nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
two papers chosen by

  1. Developmental Losses in Young Children from Pre-primary Program Closures during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Abufhele, Alejandra; Bravo, David; López Bóo, Florencia; Soto-Ramirez, Pamela
  2. Maternal Displacements during Pregnancy and the Health of Newborns By Cellini, Stefano; Menezes, Livia; Koppensteiner, Martin Foureaux

  1. By: Abufhele, Alejandra (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez); Bravo, David (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile); López Bóo, Florencia (Inter-American Development Bank); Soto-Ramirez, Pamela (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)
    Abstract: The learning and developmental losses from pre-primary program closures due to COVID-19 may be unprecedented. These disruptions early in life can be long-lasting. Although there is evidence about the effects of school closures on older children, there is currently no evidence on such losses for children in their early years. This paper is among the first to quantify the actual impact of pandemic-related closures on child development, in this case for a sample of young children in Chile, where school and childcare closures lasted for about a year. We use a unique dataset collected face-to-face in December 2020, which includes child development indicators for general development, language development, social-emotional development, and executive function. We find adverse impacts on children in 2020 compared to children interviewed in 2017 in most development areas. In particular, nine months after the start of the pandemic, we find a loss in language development of 0.25 SDs.
    Keywords: COVID-19, child development, Chile, childcare closures
    JEL: I25 J13 O15 Z13
    Date: 2022–03
  2. By: Cellini, Stefano (University of Surrey); Menezes, Livia (University of Birmingham); Koppensteiner, Martin Foureaux (University of Surrey)
    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.
    Keywords: dismissals, birth outcomes, informal insurance, unemployment insurance
    JEL: D14 I10 J65
    Date: 2022–03

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