nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2023‒09‒04
four papers chosen by

  1. "Quick and Dirty" Deregulation and Expansion of National Higher Education: Be Careful of What You Ask For By Alberto Chong; Pablo Lavado; Gustavo Yamada
  2. Discrimination against gay and transgender people in Latin America: a correspondence study in the rental housing market By Nicolás Abbate; Inés Berniell; Joaquín Coleff; Luis Laguinge; Margarita Machelett; Mariana Marchionni; Julián Pedrazzi; María Florencia Pinto
  3. Soap Operas and Pro-Savings Attitudes in Poor Rural Areas of Peru By Alberto Chong; Martin Valdivia
  4. Does Trade Liberalization Foster Intimate Partner Violence? By Alberto Chong; Daniel Velasquez

  1. By: Alberto Chong (Department of Economics, Georgia State University and Department of Economics, Universidad del Pacifico); Pablo Lavado (Universidad del Pacifico); Gustavo Yamada (Universidad del Pacifico)
    Abstract: Increased access to higher education is a well-established stylized fact that many policies have driven, overlooking the implications for higher education's quality. During the 1990s, Peru embarked on a national-scale experiment that quickly and drastically deregulated new universities' entrance into the marketplace under two basic premises. The first was that the private sector is superior to the public sector in increasing access to higher education in a developing country with a budding institutional capacity. The second was that the market auto-regulates itself to provide an adequate quality of educational services. We document that the university supply almost doubled in a dozen years, mainly driven by for-profit institutions of higher education. The experiment could be hailed as an unqualified success as tens of thousands of new students, particularly from low-income sectors, could access a college education. Nevertheless, our straightforward evidence shows that this increased access paid a very high cost in the form of significant decreases in educational quality. Fifteen years after the reform, our findings indicate an increase in the quality dispersion across colleges measured by undergraduate students' outcomes.
    Date: 2023–08
  2. By: Nicolás Abbate (Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Inés Berniell (Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Joaquín Coleff (Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Luis Laguinge (Universidad Nacional de La Plata and CONICET); Margarita Machelett (BANCO DE ESPAÑA); Mariana Marchionni (Universidad Nacional de La Plata and CONICET); Julián Pedrazzi (Universidad Nacional de La Plata and CONICET); María Florencia Pinto (Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Abstract: We assess the extent of discrimination against gay and transgender individuals in the rental housing markets of four Latin American countries. We conducted a large-scale field experiment based on the correspondence study methodology to examine interactions between property managers and fictitious couples engaged in searches on a major online rental housing platform. We find no evidence of discrimination against gay male couples but we do find evidence of discrimination against heterosexual couples with a transgender woman partner (trans couples). The latter receive 19% fewer responses, 27% fewer positive responses, and 23% fewer invitations to showings than heterosexual couples. We also assess whether the evidence is consistent with taste-based discrimination or statistical discrimination models by comparing response rates when couples signal being professionals with stable jobs (high SES). While we find no significant effect of the signal for high-SES heterosexual or gay male couples, trans couples benefit from this. Their call-back, positive-response, and invitation rates increase by 25%, 36% and 29%, respectively. These results suggest that discrimination against trans couples is consistent with statistical discrimination. Moreover, we find no evidence of heterosexual couples being favored over gay male couples, nor evidence of statistical discrimination for gay male or heterosexual couples.
    Keywords: LGBTQ+, discrimination, correspondence study, rental housing market, Latin America
    JEL: C93 J15 R23 R3
    Date: 2023–06
  3. By: Alberto Chong (Department of Economics, Georgia State University and Universidad del Pacifico); Martin Valdivia (Grupo Analisis para el Desarrrollo (GRADE))
    Abstract: We wrote, produced, and implemented a randomized intervention of a five-episode soap opera focusing on attitudes related to trust and savings. It was shown to females living in poor and violence-scarred rural areas and who received the national conditional cash transfer. We find that one year after the intervention treated females significantly improve their attitudes towards savings, especially as a precautionary motive, which is consistent with the intended message of the intervention.
    Date: 2023–08
  4. By: Alberto Chong (Department of Economics, Georgia State University and Department of Economics, Universidad del Pacifico); Daniel Velasquez (Department of Economics, University of Michigan)
    Abstract: We exploit unexpected and drastic unilateral tariffs reductions in Peru during the 2000s. We find that in districts where male employment was more vulnerable to these reductions, we observe a statistically significant increase in intimate partner violence with respect to less vulnerable districts. Our findings show that several causal paths may be at play, which appear to highlight the fact that these paths may complement and even exacerbate each other. Our findings hold when applying a broad array of robustness tests.
    Date: 2023–08

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