nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2022‒03‒21
five papers chosen by

  1. Financial education for youth. A randomized evaluation in Uruguay By Fernando Borraz; Ana Caro; Maira Caño-Guiral; María José Roa
  2. Are Fairness Perceptions Shaped by Income Inequality? Evidence from Latin America By Leonardo Gasparini; Germ\'an Reyes
  3. Towards a quality currency By Diego Labat; Gerardo Licandro
  4. Maternal Displacements during Pregnancy and the Health of Newborns By Stefano Cellini; Lívia Menezes; Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner
  5. Strategic Formal Layoffs: Unemployment Insurance and Informal Labor Markets By Bernardus Van Doornik; David Schoenherr; Janis Skrastins

  1. By: Fernando Borraz (Banco Central del Uruguay; Departamento de Economía de la Facultad de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de la República; Universidad de Montevideo); Ana Caro (Banco Central del Uruguay); Maira Caño-Guiral (Banco Central del Uruguay); María José Roa (Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales Francisco de Vitoria; Research Committee of the OECD/INFE)
    Abstract: Using data from a randomized control trial in Uruguay, we evaluate the impact of an economic and financial education program targeted to senior high-school students. The program is based on an innovative playful approach workshop about monetary policy and financial supervision. We find that the workshop has a positive and significant impact on student knowledge. Our results shed light on the importance of economic and financial education for the youth in developing countries.
    Keywords: BCUEduca, economic education, youth, treatment effects
    JEL: A21 D12 I22 J24
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Leonardo Gasparini; Germ\'an Reyes
    Abstract: A common assumption in the literature is that the actual level of income inequality shapes individuals' beliefs about whether the income distribution is fair ("fairness views," for short). However, individuals do not directly observe income inequality (which often leads to large misperceptions), nor do they consider all inequities to be unfair. In this paper, we empirically assess the link between objective measures of income inequality and fairness views in a context of high but decreasing income inequality. To do this, we combine opinion poll data with harmonized data from household surveys of 18 Latin American countries from 1997-2015. We find a strong and statistically significant relationship between income inequality and unfairness views across countries and over time. Unfairness views evolved in the same direction as income inequality for 17 out of the 18 countries in our sample. We find that individuals who are older, unemployed, and left-wing are, on average, more likely to perceive the income distribution as very unfair. Finally, we find that fairness views and income inequality have predictive power for individuals' self-reported propensity to mobilize and protest independent of each other, suggesting that these two variables capture different channels through which changes in the income distribution can affect social unrest.
    Date: 2022–02
  3. By: Diego Labat (Banco Central del Uruguay); Gerardo Licandro (Banco Central del Uruguay)
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Stefano Cellini (University of Surrey); Lívia Menezes (University of Birmingham); Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner (University of Surreyj and IZA)
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the effect of maternal displacements during pregnancy on birth outcomes by leveraging population-level administrative data from Brazil on formal employment linked to birth records. We find that involuntary job separation of pregnant single mothers leads to a decrease in birth weight (BW) by around 28 grams (-1% ca.) and an increase in the incidence of low BW by 10.5%. In contrast, we find a significant positive effect on the mean BW and a decrease in the incidence of low BW for mothers in a marriage or stable union. We document more pronounced negative effects for single mothers with lower earnings and no effect for mothers in the highest income quartile, suggesting a mitigating role of self-insurance from savings. Exploiting variation from unemployment benefits eligibility, we also provide evidence on the mitigating role of formal unemployment insurance using a Regression Discontinuity design exploiting the cutoff from the unemployment insurance eligibility rule.
    JEL: D14 I10 J65
    Date: 2022–03
  5. By: Bernardus Van Doornik (Banco Central do Brasil); David Schoenherr (Princeton University); Janis Skrastins (Washington University in St. Louis)
    Abstract: Exploiting an unemployment insurance (UI) reform in Brazil, we study incentive effects of UI in the presence of informal labor markets. We find that eligibility for UI benefits increases formal layoffs by twelve percent. Most of the additional formal layoffs are related to workers transitioning to informal employment. We further document formal layoff and recall patterns consistent with rent extraction from the UI system. Workers are laid off as they become eligible for UI benefits and recalled just when benefits cease. Salary patterns around the reform are consistent with firms and workers sharing rents through lower equilibrium salaries.
    Keywords: unemployment insurance, informality, labor supply, rent-seeking
    JEL: J21 J22 J46 J65 K31
    Date: 2020–11

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