nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2023‒10‒23
ten papers chosen by

  1. Gender gaps and the role of female bosses: evidence from matched employer-employee administrative data By Rodrigo Ceni; Estefanía Galván; Cecilia Parada
  2. Wealth Inequality in Latin America By Carranza, Rafael; De Rosa, Mauricio; Flores, Ignacio
  3. Minimum Wage Policy and Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean By Gindling, T. H.; Ronconi, Lucas
  4. Initial inequality, unequal development: Effects of family movements on child development By Rodrigo Ceni; Maira Colacce; Gonzalo Salas
  5. La medición del uso del tiempo: aprendizajes y desafíos By Verónica Amarante; Elisa Failache
  6. Taking advantage of COVID-19? Online learning, descentralization and tertiary education By Elisa Failache
  7. Globalization and Inequality in Latin America By Dix-Carneiro, Rafael; Kovak, Brian K.
  8. Who Benefits from Tuition-Free, Top-Quality Universities?: Evidence from Brazil By Duryea, Suzanne; Ribas, Rafael P.; Sampaio, Breno; Sampaio, Gustavo R.; Trevisan, Giuseppe
  9. Wildfires and Human Health: Evidence from 15 Wildfire Seasons in Chile By Arrizaga, Rubí; Clarke, Damian; Cubillos, Pedro P.; Ruiz-Tagle V., Cristóbal
  10. External Crisis Vulnerability in Latin America and the Caribbean By Cavallo, Eduardo A.; Fernández-Arias, Eduardo

