nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2021‒09‒06
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure and COVID-19 Mortality in Latin America By Jorge A Bonilla; Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, Paula Pereda, Nathaly M. Rivera, J. Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle
  2. Inequality of Opportunity and Juvenile Crime By Alejandro Bayas; Nicolas Grau
  3. Una nueva estimacion de la desigualdad de ingresos en Chile By Osvaldo Larranaga; Benajamin Echecopar; Nicolas Grau
  4. The political economy of social protection adoption By Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel; Santillán Hernández, Alma
  5. Brazil: A Laboratory of International Migrations in the 21st Century By Roberto Georg Uebel; Amanda Raldi; Sonia Ranincheski

  1. By: Jorge A Bonilla; Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, Paula Pereda, Nathaly M. Rivera, J. Cristobal Ruiz-Tagle
    Abstract: Ambient air pollution is a major problem in many countries of the developing world. This study examines the relationship between long-term exposure to air pollution and COVID-19-related deaths in four countries of Latin America that have been highly affected by the pandemic: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Relying on historical satellite-based measures of fine particulate matter concentrations and official vital statistics, our results suggest that an increase in long-term exposure of 1 μg/m3 of fine particles is associated with a 2.7 percent increase in the COVID-19 mortality rate. This relationship is found primarily in municipalities of metropolitan areas, where urban air pollution sources dominate, and air quality guidelines are usually exceeded. Our findings support the call for strengthening environmental policies that improve air quality in the region, as well as allocating more health care capacity and resources to those areas most affected by air pollution.
    Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; air pollution; particulate matter; Latin
    JEL: I18 Q52 Q53 O13
    Date: 2021–08–30
  2. By: Alejandro Bayas; Nicolas Grau
    Abstract: To what extent should young people be normatively held responsible for committing a crime? To contribute to this debate, we study the role of inequality of opportunity in juvenile crime behavior. Drawing on Roemer’s theoretical framework and using administrative data from Chile, we empirically evaluate how much of the responsibility for the crime was determined by structural factors (i.e., circumstances) and how much was determined by decisions taken by the perpetrator (i.e., agency). Overall, we find evidence of substantial inequality of opportunity in this context. Specifically, we find that the contribution of circumstances varies between 46.44% and 32.10%, when explaining crime among males. As a benchmark analysis, we find that the role of circumstances in high school completion is less relevant than in criminal behavior, with levels between 34.80% and 18.54%. Finally, our study contradicts previous literature— suggesting that a different conception of equality of opportunity does change the conclusion regarding the relative contribution of agency versus circumstances.
    Date: 2021–09
  3. By: Osvaldo Larranaga; Benajamin Echecopar; Nicolas Grau
    Abstract: Este trabajo cuestiona la practica comun de estimar la evolucion de la desigualdad de ingresos en Chile utilizando como unica fuente de informacion a la Encuesta de Caracterizacion Socioeconomica Nacional (CASEN). El planteamiento es que los ingresos que son capturados por la CASEN no solo son una fraccion de los ingresos totales, sino que tal fraccion no es estable en el tiempo. Para abordar este potencial sesgo, en este articulo utilizamos distintas fuentes de informacion con el fin de corregir los datos de la CASEN: (i) la cuenta de ingreso de cuentas nacionales, que informa del total de ingresos que se generan en la economia cada ano; (ii) registros administrativos, que informan de la distribucion de ingresos entre los individuos, sin estar afectos al sub-reporte que caracteriza a la informacion recolectada por encuestas. Nuestros resultados muestran que la desigualdad medida con los ingresos corregidos no disminuye en el periodo 2003 a 2017, a diferencia de la tendencia decreciente que muestran los datos de ingresos no corregidos de la Casen.
    Date: 2021–08
  4. By: Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel; Santillán Hernández, Alma
    Abstract: In this paper, we present evidence that indicates that democratization has had a positive and significant effect on the current expansion of social transfers in low- and middle income countries. Overall, we find that electoral democracies seem to have favoured the expansion of conditional cash transfer (CCTs) programmes and social pensions, whereas autocracies and infant electoral democracies seem to have favoured pure cash transfers and public works, which are, on average, smaller in scale and more prone to political clientelism. Our findings also show that consumption taxes, and natural resource rents in particular, have contributed to the expansion of social transfers over the past two decades, although at the cost of delaying tax reforms that are necessary to guarantee the survival of welfare benefits. The current tax structure has also exposed net resource-exporting countries to the vagaries of commodity markets and reduced the fiscal space that these countries enjoyed just a decade ago. The policy implications of our findings are threefold: first, a strong technical approach to the formulation of social transfers is clearly desirable to maximize the poverty-reducing and welfare-enhancing effects of these programmes. However, a narrow focus on technical considerations can miss out wider implications of certain policy choices, especially in contexts characterized by electoral autocratic regimes. Second, state capabilities matter for an effective distribution of welfare benefits. However, without strong institutional settings and effective checks and balances, pro-poor redistribution can be subject to the capture of opportunistic clientelistic regimes. Third, any effort to expand social protection systems without parallel reforms to tax systems risks the long-term sustainability of transfer programmes. However, attempts to introduce more progressive forms of taxation would be destinated to fail without a good understanding of the strength and upfront position of elites.
    Keywords: social protection, political economy, democratization, developing countries
    JEL: I30 I38
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Roberto Georg Uebel (Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM)); Amanda Raldi; Sonia Ranincheski (UFRGS - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul [Porto Alegre])
    Abstract: If Latin America can be understood as a laboratory for the new regional systems of the 21st century, the protagonism of Brazil, a country that has undergone profound political, economic and social changes in the last two decades, was its main ingredient. One of the fields that stood out was that of international migrations towards the country, which has consolidated as one of the main destinations for Latin Americans, West Africans and East Asians in the global South. After observing an unprecedented immigration flow of Haitians, Senegalese, Cubans, Bengalis and Venezuelans, Brazil today has a geopolitical paradigm: It has one of the most modern migratory laws in the international system and, at the same time, governments and anti-immigration, anti-integration and anti-globalisation institutions. This work will present Brazil's immigration profile in the last two decades and a brief discussion about the country's migration governance, its new agendas and perspectives. It is an interdisciplinary work of Geography, International Relations and Political Science.
    Abstract: Si l'Amérique latine peut être comprise comme un laboratoire des nouveaux systèmes régionaux du XXIesiècle, le protagonisme du Brésil, pays qui a observé de profonds changements politiques, économiques et sociaux au cours des deux dernières décennies, en a été le principal ingrédient. L'un des domaines qui s'est démarqué a été celui des migrations internationales vers le pays, une des principales destinations des Latino-Américains, des Ouest-Africains et des Asiatiques de l'Est dans les pays du Sud global. Après avoir perçu un flux d'immigration sans précédent d'Haïtiens, de Sénégalais, de Cubains, de Bengalis et de Vénézuéliens, le Brésil fait aujourd'hui face à un paradigme géopolitique : il a à la fois l'une des lois migratoires les plus modernes du système international et des gouvernements et des institutions anti-immigration, anti-intégration et d'antimondialisation. Ce travail présentera le profil d'immigration du Brésil des deux dernières décennies et une brève discussion sur la gouvernance migratoire du pays, ses nouveaux agendas et perspectives. Il s'agit d'un travail interdisciplinaire de géographie, relations internationales et science politique.
    Keywords: Governance,Perspectives,Agendas,International migrations,Brazil,agendas,migrations internationales,Brésil,perspectives,gouvernance
    Date: 2020–11–18

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