nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2020‒11‒02
six papers chosen by

  1. Working Less to Take Care of Parents? Labor Market Effects of Family Long-Term Care in Four Latin American Countries By Stampini, Marco; Oliveri, María Laura; Ibarrarán, Pablo; Londoño, Diana; Rhee, Ho June (Sean); James, Gillinda M.
  2. Human Capital Development: New Evidence on the Production of Socio-Emotional Skills By Mitchell, Mark; Favara, Marta; Porter, Catherine; Sanchez, Alan
  3. The Peace Baby Boom: Evidence from Colombia’s peace agreement with the FARC By Prem, M; Guerra, M. E.; Rodríguez, P; Vargas, J. F.
  4. The Rise and Persistence of Illegal Crops: Evidence from a Naive Policy Announcement By Prem, Mounu; Vargas, Juan F.; Mejía, Daniel
  5. Empowering women through multifaceted interventions: Long-term evidence from a double matching design By Maldonado, S
  6. Religion in Economic History: A Survey By Sascha O. Becker; Jared Rubin; Ludger Woessmann

  1. By: Stampini, Marco (Inter-American Development Bank); Oliveri, María Laura (Inter-American Development Bank); Ibarrarán, Pablo (Inter-American Development Bank); Londoño, Diana (University of Rosario); Rhee, Ho June (Sean) (Middlebury College); James, Gillinda M. (Middlebury College)
    Abstract: We use data from time-use surveys and the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) to analyze the relationship between family long-term care (LTC) and female labor supply in four Latin American countries. Time-use survey data from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico shows that: (i) women provide the vast majority of family LTC; (ii) consistently across countries, women who provide LTC are less likely to work, and those who do work less hours per week and have a double burden of work and LTC. Multivariate analysis of longitudinal MHAS data shows that, after accounting for both individual and time fixed effects, parents' need for LTC is associated with both a significant drop in the likelihood of working (by 2.42 percentage points) and a reduction in the number of hours worked among women ages 50–64 who remain employed (by 7.03%). This finding has important gender equality implications. Also, in a region that is aging faster than any other in the world, social trends make this family provision of LTC unsustainable, increasing the need for policy action.
    Keywords: female labor supply, Long-Term Care (LTC), elderly care, care dependence, time-use surveys, Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), Latin America, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico
    JEL: J14 J16 J18 J21 J22
    Date: 2020–10
  2. By: Mitchell, Mark (University of Edinburgh); Favara, Marta (University of Oxford); Porter, Catherine (Lancaster University); Sanchez, Alan (GRADE)
    Abstract: We estimate a dynamic model of multidimensional human capital development from childhood through adolescence and into early adulthood for a Peruvian cohort born in 1994. We exploit multiple measures of cognitive and socio-emotional skills and a latent factor structure to estimate flexible skills production functions between the ages of 8 and 22. We focus particularly on socio-emotional skill development, and provide the first estimates of such skill production over such a long period in a developing country context. In the last period, when individuals reach adulthood at age 22, we show that socio-emotional skills can be separated into two distinct domains - social skills and task effectiveness skills- which develop differently especially with regard to time use and cross-productivity with cognition. We find that individuals with higher task effectiveness are less likely to have engaged in risky behaviours such as smoking, taking drugs, and engaging with gangs.
    Keywords: human capital, child development, dynamic factor analysis, socio-emotional skills
    JEL: C38 J13 J24 O15 O54
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Prem, M; Guerra, M. E.; Rodríguez, P; Vargas, J. F.
    Abstract: Violent environments are known to affect household fertility choices, demand for health services and health outcomes of newborns. Using administrative data with a difference-indifferences, we study how the end of the 50 years old Colombian conflict with FARC modified such decisions and outcomes in traditionally affected areas of the country. Results indicate that generalised reductions in total fertility rate were slowed down for municipalities traditionally affected by conflict as a result of the permanent ceasefire declared by the FARC insurgency. Total fertility rate observed a relative increase of 2.6% in the formerly conflict-affected areas, in all age groups. However, no impact was found for demand of health care services, neonatal and infant mortality rates, or birth outcomes such as the incidence of low weight at birth or the percentage of preterm births. Our evidence shows that municipalities with mines victims and expelled population by forced displacement before the ceasefire have significantly higher total fertility rate in the four years following the ceasefire. We argue that the mechanism behind this result is the optimism to raise the children in a better environment due to the reduction in victimisation in areas that experience FARC violence.