  1. By: Rodrigo Ceni (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Estefanía Galván (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)
    Abstract: While a large body of literature has focused on identifying the causes of female under-representation at hierarchical positions, we still know little about the effects of having more women with decision-making power at top positions. Using matched employer-employee administrative data for Uruguay, this paper investigates how the gender composition at hierarchical positions of the firms affects the wage gaps among male and female employees. Our results show that having a higher proportion of female bosses at the firms leads to lower pay gaps. Including workers’ and bosses’ fixed effects to account for unobserved heterogeneity, we find that working in a firm with increasing participation of female bosses reduces the gender pay gap by between 1.15 and 4.27 log points. The gender pay gaps are substantially lower among civil servants compared to those of private workers, but even in these large public firms having female bosses reduces the gender wage gaps. We present suggestive evidence that gender differences in the entrance wage offered to males compared to that offered to female workers partially explain these results. Moreover, women working in public firms are between 2.9% and 4.3% more likely to be promoted when working for female bosses.
    Keywords: gender gaps, promotions, firms, bosses
    JEL: D10 J16 J22
    Date: 2023–08
  2. By: Carranza, Rafael; De Rosa, Mauricio; Flores, Ignacio
    Abstract: How much wealth has accumulated in the region and how is it distributed across households? Despite being widely recognized for its extreme income inequality, reliable data on wealth is scarce, partial and oftentimes contradictory, making it difficult to answer these basic questions. In this study, we estimate aggregates based on macroeconomic data, and inequality based on recently available surveys. We contrast our results with the literature, with a handful of state-of-the-art estimates from administrative sources, and with more available but extrapolated estimates from Credit Suisse and Considering all the evidence, we distinguish reliable facts from what can only be conjectured or speculated. We find that aggregate wealth increased over two decades in four countries, now ranging close to 3.5 the national income for market value estimates and 5-6 times at book values. We also find that wealth inequality is amongst the highest in the world were it can be measured. Given data limitations, one can only speculate about aggregates in opaque countries and about inequality trends in any country in the region. Although recent research in the developed world has focused in combining data sources to better understand wealth, the region lags behind and urgently requires more and better public information.
    Keywords: wealth distribution;wealth-to-income ratios;household surveys;national accounts;Latin America
    JEL: D31 E01 E22
    Date: 2023–06
  3. By: Gindling, T. H.; Ronconi, Lucas
    Abstract: In this chapter reviews the literature and inform policy debates about the effects of minimum wages (MW) on income inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
    Keywords: labor force;Politics;Wage;Income;Inequality;labor;Equality;Minimum Wage;Income Equality;Household income
    JEL: D31 J38 J46 K42
    Date: 2023–06
  4. By: Rodrigo Ceni (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Maira Colacce (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: The article evaluates the link between family movements and children’s socioemotional development. Using a longitudinal survey, we can track the number and role of household members and measure the children’s development. We identify the movements of household members during the first seven years of a child’s life. Our findings indicate that the entry of a new member into the household has a negative impact of approximately 0.2 to 0.3 standard deviations on externalizing and internalizing problems, particularly among low-educated households. These entries affect household life, undermining housing quality and limiting the mother’s ability to manage her time effectively. The limited access to maternity leave and breastfeeding working conditions do intensify these inequalities. By analyzing specific movements, we observe that the father’s long-lasting absence impacts externalizing problems. These results hold strong across different samples and specifications, and our study gains causal power by employing the Oster methodology. Despite the impacts on high- and low-educated households, their background plays a role in coping with stressful environments. In low-educated households, stabilization is not achievable even after several months, further exacerbating socioemotional problems.
    Keywords: family Instability, panel Data, inequality, socio-emotional development, Uruguay
    JEL: J12 J13 R20
    Date: 2023–08
  5. By: Verónica Amarante (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Elisa Failache (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: After several decades of experience collecting time use information, these statistical tools have become an important part of national statistical systems. They have provided relevant information to measure people's total workload, to better understand the way households and society are organized, and to design public policies. Based on the experience accumulated in different countries and contexts in relation to the measurement of time use, this document analyzes the main challenges posed at both the national and international levels. It discusses the different tools for measuring time use (activity diaries or specific survey questions) and the most important aspects to take into account when designing them. The reference period for the collection of information, the seasonality of the variable to be surveyed, the definition of the informant, the minimum responding age, the definition of the activities to be considered, among others, determine the quality of the information collected and the comparability of the measurements over time and between countries. This document also analyzes the three national surveys conducted in Uruguay (in 2007, 2013 and 2022), their characteristics and limitations, and makes recommendations for future surveys.
    Keywords: time use surveys, data collection
    JEL: C80 D1
    Date: 2023–08
  6. By: Elisa Failache (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: Distance to university has been shown as an important factor for students’ decisions to continue studying after secondary school and for their academic outcomes. Therefore, the generalized shift to online learning could have opened a window of opportunity for those students living in places lacking a university campus. Following a difference-in-differences strategy, I compare students that already lived in an area with or close to the university (control group) with students that live far away (treated). I take advantage of the institutional setting in Uruguay, where the public university is free and without entrance exam but with campuses only in half of the territory. The data come from administrative records for the period 2017-2021. Results show less adverse effects in terms of dropouts for the treated freshmen students of 2020 but no effects on other academic outcomes conditional on dropout. In addition, I find an enrollment increase in localities without university campuses for 2021.
    Keywords: online learning, difference-in- differences, internal migration, educational outcomes
    JEL: I22 I23 I24
    Date: 2023–08
  7. By: Dix-Carneiro, Rafael; Kovak, Brian K.
    Abstract: We survey the recent literature studying the effects of globalization on inequality in Latin America. Our focus is on research emerging from the late 2000s onward, with an emphasis on empirical work considering new mechanisms, studying new dimensions of inequality, and developing new methodologies to capture the many facets of globalizations relationship to inequality. After summarizing both design-based and quantitative work in this area, we propose directions for future work. Our overarching recommendation is that researchers develop unifying frameworks to help synthesize the results of individual studies that focus on distinct aspects of globalizations relationship to inequality.
    Keywords: Equality;Globalization;labor force;Inequality;Informal Economy;Integration and Trade;Tariff System;labor market;free trade;labor;Industry
    JEL: F14 F16 J16 J46 O54
    Date: 2023–06
  8. By: Duryea, Suzanne; Ribas, Rafael P.; Sampaio, Breno; Sampaio, Gustavo R.; Trevisan, Giuseppe
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term impact on earnings of attending a tuition-free, top-quality university in Brazil. We identify the causal effect through a sharp discontinuity in an admission process based on test scores. If admitted, low-income students are found to increase their earnings by 26% ten years later. However, admission has a small and insignificant effect on high-income students. The difference between income groups is not explained by educational attainment, program choice, or selection into better-paying jobs. The evidence suggests that most low-income applicants, if not admitted, still graduate from college but with much lower returns to education. High-income applicants who just miss the cutoff, however, can find other opportunities such that earnings trajectories are unchanged. Our results underscore the role of affordable higher education in promoting social mobility.
    Keywords: College wage premium;Affordability;school quality;income groups
    JEL: H52 I23 I26
    Date: 2023–06
  9. By: Arrizaga, Rubí; Clarke, Damian; Cubillos, Pedro P.; Ruiz-Tagle V., Cristóbal
    Abstract: Wildfires are increasing in frequency and intensity. We study the impact of exposure to wildfires on air pollutants and on human health in Chile, finding substantial impacts on both classes of outcomes. We use data on 15 wildfire seasons (2004-2018) matched with granular (intra-day) records of wind direction and air quality, as well as administrative records of all hospitalizations in the country. By combining the precise location of fires with wind direction at the moment in which fires occur, we estimate causal impacts of exposure to wildfires. We find considerable impacts. Exposure to a large wildfire (250 Ha) is observed to increase PM2:5 concentrations by 10% on average in municipalities up to 200km from the epicenter of the wildfire. These effects have appreciable impacts on rates of hospitalization. A one standard deviation increase in exposure to large wildfires is estimated to increase rates of respiratory hospitalizations by 0.75%, while the effect of exposure to the most extreme week of wildfires observed is estimated to increase hospitalizations by as much as a third. Effects are found to be particularly acute for infants, and to grow with the size of the exposure to wildfire (both in terms of duration and area burned).
    Keywords: natural disasters;Wildfires;Air pollution;human capital;Heal
    JEL: Q54 I18 R11
    Date: 2023–07
  10. By: Cavallo, Eduardo A.; Fernández-Arias, Eduardo
    Abstract: This paper assesses the vulnerability of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) economies to external crises. It shows that while the average LAC economy has made significant strides to reduce vulnerability to crises to its historical minimum, there is still considerable room for improvement, compared to both advanced and non-advanced economies. When compared to other non-advanced economies, the average LAC economy displays a higher level of vulnerability, mainly due to slower improvements in portfolio composition and less accumulation of international reserves since 2000. Advanced economies have lower exposure to external risk factors and a structural resilience advantage to prevent exposure from leading to crises. This analysis highlights the need for LAC economies to focus more on enhancing their risk-mitigating strategies concerning the composition of their external portfolios and reserves accumulation, which will provide a stronger buffer against external shocks and promote overall economic resilience.
    Keywords: External crisis;Financial crisis;External balance sheet;International reserves;Macroeconomic imbalances;External debt;Foreign Direct Investment;External assets and liabilities
    JEL: F30 F34 G01 G15 H63
    Date: 2023–07

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.