nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2024‒01‒01
six papers chosen by

  1. Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America: The Multiple Facets of Social Status and the Role of Mothers By Matías Ciaschi; Mariana Marchionni; Guido Neidhöfer
  2. Income Share of the Top 10%, the Middle 50% and the Bottom 40% in Latin America: 1920-2011 By Pablo Astorga
  3. Dishonesty and Public Employment By Guillermo Cruces; Martín A. Rossi; Ernesto Schargrodsky
  4. Tarjeta Uruguay Social: diseño, implementación y posibles efectos By Verónica Amarante; Martín Lavalleja; Luana Méndez
  5. Schooling and Intergenerational Mobility: Consequences of Expanding Higher Education Institutions By Noemí Katzkowicz; Victor Lavy; Martina Querejeta; Tatiana Rosá
  6. Improving outcomes for women with triple-negative breast cancer in Latin America By Manzano, Andrea; Hofmarcher, Thomas

  1. By: Matías Ciaschi (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Mariana Marchionni (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Guido Neidhöfer (ZEW Mannheim)
    Abstract: In this paper we assess intergenerational mobility in terms of education and income rank in five Latin American countries—Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Panama—by accounting for the education and occupation of both parents. Based on the method proposed by Lubotsky and Wittenberg (2006), we find that intergenerational persistence estimates increase by 26% to 50%when besides of the education of parents we consider also their occupation. The increase is partic-ularly strong when education is more evenly distributed in the parents’ generation. Furthermore, we evaluate the changing importance of each single proxy for parental background to explain inter-generational mobility patterns in each country and over time, and find that the relative importance of the characteristics of mothers have been increasing over the last decades, in line with rising women’s average years of education and labor market participation. Interesting heterogeneities across countries and cohorts are observed.
    JEL: D63 J62 O15
    Date: 2023–12
  2. By: Pablo Astorga (Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI))
    Abstract: This paper analyses, for the first time, comparable income shares of the top 10%, the middle 50% and the bottom 40% of the labour force in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela (LA6) from 1920 to 2011 using a new dataset. The main findings are: i) over the whole period the LA6 exhibited a recurrent very high income concentration at the top 10% (an average share of 48.1%) and a relatively low share for those of the bottom 40% (13.9%), with a Palma ratio of 3.5; ii) although the three shares varied over time and showed important differences across countries and developmental epochs, the region largely missed the Great Levelling experienced by the US and the UK during the middle decades of the last century; iii) there is no support over time for the “Palma proposition” stating a relative stability of the income share of the middle 50%. Despite policy efforts in the 2000s to raise the income of the bottom 40%, altogether, a more equitable income distribution is still a pending task in Latin America.
    Keywords: economic development, industrialisation, income inequality, Latin America
    JEL: O10 N1 O15 O54
    Date: 2023–11
  3. By: Guillermo Cruces (University of Nottingham, CEDLAS-FCE-UNLP, and CONICET); Martín A. Rossi (Universidad de San Andrés); Ernesto Schargrodsky (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, CAF, and CONICET)
    Abstract: We exploit a natural experiment to study the causal link between dishonest behavior and public employment. When military conscription was mandatory in Argentina, eligibility was determined by both a lottery and a medical examination. To avoid conscription, individuals at risk of being drafted had strong incentives to cheat in their medical examination. These incentives varied with the lottery number. Exploiting this exogenous variation, we first present evidence of cheating in medical examinations. We then show that individuals with a higher probability of having cheated in health checks exhibit a higher propensity to occupy non-meritocratic public sector jobs later in life.
    Keywords: Conscription; public employment; state capacities; dishonesty; impressionable years
    JEL: D91 J45 K42 O15
    Date: 2023–11
  4. By: Verónica Amarante (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Martín Lavalleja (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Proyecto FAO); Luana Méndez (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Proyecto FAO)