    Keywords: fertility; pregnancy; mortality; armed conflict; violence
    JEL: I12 I15
    Date: 2020–09–18
  4. By: Prem, Mounu; Vargas, Juan F.; Mejía, Daniel
    Abstract: Policies based on prohibition and repression to fight the war on drugs have largely failed in a variety of contexts. However, incentive-based policies may also fail and have unintended negative consequences if policymakers do not properly anticipate the behavioral reactions of people. This is particularly problematic in the case of policies that are announced prior to their implementation. This paper shows that a naive an untimely policy announcement generated an unprecedented escalation in the production of cocaine in Colombia, offsetting almost 20 years of US-backed efforts to fight the war on drugs in that country and billions of dollars invested.
    Date: 2020–10–09
  5. By: Maldonado, S
    Abstract: Empowering women is a policy goal that has received a lot of interest by policy-makers in the developing world in recent years, yet little is known about effective ways to promote it sustainably. Most existing interventions fail to address the multidimensional nature of empowerment. Using a double matching design to construct the sampling frame and to estimate causal effects, I evaluate the long-term impact of a multifaceted policy intervention designed to improve women’s empowerment in the Atlantic region in Colombia. This intervention provided information about women’s rights, soft-skills and vocational training, seed capital, and mentoring simultaneously. I find that this intervention has mixed results: improvements in incomes and other economic dimensions along with large political and social capital effects, but limited or null impacts on women’s rights knowledge and control over one’s body. Using a list experiment, I even find an increase in the likelihood of intra-household violence. The results highlight the importance of addressing women’s empowerment multidimensional nature in policy innovations designed to foster it, incorporating men in these efforts.
    Keywords: Women, empowerment, multifaceted interventions, matching.
    JEL: I38 J16 J24 O17
    Date: 2020–10–05
  6. By: Sascha O. Becker (University, University of Warwick; CAGE; CEPR, CESifo, IZA, and ROA); Jared Rubin (Rubin: Chapman University); Ludger Woessmann (University of Munich and ifo Institute; CESifo, IZA, and CAGE)
    Abstract: This chapter surveys the recent social science literature on religion in economic history, covering both socioeconomic causes and consequences of religion. Following the rapidly growing literature, it focuses on the three main monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and on the period up to WWII. Works on Judaism address Jewish occupational specialization, human capital, emancipation, and the causes and consequences of Jewish persecution. One set of papers on Christianity studies the role of the Catholic Church in European economic history since the medieval period. Taking advantage of newly digitized data and advanced econometric techniques, the voluminous literature on the Protestant Reformation studies its socioeconomic causes as well as its consequences for human capital, secularization, political change, technology diffusion, and social outcomes. Works on missionaries show that early access to Christian missions still has political, educational, and economic consequences in present-day Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Much of the economics of Islam focuses on the role that Islam and Islamic institutions played in political-economy outcomes and in the “long divergence” between the Middle East and Western Europe. Finally, cross-country analyses seek to understand the broader determinants of religious practice and its various effects across the world. We highlight three general insights that emerge from this literature. First, the monotheistic character of the Abrahamic religions facilitated a close historical interconnection of religion with political power and conflict. Second, human capital often played a leading role in the interconnection between religion and economic history. Third, many socioeconomic factors matter in the historical development of religions.
    Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2020

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.