nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2023‒06‒19
seven papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Employment effects of a social and labor inclusion program By Pablo Blanchard; Matías Brum; Paula Carrasco; Cecilia Parada; Ivone Perazzo
  2. Transferencias públicas, consumo de alimentos y diversificación de la dieta. El caso de la Tarjeta Uruguay Social By Victoria Tenenbaum; Andrea Vigorito
  3. See it to believe it. Experimental evidence on status good consumption among the youth By Guillermo Alves; Martín Leites; Gonzalo Salas
  4. Unpacking Neighborhood Effects: Experimental Evidence from a Large-Scale Housing Program in Brazil By Belchior, Carlos Alberto; Gonzaga, Gustavo; Ulyssea, Gabriel
  5. Property Rights and Effort Supply By Pablo Blanchard; Gabriel Burdín; Andrés Dean
  6. More Benefits, Fewer Children: How Regularization Affects Immigrant Fertility By Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina; Ibanez, Ana Maria; Rozo, Sandra V.; Traettino, Salvador
  7. Growth models and comparative political economy in Latin America By Nikolas Passos; Guilherme Spinato Morlin

  1. By: Pablo Blanchard (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Matías Brum (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Paula Carrasco (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Cecilia Parada (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Ivone Perazzo (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine the effects of a social and labor inclusion program called Uruguay Trabaja (UT) on various labor market outcomes and subjective well-being in Uruguay. Using administrative data and a custom survey, we estimate the program’s causal effects by exploiting the random assignment of the beneficiaries. Our findings indicate that the UT program increases by 40% the probability of a beneficiary having a formal job between two and three years after the end of their participation in the program, and it improves satisfaction with different dimensions of employment, but does not affect the probability of being employed overall. Additionally, we provide evidence suggesting that these effects persist over time, up to three years after the intervention ended. This study highlights the importance of implementing comprehensive programs for vulnerable populations and of considering long-term effects when evaluating their effectiveness.
    Keywords: employment effects, public policy, inclusion program
    JEL: C9 H53 I38 J08
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Victoria Tenenbaum (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Andrea Vigorito (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: Several Latin American countries’ social protection systems are increasingly adopting prepaid magnetic cards as a means to promote food consumption and other essential goods. However, little is known about how these transfers affect household spending and consumption patterns or their advantages over cash options in high- and middle-income countries. To contribute to the ongoing discussion, this paper analyzes the effects of Tarjeta Uruguay Social (TUS) on food consumption, dietary diversity, and non-food spending, based on information from the 2016/17-second follow-up survey gathered for the evaluation of Asignaciones Familiares Plan de Equidad (AFAM-PE) and TUS. Based on a fuzzy regression discontinuity design identification strategy, we assess the effects of TUS on food consumption patterns, food expenditure, and a diet diversity index (DDI). We also analyze non-food spending and its components, and three potential explanatory channels: the infra /extra-marginality of the transfer; labour market attachment of the beneficiaries; and self-reported consumption decisions within the household. We find scarce effects regarding food expenditure and the DDI, which could be mainly associated with the infra-marginality of the transfer concerning household food expenditure. However, the analysis of heterogeneous effects indicates that, although weak, in those poorer households that receive doubled TUS amounts, positive changes are registered in the DDI and fruits and legumes consumption. At the same time, there are no major changes in the rest of the consumption items, although there is an increase in expenditure in housing, personal hygiene and cleaning material and an imprecise effect on education and recreation expenses, as well as a decrease in indebtedness. The above elements suggest that the TUS behaves like a purely monetary transfer.
    Keywords: expenditure, dietary diversity, food consumption, public transfers, Regression Discontinuity, Tarjeta Uruguay Social, Uruguay
    JEL: D12 I38
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: Guillermo Alves (Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina); Martín Leites (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Gonzalo Salas (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: We ran a field experiment in which 20-year-olds choose between a socially visible and a non-socially visible good after a friend randomly received one of these goods or an unknown good. We find no differences in choices when the friend received the non-socially visible good instead of the unknown one. However, we find differences when the friend received the socially visible good instead of the other two. Consistent with a status-consumption interpretation, the sign of those differences depends on the socioeconomic position of the decision maker compared to her friend. Those in a disadvantaged position consume more and those in an advantaged position consume less of the socially-visible good when their friend received that good instead of the other two. We further find that treatment effects vary by gender in a way that reinforces the status consumption interpretation of our results. Boys experience a worse subjective social position and consume more of the socially visible good after a friend received that good. On the contrary, girls improve their subjective position when a friend received the socially visible good, and this offsets any effect on their consumption decision.