    Abstract: As part of the process of expansion of cash transfer programs that took place in the region since the early 2000s, Uruguay implemented a benefit called the Uruguay Social Card (TUS) in 2008. This program consists of an unconditional monthly cash transfer, granted through a prepaid card, aimed at households in a situation of extreme economic vulnerability. The card can be used in a network of affiliated stores to purchase food and cleaning and hygiene products, which are exempt from Value Added Tax when purchased with the card. The purchase of tobacco and alcohol is prohibited. More than a decade after the implementation of the program, this paper i) documents the development of the intervention over time, its evolution and changes; ii) synthesizes the evidence on the effects of this type of policy on various outcome variables; and iii) provides novel empirical evidence, comparing households that are similar in observed characteristics but differ in their status as TUS beneficiaries. The analysis presented suggests that TUS contributes to facilitating households' economic access to food, but under the current design, the objectives of the benefit are not clear. More than a decade into the program's implementation, the TUS currently appears to function as a transfer similar to other existing transfers in the country, such as Asignaciones Familiares, and its food objectives are blurred. If the program maintains its objectives of contributing to access to healthy, nutritious and sufficient food, different aspects of its design and the need for complementary actions deserve more attention. If, on the other hand, the objective of the policy is to guarantee the improvement of the income of the most vulnerable population, it would be pertinent to discuss its complementarity and integration with other non-contributory transfer policies, such as Asignaciones Familiares.
    Keywords: cash transfers, food programs
    JEL: D04 I38 O12
    Date: 2023–08
  5. By: Noemí Katzkowicz; Victor Lavy; Martina Querejeta; Tatiana Rosá
    Abstract: Poor post-secondary education infrastructure and opportunities partly explain the low higher education rates in developing countries. This paper estimates the effect of a program that improved post-secondary education infrastructure by building many university campuses across Uruguay. Leveraging temporal and geographic variation in program implementation, we use a two-way fixed effect design and comprehensive administrative records to assess the program’s causal impact. By lowering the distance to a university campus, the program successfully increased university enrollment, particularly of less privileged students who are the first in their families to attend a university. The program impacted students from localities up to 30 kilometers from the new campus, reducing spatial inequality. Importantly, this expansion did not lower university completion rates. Furthermore, the program increased high school attendance and completion rates and the proportion of educated workers in the affected localities.
    JEL: D63 I23 I28 J16
    Date: 2023–11
  6. By: Manzano, Andrea (IHE - The Swedish Institute for Health Economics); Hofmarcher, Thomas (IHE - The Swedish Institute for Health Economics)
    Abstract: Breast cancer is a major and growing public health concern in Latin America. One of the most aggressive and challenging subtypes of breast cancer is triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), accounting for 13–21% of all breast cancer cases. This report takes a closer look at challenges and opportunities to improve the care of TNBC in Latin America, with a focus on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. <p> TNBC is often diagnosed at a late stage when survival chances are low. Early detection – through self-detection and screening – is vital to improve the chance of survival. Current challenges for early detection of TNBC in Latin America include: <p> • Low awareness of early signs of breast cancer and fear of diagnosis among women <p> • Low participation or absence of organized population-based screening programs <p> • Low perceived quality of primary care and screening services in the public sector <p> TNBC is the most difficult-to-treat subtype of breast cancer irrespective of stage at diagnosis. Alongside surgery and radiation therapy, chemotherapy used to be the only treatment option in TNBC. The recent introduction of immunotherapy and targeted therapy (for patients with BRCA mutations) is currently changing the treatment landscape. Timely breast diagnostics and appropriate treatment are imperative to increase the survival chances of patients. Current challenges in the areas of diagnostics and treatment of TNBC in Latin America include: <p> • Poor coordination between provides of diagnostic services and treatment in the public sector <p> • Shortages of specialized physicians, such as pathologists, oncologists, radiologists <p> • Lack of availability of new treatments in the public sector <p> • Slow adoption of new treatment approaches in clinical practice <p> Broad recommendations to improve the care of TNBC patients in Latin America include efforts to raise health literacy to facilitate early detection, ensure optimal care delivery along the entire patient pathway, and adoption of innovation in clinical practice. Improving the quality of care – from early detection to diagnostics and treatment – has wider positive implications for society, including effects on health systems, work life, family life, the need for informal care, and the economy.
    Keywords: Breast cancer; TNBC; screening; medicines; immunotherapy; BRCA; Latin America; Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Colombia; Mexico
    Date: 2023

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.