nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2022‒03‒14
three papers chosen by

  1. School starting age and nutritional outcomes: Evidence from Brazil By Pierre Levasseur
  2. Local Retail Prices, Product Varieties and Neighborhood Change By Fernando Borraz; Felipe Carozzi; Nicolás González-Pampillón; Leandro Zipitría
  3. Smart Matching Platforms and Heterogeneous Beliefs in Centralized School Choice By Felipe Arteaga; Adam J. Kapor; Christopher A. Neilson; Seth D. Zimmerman

  1. By: Pierre Levasseur (SADAPT - Sciences pour l'Action et le Développement : Activités, Produits, Territoires - AgroParisTech - Université Paris-Saclay - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Recent studies reported that the age of primary school enrolment is a major driver of educational achievement and adult income, but its impacts on childhood health and nutrition remain largely unknown, particularly in developing countries where childhood stunting and overweight coexist. In Brazil, children are supposed to enrol in primary school the year they turn 6. Using a database of middle school students in Brazil based on a 2015 survey, I implemented an instrumental variables strategy using quasi-exogenous variations in the students' birthdates to isolate the impact of late primary school enrolment (i.e., older than 6 when enrolled) on height-forage and body mass-forage indicators. Overall, late enrolment has protective effects against hazardous weight gain (− 0.14 z-score unit) but significantly increases the risk of moderate stunting (by 1.5% points). Heterogeneity in family backgrounds may explain these results. Indeed, delayed school enrolment is particularly detrimental for the nutritional status of students from underprivileged settings. In terms of public policy, rather than changing school starting age, this study highlights the importance of focusing on pathways to fight both stunting and overweight conditions in Brazilian children.
    Date: 2022–01–01
  2. By: Fernando Borraz (Banco Central del Uruguay; Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República; Universidad de Montevideo); Felipe Carozzi (Department of Geography and the Environment. London School of Economics); Nicolás González-Pampillón (What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth - LSE; Institut d’Economia de Barcelona (IEB).); Leandro Zipitría (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: We study how retail prices within a city are affected by changes in local housing markets. Our empirical strategy is based on an exogenous shift in the spatial distribution of the construction activity induced by a large-scale, place-based tax exemption in the city of Montevideo. We provide differences-in-differences and instrumental variable estimates showing that the price of retail goods decreases in areas within the city that experience more residential development. We use a multi-product model of imperfect competition to relate this change to an expansion in either product varieties or firm entry. We report evidence in support of the varieties channel, with new development causing an increase in the number of varieties available locally. Our results have implications for urban planning policy and the broader discussion about winners and losers from neighborhood change.
    Keywords: Retail Prices, Housing Stock, Neighborhood Change
    JEL: R23 R32
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Felipe Arteaga (University of California at Berkley); Adam J. Kapor (Princeton University); Christopher A. Neilson (Princeton University); Seth D. Zimmerman (Yale University)
    Abstract: Many school districts with centralized school choice adopt strategyproof assignment mechanisms to relieve applicants of the need to strategize on the basis of beliefs about their own admissions chances. This paper shows that beliefs about admissions chances shape choice outcomes even when the assignment mechanism is strategyproof by influencing the way applicants search for schools, and that "smart matching platforms" that provide live feedback on admissions chances help applicants search more effectively. Motivated by a model in which applicants engage in costly search for schools and over-optimism can lead to under-search, we use data from a largescale survey of choice participants in Chile to show that learning about schools is hard, that beliefs about admissions chances guide the decision to stop searching, and that applicants systematically underestimate non-placement risk. We then use RCT and RD research designs to evaluate live feedback policies in the Chilean and New Haven choice systems. 22% of applicants submitting applications where risks of non-placement are high respond to warnings by adding schools to their lists, reducing non-placement risk by 58%. These results replicate across settings and over time. Reducing the strategic burden of school choice requires not just strategyproofness inside the centralized system, but also choice supports for the strategic decisions that inevitably remain outside of it.
    Keywords: education, schools
    JEL: D83 H75 I2 J01
    Date: 2021–06

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