    Keywords: consumption, status goods, field experiment, inequality
    JEL: D12 C93 D62 D31
    Date: 2022–08
  4. By: Belchior, Carlos Alberto (University of Zurich); Gonzaga, Gustavo (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)); Ulyssea, Gabriel (University College London)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impacts of neighborhoods on the economic outcomes of adults. We exploit one of the world's largest housing lottery programs and administrative data linking lottery registration, formal employment, and access to social programs in Brazil. Receiving a house has positive impacts on housing quality and reduces household expenditures but has negative effects on beneficiaries' neighborhood characteristics. On average, the program has a negative impact on the probability of being formally employed but no effect on the quality of jobs. Poorer individuals, however, experience better formal employment outcomes and lower welfare dependency. We find no differential impacts by distance to beneficiaries' previous homes or jobs. Leveraging a double-randomization design to allocate houses, we show that there are significant differences in effects across neighborhoods and we propose a framework to estimate the relative importance of potential underlying mechanisms. Network quality, amenities and crime play a very limited role, while labor market access explains 82-93% of the observed differences in neighborhood effects.
    Keywords: neighborhood effects, housing programs, labor markets
    JEL: H75 I38 O18 R23 R38
    Date: 2023–05
  5. By: Pablo Blanchard (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Gabriel Burdín (University of Leeds); Andrés Dean (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: Direct evidence on how effort provision varies across different ownership structures remains scant. We investigate the absence behaviour of individuals employed in worker cooperatives, that is, in firms owned and ultimately controlled by their workforce. Leveraging employment data matched with certified sick leave records and exogenous variation in the generosity of the Uruguayan paid sick leave regime, we show that absenteeism differentially increased for individuals affected by the reform and employed in cooperatives. The effect is driven by members, both short-term and long-term absences, hard-to-diagnose (and, hence, more prone to moral hazard reporting problems) musculoskeletal conditions, and large cooperatives.
    Keywords: property rights, moral hazard, effort, absenteeism, sick pay, teams, cooperatives
    JEL: I18 J22 J54
    Date: 2023–02
  6. By: Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina (University of California, Merced); Ibanez, Ana Maria (Inter-American Development Bank); Rozo, Sandra V. (World Bank); Traettino, Salvador (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: How do policies that ease the integration of immigrants shape their fertility decisions? We use a panel survey of undocumented Venezuelan migrants in Colombia to compare the fertility decisions of households before and after the launch of an amnesty program that granted such migrants a labor permit and access to social services. Our results suggest the amnesty reduced the likelihood that program beneficiaries would have a child due to better labor market opportunities for women and greater access to family planning resources through health care services.
    Keywords: migration, refugees, amnesties, Latin America
    JEL: F22 O15 R23
    Date: 2023–05
  7. By: Nikolas Passos; Guilherme Spinato Morlin
    Abstract: The paper analyses the growth models of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico since 1996. We depart from the typology proposed by Bizberg (2019) and apply a growth decomposition based on the Sraffian supermultiplier (Freitas and Dweck, 2013). We argue that the growth models perspective, introduced by Baccaro and Pontusson (2016), contributes to understanding the diversities of capitalism in Latin America. We find that the commodities boom oriented the countries towards export-led growth models, especially in Bolivia, Chile, and Mexico. Brazil and Argentina presented a hybrid growth model, with higher household consumption, and government expenditure along with exports growth. After the commodities boom, the export-led model was no longer feasible for commodity exporters. Mexico sustained the existing model, based on low-value-added manufacturing exports. Brazil and Argentina reduced public expenditures generating economic stagnation. Chile and Bolivia increased public expenditure, sustaining growth at a slower pace. This work extends the growth models perspective to emerging countries, considering former contributions of the Latin American political economy. It also highlights how the growth models evolved in tandem with changing international conditions. Finally, the paper opens a research agenda for the political economy of stagnation in Latin American economies.
    Keywords: Latin America, Comparative Political Economy, Growth Models, Supermultiplier, export-led growth, state-led growth.
    JEL: O54 O57 O11 P16
    Date: 2022–10

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