nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2021‒04‒19
four papers chosen by

  1. Intergenerational Transmission of Lockdown Consequences: Prognosis of the Longer-run Persistence of COVID-19 in Latin America By Guido Neidhöfer; Nora Lustig; Mariano Tommasi
  2. Poverty traps and affluence shields: Modelling the persistence of income position in Chile By Joaquín Prieto
  3. Income Distribution in Brazil During the 2010s: A Lost Decade in the Struggle Against Inequality and Poverty By Rogério J. Barbosa; Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza; Sergei S. D. Soares
  4. Do Information Technologies Improve Teenagers’ Sexual Education? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Colombia By Chong, Alberto; Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco; Karlan, Dean; Valdivia, Martín

  1. By: Guido Neidhöfer; Nora Lustig; Mariano Tommasi
    Abstract: The shock on human capital caused by COVID-19 is likely to have long lasting consequences, especially for children of low-educated families. Applying a counterfactual exercise we project the effects of school closures and other lockdown policies on the intergenerational persistence of education in 17 Latin American countries. First, we retrieve detailed information on school lockdowns and on the policies enacted to support education from home in each country. Then, we use this information to estimate the potential impact of the pandemic on schooling, high school completion, and intergenerational associations. In addition, we account for educational disruptions related to household income shocks. Our findings show that, despite that mitigation policies were able to partly reduce instructional losses in some countries, the educational attainment of the most vulnerable could be seriously affected. In particular, the likelihood of children from low educated families to attain a secondary schooling degree could fall substantially.
    Keywords: COVID-19, lockdowns, human capital, school closures, intergenerational persistence, education, inequality, Latin America
    JEL: I24 I38 J62
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Joaquín Prieto (International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science)
    Abstract: I propose analysing the dynamics of income positions using dynamic panel ordered probit models. I disentangle, simultaneously, the roles of state dependence and heterogeneity (observed and non-observed) in explaining income position persistence, such as poverty persistence and affluence persistence. I apply my approach to Chile exploiting longitudinal data from the P-CASEN 2006–2009. First, I find that income position mobility at the bottom and the top of the income distribution is much higher than the expected, showing signs of high economic insecurity. Second, the observable individual characteristics have a much stronger impact than true state dependence to explain individuals’ current income position in the income distribution extremes.
    Keywords: Longitudinal data; poverty persistence; affluence persistence; income mobility; Chile; Latin America.
    JEL: D31 D63 I32
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Rogério J. Barbosa; Pedro H. G. Ferreira de Souza; Sergei S. D. Soares
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios Contínua (PNAD Contínua) Microdata from 2012 to 2018 to document how the mid-decade economic recession reversed the trend of pro-poor growth that dated back to the early 2000s. Since the recession, there was a rise in inequality and poverty levels and aggregate welfare decreased. While average incomes surged from 2017 to 2018, they were still below their peak in 2014. More than 80% of all income growth between 2015 and 2018 accrued to the top 5%. Most distributional statistics suggest Brazil in 2018 was either back at the same levels or even worse-off than in 2012. This paper also relies on decomposition techniques to investigate the immediate causes behind this reversal of fortune. We find that the effects of the recession on the labor market explain a lot of the recent changes, but public transfers also played a role in distributional dynamics – either by action or inaction. Social assistance transfers and unemployment compensation failed to address rising inequality and poverty in any significant way. At the same time, Social Security contributed to surprisingly large increases in inequality due to the rise in pensions to the well-off. Finally, we show that in the past few years poverty rates were much more sensitive to changes in inequality than in average incomes. Indeed, if there were no increase inequality Brazil would have made further progress in reducing poverty even amid the recession.
    Keywords: Inequality, Poverty, Welfare, Income, Income Transfers
    JEL: I3 I32 D31 I38
    Date: 2020–12
  4. By: Chong, Alberto; Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco; Karlan, Dean; Valdivia, Martín
    Abstract: Across public junior high schools in 21 Colombian cities, we conducted a randomized evaluation of a mandatory six-month internet-based sexual education course. Six months after finishing the course, we find a 0.4 standard deviation improvement in knowledge, a 0.2 standard deviation improvement in attitudes, and a 55% increase in the likelihood of redeeming vouchers for condoms as a result of taking the course. We find no evidence of spillovers to control classrooms within treatment schools, and we find treatment effects are enhanced when a larger share of a student’s friends also takes the course. The low cost of the online course along with the effectiveness we document suggests this technology is a viable alternative for improving sexual education in middle income countries.
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Colombia
    Date: 2019–05–01

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