nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2020‒04‒20
six papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. What Do 50 Years of Census Records and Household Survey Data Tell Us about Human Opportunities and Welfare in Latin America ? By Calvo-Gonzalez,Oscar; Caruso,German Daniel; Castaneda Aguilar,Raul Andres; Malasquez Carbonel,Eduardo Alonso
  2. The Brazilian Bombshell? The Long-Term Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic the South American Way By Amanda Guimbeau; Nidhiya Menon; Aldo Musacchio
  3. Trade Agreements and Latin American trade (creation and diversion) and welfare By Ayman El Dahrawy Sánchez-Albornoz; Jacopo Timini
  4. Providing academic opportunities to vulnerable adolescents: a randomized evaluation of privately managed tuition-free middle schools in Uruguay By Ana Balsa; Alejandro Cid; Ana Laura Zardo
  5. Mandatory Helmet Use and the Severity of Motorcycle Accidents: No Brainer?† By Magdalena Blanco; José María Cabrera; Felipe Carozzi; Alejandro Cid
  6. Uncertain Penalties and Compliance By Marcelo Caffera; Carlos Chávez; Carol Luengo

  1. By: Calvo-Gonzalez,Oscar; Caruso,German Daniel; Castaneda Aguilar,Raul Andres; Malasquez Carbonel,Eduardo Alonso
    Abstract: To comprehend how development really happens, it is necessary to understand the evolution of its drivers and their relationship with individuals'income. This paper analyzes the expansion of access to education and basic services in Latin America and its association with the evolution of incomes in the region. The paper focuses on the importance of access to opportunities as one of the drivers of development and highlights the role of policy making. The findings suggest that access to education and basic public services early in life are positively correlated with incomes in adulthood. The analysis also suggests that countries follow a dissimilar path to increase access to education and basic services. The paper undertakes a comprehensive analysis of historic census records to add granularity to the assessment of the development of countries, matched with detailed individual-level information from household surveys of several countries in the region. The paper widens an ongoing area of research on the long-run relationship between access to opportunities during childhood and incomes in adulthood.
    Date: 2020–04–07
  2. By: Amanda Guimbeau; Nidhiya Menon; Aldo Musacchio
    Abstract: We analyze the repercussions of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic on demographic measures, human capital formation, and productivity markers in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil's financial center and the most populous city in South America today. Leveraging temporal and spatial variation in district-level estimates of influenza-related deaths for the period 1917-1920 combined with a unique database on socio-economic, health and productivity outcomes constructed from historical and contemporary documents for all districts in Sao Paulo, we find that the 1918 Influenza pandemic had significant negative impacts on infant mortality and sex ratios at birth in 1920 (the short-run). We find robust evidence of persistent effects on health, educational attainment and productivity more than twenty years later. Our study highlights the importance of documenting the legacy of historical shocks in understanding the development trajectories of countries over time.
    JEL: I15 J10 N36 O12
    Date: 2020–04
  3. By: Ayman El Dahrawy Sánchez-Albornoz (CEMFI); Jacopo Timini (Banco de España)
    Abstract: This study analyses the process of economic integration in Latin America. Making use of a structural gravity model, this paper provides an ex-post assessment of the effect of the trade agreements (TAs) signed by Latin American countries on international trade. We account for the last wave of TAs proliferation and estimate treaty level effects. On average, TAs had a positive effect on Latin American trade. This holds true for both intra-Latin American agreements and agreements between Latin American countries and the rest of the world. However, we unveil that these average estimates cover a substantial degree of heterogeneity across TAs. Additionally, we quantify ex-ante general equilibrium effects on the trade volumes and welfare of Latin American countries under different scenarios of deeper integration.
    Keywords: international trade, trade agreements, Latin America, welfare effects
    JEL: F13 F14 F15 O54
    Date: 2020–04
  4. By: Ana Balsa; Alejandro Cid; Ana Laura Zardo
    Abstract: We conducted a randomized evaluation of three privately managed middle schools in Uruguay aimed at providing education opportunities to adolescents from low income socioeconomic status. At 3-year follow-up, treatment students fare better in terms of academic promotion and school retention. Students in treatment schools, present also better mental health, as represented by lower rates of internalizing behaviors and social problems than students in the control group. In addition to tutoring and other learning strategies reported in previous qualitative analyses of these schools, our findings suggest that a culture of high expectations, a caring and disciplined school climate, and parental involvement in the school could account for some of the observed differences in academic trajectories and mental health.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Magdalena Blanco; José María Cabrera; Felipe Carozzi; Alejandro Cid
    Abstract: We study the impact of mandatory motorcycle helmet use laws on the severity and volume of road accidents in Uruguay by exploiting a change in the enforcement of the traffic law. Using event-study, differences-in-difference and synthetic control methods, we report a sharp increase in helmet use and a 40 percent reduction in the incidence of serious or fatal motorcyclist accidents. We find no evidence of other behavioral responses in terms of either the volume or type of accidents. We show that additional costs of enforcement for the relevant government agencies were negligible and estimate the health benefits of the policy.
    Keywords: Law Enforcement; Safety and Accidents; Helmet Use
    JEL: I12 I18 R41 H89
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Marcelo Caffera; Carlos Chávez; Carol Luengo
    Abstract: We present the results of a series of laboratory economic experiments designed to study compliance behavior of polluting firms when information on the penalty is uncertain. The experiments consist of a regulatory environment in which university students face emission standards and an enforcement mechanism composed of audit probabilities and penalties (conditional on detection of a violation). We examine how uncertainty on the penalty affects the compliance decision and the extent of violation under two enforcement levels: one in which the regulator induces perfect compliance and another one in which it does not. Our results suggest that in the first case, uncertain penalties increase the extent of the violations of those firms with higher marginal benefits. When enforcement is not sufficient to induce compliance, the uncertain penalties do not have any statistically significant effect on compliance behavior. Overall, the results suggest that a cost-effective design of emission standards should consider including public and complete information on the penalties for violations.
    Keywords: uncertainty, penalty, emission standard, economic experiment
    JEL: C91 L51 Q58 K42
    Date: 2019

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