nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2022‒02‒28
six papers chosen by

  1. Earnings Inequality and Dynamics in the Presence of Informality: The Case of Brazil By Niklas Engbom; Gustavo Gonzaga; Christian Moser; Roberta Olivieri
  2. Dynamic Impacts of Lockdown on Domestic Violence: Evidence from Multiple Policy Shifts in Chile By Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Brito, Emilia; Clarke, Damian; Larroulet, Pilar; Pino, Francisco J.
  3. Life Out of the Shadows: Impacts of Amnesties in the Lives of Migrants By Ibanez, Ana Maria; Moya, Andres; Ortega, María Adelaida; Rozo, Sandra V.; Urbina, Maria José
  4. The effect of Crianza Positiva e-messaging program on adult-child language interactions By Ana Balsa; Florencia López Boo; Juanita Bloomfield; Alejandrina Cristia; Alejandro Cid; María de la Paz Ferro; Rosario Valdés; María del Luján González
  5. Gimme Shelter. Social Distancing and Income Support in Times of Pandemic By Aminjonov, Ulugbek; Bargain, Olivier; Bernard, Tanguy
  6. Socially Optimal Crime and Punishment By Ferraz, Eduardo; Soares, Rodrigo R.

  1. By: Niklas Engbom; Gustavo Gonzaga; Christian Moser; Roberta Olivieri
    Abstract: Using rich administrative and household survey data spanning 34 years from 1985 to 2018, we document a series of new facts on earnings inequality and dynamics in a developing country with a large informal sector: Brazil. Since the mid-1990s, both inequality and volatility of earnings have declined significantly in Brazil’s formal sector. Higher-order moments of the distribution of earnings changes show cyclical movements in Brazil that are similar to those in developed countries like the US. Relative to the formal sector, the informal sector is associated with a significant earnings penalty and higher earnings volatility for identical workers. Earnings changes of workers who switch from formal to informal (from informal to formal) employment are relatively negative (positive) and large in magnitude, dispersed, negatively (positively) skewed, and less leptokurtic. Our results suggest that informal employment is an imperfect insurance mechanism.
    JEL: D31 D33 E24 E26 J31 J46 J62
    Date: 2022–01
  2. By: Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Warwick); Brito, Emilia (Brown University); Clarke, Damian (University of Chile); Larroulet, Pilar (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile); Pino, Francisco J. (University of Chile)
    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: public health, social safety net, domestic violence, COVID-19
    JEL: J12 I38 H53
    Date: 2021–12
  3. By: Ibanez, Ana Maria (Inter-American Development Bank); Moya, Andres (Universidad de los Andes); Ortega, María Adelaida (University of California, Davis); Rozo, Sandra V. (World Bank); Urbina, Maria José (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of a government regularization program offered to half a million Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. For this purpose, 2,232 surveys of refugee families were collected and used to compare refugees who arrived in Colombia around a specified eligibility date in 2018. We find that program beneficiaries experienced improvements in consumption (60 percent), income (31 percent), physical and mental health (1.8 sd), registration rates in the system that assesses vulnerability and awards public transfers (40 pp), and financial services (64.3 pp), relative to other refugees. The program also induced a change in labor formalization of 10 pp.
    Keywords: migration, refugees, amnesties, Latin America
    JEL: F22 O15 R23
    Date: 2022–01
  4. By: Ana Balsa; Florencia López Boo; Juanita Bloomfield; Alejandrina Cristia (LSCP - Laboratoire de sciences cognitives et psycholinguistique - DEC - Département d'Etudes Cognitives - ENS Paris - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Alejandro Cid; María de la Paz Ferro; Rosario Valdés; María del Luján González
    Abstract: We assess the effects of the Crianza Positiva text and audio e-messaging program on caregiver-child language interaction patterns. The program is a six-month-long intervention for families with children aged 0-2 aimed at strengthening parental competences. Its design exploits behavioral tools such as reminders, suggestions of action, and messages of encouragement to reinforce and sustain positive parenting practices. Families in 24 early childhood centers in Uruguay that completed an 8-weeks workshop were randomized into receiving or not receiving mobile messages. After the program, we videotaped 10-minutes-sessions of free play between the caregiver and the child, and decoded language patterns using automated techniques. The intervention was successful at improving the quality of parental vocalizations, as measured by the parent's pitch range. We also found suggestive evidence of increases in the duration of adult vocalizations. Results are consistent with more frequent parental selfreported involvement in reading, telling stories and describing things to the child. Regarding the child, we find a non-robust decrease in the duration of vocalizations, which we attribute to a crowding-out effect by the caregiver in the context of a fixed 10-minute suggested activity and a more proactive parental role.
    Keywords: early childhood,language,behavioral economics,parenting,e-messages
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Aminjonov, Ulugbek (University of Bordeaux); Bargain, Olivier (Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV); Bernard, Tanguy (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute)
    Abstract: Strict containment limits the spread of pandemics but is difficult to achieve when people must continue to work to avoid poverty. A new role is emerging for income support: by enabling people to effectively stay home, it can produce substantial health externalities. We examine this issue using data on human mobility and poverty rates in 729 subnational regions of Africa, Latin America and Asia during the first year of COVID-19. We focus on within-country differential mobility changes between higher- and lower-poverty regions. Conditional on country-day fixed effects, shelter-in-place orders decrease work-related mobility significantly less in poorer regions. Emergency income support programs seem to help people to reduce their mobility on average, mitigating the poverty-driven gap in mobility between regions and, hence, regional differences in contagion rates.
    Keywords: COVID-19, poverty, policy, lockdown, social protection, compliance, mobility
    JEL: H12 I12 I18 I38 O15
    Date: 2021–12
  6. By: Ferraz, Eduardo (Universidad del Rosario); Soares, Rodrigo R. (Insper, São Paulo)
    Abstract: This paper develops a dynamic life-cycle equilibrium model of crime with hetero-geneous agents and human capital accumulation. Agents decide at each point in time whether to commit crimes by comparing potential gains from crime to the expected cost of punishment (determined from the probability of apprehension, the utility cost of incarceration, and reduced future wages in the legal labor market). Public security policies are defined as pairs of a size of the police force and an average length of sentences. We propose an original micro-founded police production function linking the level of police expenditures to the probability of apprehension. The structural model, estimated using 2000s US data and causal parameters from the empirical literature, allows us to evaluate the global optimality of policies in a way that would not be possible with reduced form estimates or traditional partial equilibrium, static models of crime. Equilibrium effects can be particularly relevant when studying crime, given the interactions across individuals' decisions and policies. We also extend the model to include investments in schooling and explore the potential complementarities across public security and educational policies.
    Keywords: crime, welfare, police, sentence length, socially optimal policy
    JEL: K42 I38
    Date: 2022–01

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