerbate income inequality: 45 countries face a trade-off, while only nine do not. The income gains typically more than offset the increase in inequality. In the majority of developing countries, the prevailing tariff structure thus induces sizable welfare losses.
    Date: 2019–04–22

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