nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2024‒01‒15
six papers chosen by

  1. The Impact of COVID-19 on Education in Latin America: Long-Run Implications for Poverty and Inequality By Jessica; Matías Ciaschi; Leonardo Gasparini; Mariana Marchionni; Guido Neidhöfer
  2. Gender inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean By Berniell, Inés; Fernández, Raquel; Krutikova, Sonya
  3. Welfare stigma after take-up: Evidence from public cash transfers in Uruguay By Rodrigo Nicolau
  4. Varieties of middle-income trap: heterogeneous trajectories and common determinants By Carlos Bianchi; Fernando Isabella; Anaclara Martinis; Santiago Picasso
  5. Distribución funcional del ingreso en Uruguay (1908 – 2019). Metodología de cálculo y construcción de las series By Pablo Marmisolle; Henry Willebald
  6. The Role of Children and Work-from-Home in Gender Labor Market Asymmetries: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic in Latin America By Marchionni Mariana; Berniell Inés; Gaspatini Leonardo; Viollaz Mariana

  1. By: Jessica (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP); Matías Ciaschi (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Mariana Marchionni (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & CONICET); Guido Neidhöfer (ZEW Mannheim)
    Abstract: The shock of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the human capital formation of children and youths. As a consequence of this disruption, the pandemic is likely to imply permanent lower levels of human capital. This paper provides new evidence on the impact of COVID-19 and school closures on education in Latin America by exploiting harmonized microdata from a large set of national household surveys carried out in 2020, during the pandemic. In addition, the paper uses microsimulations to assess the potential effect of changes in human capital due to the COVID-19 crisis on future income distributions. The findings show that the pandemic is likely to have significant long-run consequences in terms of incomes and poverty if strong compensatory measures are not taken soon.
    JEL: O1 I31 I24
    Date: 2024–01
  2. By: Berniell, Inés; Fernández, Raquel; Krutikova, Sonya
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2023–11–13
  3. By: Rodrigo Nicolau (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: Welfare stigma, i.e., the disutility coming from participating in social welfare programs per se, has been primarily studied by the economics literature as a determinant of incomplete take-up of social assistance policies, such as cash transfers. However, less is known about what happens to individuals’ feelings of stigma after they effectively take-up the benefits. This question remains under-explored so far, as impact evaluations of these programs have mainly focused on other subjective well-being outcomes rather than stigma itself. This study looks to address such gap by empirically analyzing the stigmatizing effects of Uruguay’s two largest non-contributory public cash transfer programs: Asignaciones Familiares - Plan de Equidad and Tarjeta Uruguay Social. The identification strategy employs a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) that exploits a vulnerability index which rules the assignment to each program. The data used in this study come from administrative records (2008–2010) and a detailed follow-up survey (2016–2018) that includes specific questions regarding shame and humiliation feelings in the context of poverty. The findings suggest that program participation increases self-reported feelings of shame and humiliation among beneficiaries between 0.34 and 0.67 SD, depending on the specification and on the program. These effects vary across both policies which might be explained by differences in institutional features between them. Taking welfare stigma effects into account can inform policy design and potentially improve the overall well-being of beneficiaries.
    Keywords: welfare stigma, social welfare programs, shame, humiliation, regression discontinuity design, Asignaciones Familiares-Plan de Equidad, Tarjeta Uruguay Social, Uruguay
    JEL: I38 J15 Z18
    Date: 2023–08
  4. By: Carlos Bianchi (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Fernando Isabella (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Anaclara Martinis (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Santiago Picasso (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: This work analyses trajectories of structural change of countries trapped in middle-income trap (MIT) in a comprehensive manner from both the supply and the demand sides. First, it provides evidence that there is a regular trapping mechanism determined by the interaction between external demand constraints and the level of complexity of the economies. External constraint operates since MIT countries depend on exogenous prices to grow. Meanwhile, that constraint relaxes as the complexity of production increases. Second, this paper uses indicators of economic complexity and proposes a novel identification of the countries’ trajectories. A typology of the varieties of MIT is built according to the level of complexity of country economies and the relatedness between their current productive structure and more complex goods. It shows that having reached certain levels, further increases in supply complexity require a deepening of structural change through unrelated diversification.
    Keywords: middle-income trap, structural change, external restriction, economic complexity
    JEL: O14 O40 L16
    Date: 2023–09
  5. By: Pablo Marmisolle (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Henry Willebald (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: After having lost ground as a variable of interest in the discipline for more than three decades, since the 2008 crisis the functional income distribution has once again attracted growing interest in the economic literature. In this paper we describe the methodology and sources used for the estimation of historical series of functional income distribution in Uruguay; we show the estimates and splices used to obtain continuous series, with annual frequency, for the period 1908 - 2019. Income is decomposed, in functional terms, into wage share, land rent share, mixed income capital-labour share and profit share. Due to the length of the period of analysis and the diversity of sources available, the methodology followed for each income component is detailed in different sub-periods. In methodological terms, we highlight: 1955 - 2019 as the period for which there is a greater availability of official estimates, previous studies and statistical information that allows us to make our own estimates; and 1908 - 1955 due to the availability of previous estimates of different income shares based on social tables. The results obtained show a decreasing trend in the land rent share until the 1960s, after which it remains almost stable. Mixed incomes have shown great stability (around 10% of income), except for the 1980s and 1990s, when they took a larger income share. The wage share shows an increasing trend until the 1920s, after which it stabilized at around 50% of income until the 1960s; from the 1970s, this share underwent two major regressive adjustments followed by periods of recovery. Profits showed great instability at the beginning of the twentieth century but began a rising trend in the 1930s that reached its peak in 1981; it experienced a significant drop during the 1980s, followed by a rising trend until the end of the period.
    Keywords: functional income distribution, national accounts, Uruguay
    JEL: D33 N56 N36
    Date: 2023–08
  6. By: Marchionni Mariana; Berniell Inés; Gaspatini Leonardo; Viollaz Mariana
    Abstract: Asymmetry in childcare responsibilities is one of the main reasons behind gender gaps in the labor market. In that context, the ability to work from home may alleviate the hindrances of women with children to participate in the labor market. We study these issues in Latin America, a region with wide gender gaps, in the framework of a major shock that severely affected employment: the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we estimate models of job loss exploiting micro data from the World Bank’ s high-frequency phone household surveys conducted immediately after the onset of the pandemic. We find that the mitigating effect of working from home on the severity of job losses was especially relevant for women with children. These effects were larger in countries/periods in which the containment measures implemented by governments against the spread of the disease were more stringent. The results are consistent with a plausible mechanism: due to the traditional distribution of childcare responsibilities within the household, women with children were more likely to stay home during school closures, and therefore the ability to work from home was crucial for them to keep their jobs.
    JEL: D63 J01 J16 J22
    Date: 2022–11

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