nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2021‒05‒10
three papers chosen by

  1. Reducing Parent-School Information Gaps and Improving Education Outcomes: Evidence from High-Frequency Text Messages By Berlinski, Samuel; Busso, Matias; Dinkelman, Taryn; Martinez A., Claudia
  2. Trade and Informality in the Presence of Labor Market Frictions and Regulations By Dix-Carneiro, Rafael; Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou; Meghir, Costas; Ulyssea, Gabriel
  3. Technological unemployment and income inequality: a stock-flow consistent agent-based approach By Luiza Nassif Pires; Laura Carvalho, Eduardo Rawet

  1. By: Berlinski, Samuel; Busso, Matias; Dinkelman, Taryn; Martinez A., Claudia
    Abstract: Grade retention and early dropout are two of the biggest challenges facing education systems in middle-income countries today, representing waste in school resources. We investigate whether reducing parent-school information gaps can improve outcomes that are early-warning signals for grade retention and dropout. We conducted an experiment in low-income schools in Chile to test the effects and behavioral changes triggered by a program that sends attendance, grade, and classroom behavior information to parents via weekly and monthly text messages. Our 18-month intervention raised average math GPA by 0.09 of a standard deviation and increased the share of students satisfying attendance requirements for grade promotion by 4.5 percentage points. Treatment effects were larger for students at higher risk of later grade retention and dropout. We find some evidence of positive classroom spillovers. Leveraging existing school inputs to implement a light-touch, cost-effective information intervention can improve education outcomes in lower-income settings.
    Keywords: Chile; Education; information experiment; parent-school communication
    JEL: D8 I25 N36
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Dix-Carneiro, Rafael; Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou; Meghir, Costas; Ulyssea, Gabriel
    Abstract: We build an equilibrium model of a small open economy with labor market frictions and imperfectly enforced regulations. Heterogeneous firms sort into the formal or informal sector. We estimate the model using data from Brazil, and use counterfactual simulations to understand how trade affects economic outcomes in the presence of informality. We show that: (1) Trade openness unambiguously decreases informality in the tradable sector, but has ambiguous effects on aggregate informality. (2) The productivity gains from trade are understated when the informal sector is omitted. (3) Trade openness results in large welfare gains even when informality is repressed. (4) Repressing informality increases productivity, but at the expense of employment and welfare. (5) The effects of trade on wage inequality are reversed when the informal sector is incorporated in the analysis. (6) The informal sector works as an "unemployment," but not a "welfare buffer" in the event of negative economic shocks.
    JEL: F14 F16 J46 O17
    Date: 2021–01
  3. By: Luiza Nassif Pires; Laura Carvalho, Eduardo Rawet
    Abstract: The paper presents empirical evidence from Brazil on the bidirectional relationship between inequality and the COVID-19 crisis: racial, regional and income inequalities have both aggravated the pandemic and been exacerbated by it. The paper provides a measure of social risk factors to COVID-19, which is positively associated with the number of Covid-19 cases across Brazilian states. This is complemented by a discussion of the country's inequalities in access to healthcare and in the incidence of comorbidities, which elucidates observed disparities in the need of a ventilator and in the number of deaths by COVID-19. Finally, our empirical analysis suggests that the substantive fiscal effort in the country and particularly the implementation of the cash relief program Auxílio Emergencial neutralized the short-term increase in wage disparities but has been insufficient to neutralize the cost of multi-dimensional structural inequalities on Brazil’s death tolls.
    Keywords: inequality; Covid-19 in Brazil; social vulnerability; health disparities; intersectionality
    JEL: I14 J15 D31
    Date: 2020–12–31

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