nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2022‒01‒24
six papers chosen by

  1. Social mobility and economic development By Neidhöfer, Guido; Ciaschi, Matías; Gasparini, Leonardo; Serrano, Joaquín
  2. Informal Labor Markets in Times of Pandemic: Evidence for Latin America and Policy Options By Gustavo Leyva; Carlos Urrutia
  3. Dynamic Impacts of Lockdown on Domestic Violence : Evidence from Multiple Policy Shifts in Chile By Bhalotra, Sonia; Brito, Emilia; Clarke, Damian; Larroulet, Pilar; Pino, Francisco
  4. A decomposition method to evaluate the `paradox of progress' with evidence for Argentina By Javier Alejo; Leonardo Gasparini; Gabriel Montes-Rojas; Walter Sosa-Escudero
  5. Motherhood and flexible jobs By Inés Berniell; Lucila Berniell; Dolores de la Mata; María Edo; Mariana Marchionni
  6. Nudging Parents to Increase Preschool Attendance in Uruguay By Ajzenman, Nicolas; Luna, Laura Becerra; Hernández-Agramonte, Juan Manuel; Boo, Florencia Lopez; Vásquez-Echeverría, Alejandro; Diaz, Mercedes Mateo

  1. By: Neidhöfer, Guido; Ciaschi, Matías; Gasparini, Leonardo; Serrano, Joaquín
    Abstract: We explore the role of social mobility as a driver of economic development. First, we map the geography of intergenerational mobility of education for 52 Latin American regions, as well as its evolution over time. Then, through a new weighting procedure that considers the participation of cohorts to the economy in each year, we estimate the impact of changes in mobility on regional economic indicators, such as income per capita, poverty, child mortality, and luminosity. Our findings show that increasing social mobility had a significant and robust effect on the development of Latin American regions.
    Keywords: Intergenerational Mobility,Equality of Opportunity,Development,Growth,Latin America
    JEL: D63 I24 J62 O15
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Gustavo Leyva; Carlos Urrutia
    Abstract: We document the evolution of labor markets of five Latin American countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, with emphasis on informal employment. We show, for most countries, a slump in aggregate employment, mirrored by a fall in labor participation, and a decline in the informality rate. The latter is unprecedented since informality used to cushion the decline in overall employment in previous recessions. Using a business cycle model with a rich labor market structure, we recover the shocks that rationalize the pandemic recession, showing that labor supply shocks and productivity shocks to the informal sector are essential to account for the employment and output loss and for the decline in the informality rate.
    JEL: E24 E32 F44 J65
    Date: 2021–12
  3. By: Bhalotra, Sonia (University of Warwick, CEPR, IEA, CAGE and IZA); Brito, Emilia (Brown University, Department of Economics); Clarke, Damian (University of Chile, Department of Economics, MIPP and IZA); Larroulet, Pilar (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Instituto de Sociología); Pino, Francisco (University of Chile, Department of Economics and IZA)
    Abstract: We leverage staggered implementation of lockdown across Chile’s 346 municipalities, identifying dynamic impacts on domestic violence (DV). Using administrative data, we find lockdown imposition increases indicators of DV-related distress, while decreasing DV reports to the police. We identify male job loss as a mechanism driving distress, and female job loss as driving decreased reporting. Stimulus payments to poor households act on both margins, their impacts partially differentiated by lockdown status. Once lockdown is lifted, police reports surge but we see a ratchet effect in distress. Our findings accentuate the controversy around welfare impacts of lockdown mandates.
    Keywords: domestic violence ; social safety net ; public health ; COVID-19 JEL Classification: J12 ; I38 ; H53
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Javier Alejo; Leonardo Gasparini; Gabriel Montes-Rojas; Walter Sosa-Escudero
    Abstract: The `paradox of progress' is an empirical regularity that associates more education with larger income inequality. Two driving and competing factors behind this phenomenon are the convexity of the `Mincer equation' (that links wages and education) and the heterogeneity in its returns, as captured by quantile regressions. We propose a joint least-squares and quantile regression statistical framework to derive a decomposition in order to evaluate the relative contribution of each explanation. The estimators are based on the `functional derivative' approach. We apply the proposed decomposition strategy to the case of Argentina 1992 to 2015.
    Date: 2021–12
  5. By: Inés Berniell (CEDLAS/UNLP); Lucila Berniell (CAF); Dolores de la Mata (CAF); María Edo (Universidad de San Andrés); Mariana Marchionni (CEDLAS/CONICET)
    Abstract: We study the causal effect of motherhood on labour market outcomes in Latin America. We adopt an event study approach around the birth of the first child based on panel data from national household surveys for Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. Our main contributions are: (i)providing new and comparable evidence on the effects of motherhood on labour outcomes in developing countries; (ii) exploring the possible mechanisms driving these outcomes; (iii) discussing the potential links between these outcomes and the prevailing gender norms and family policies in the region. We find that motherhood reduces women’s labour supply in the extensive and intensive margins and influences female occupational structure towards flexible occupations— part-time work, self-employment, and informal jobs—needed for family–work balance. Furthermore, countries with more conservative gender norms and less generous family policies are associated with larger differences between mothers’ and non-mothers’ labour market outcomes.
    Keywords: child penalty, event study, female labour supply, self-employment, labour informality, developing countries, Latin America
    JEL: J13 J16 J22 J46
    Date: 2021–11
  6. By: Ajzenman, Nicolas (São Paulo School of Economics-FGV); Luna, Laura Becerra (World Bank); Hernández-Agramonte, Juan Manuel (Innovation for Poverty Action, Lima); Boo, Florencia Lopez (Inter-American Development Bank); Vásquez-Echeverría, Alejandro (Universidad de Montevideo); Diaz, Mercedes Mateo (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: This paper presents the results of a nationwide very low-cost behavioral intervention aimed at increasing preschool attendance in Uruguay. Specifically, behaviorally-informed messages were delivered through the government's official mobile app. We document a large reduction in absenteeism, as well as an increase in some measures of cognitive development, though only for children around the median of the attendance rate baseline distribution (between deciles 4 and 6). The intervention was ineffective for children with very high or very low pre-treatment absenteeism levels. Our results, although encouraging, emphasize the limits of these types of interventions, especially for children in families where barriers to reduce absenteeism might be structural rather than behavioral.
    Keywords: preschool attendance, behavioral, cognitive development
    JEL: D9 I2
    Date: 2021–12

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.