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  • Author: Sergio Martinez, Mauricio Garita
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Central America is a region in the Americas with potential for higher economic growth. For the regional economy to grow in a sustainable manner in the years ahead, policymakers must act on three fronts: economic diversification, workforce upskilling, and intra-regional cooperation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Income Inequality, Economic Growth, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Peder Østebø, Vegard Bye
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While containment efforts were quickly implemented in many countries, COVID-19 may still prove to have a long-lasting effect in Latin America, a region already marked by economic disarray and political instability. Economic projections suggest that Latin American economies will be among the most affected by the current halt in global trade and consumption. As many countries have recently faced political turmoil, massive containment efforts raise a number of questions on legitimacy and citizen-state relations. In some countries, democratic processes essential for the upholding of democratic legitimacy have been halted. In Brazil, the central government’s handling of the crisis has been an important factor contributing to a severe political crisis. A geopolitical vacuum may provide China with an opportunity to increase its importance for the region.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Pandemic, COVID-19, Destabilization
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Jorge Ignacio Del Castillo Machicado
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD)
  • Abstract: This article researches on the evolution of the business regulatory framework of Bolivia from 2006 to 2017 and its relationship with the country’s Labor productivity, Total Factor Productivity, and its Informal Economy size. To do this, it analyzes the Doing Business annual reports and standardizes each year overall score to the most recent methodology developed by the World Bank Group. Furthermore, it complements its finding with qualitative data through semi-structured interviews to key actors in the Bolivian economy. Overall, this paper finds that few steps have been taken to improve Bolivia’s Business regulatory framework from the period of 2006-2017, result in a lower rank in the Doing Business report and keeping its score constant. The lack of initiative in working towards more efficient policies, complex nature and poor adaptability of new technological practices have stagnated the improvements of business regulations along their lifecycles. As a consequence, Bolivia Total Factor Productivity, Informal Economy size and Labor productivity have shown no improvement over the last 10 years.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, World Bank, Regulation, Business
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Bolivia
  • Author: Miguel Jaramillo, Hugo Nopo
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE)
  • Abstract: Latin America is currently suffering from two independent but related shocks: the impact of COVID-19 and the shock of commodity prices. Peru, we argue, is a case in which the strongest impact comes from the pandemic. Peru was the first country in Latin America to react and implement sanitary and economic measures against the coronavirus. The country has been in mandatory quarantine since Monday, March 16. This carries very important challenges for all economic actors. Global and national activity has suffered a sudden stop with direct implications for: (i) the income generating capacity of independent workers, (ii) the jobs of formal and informal and informal workers, and (iii) the survival of small, medium and large companies. In this note we consider the situation of Peruvian households in the face of the pandemic, exploring their vulnerabilities through an analysis of their main source of income generation: work. We also consider the situation of the companies that employ the workers under analysis. We present an overview of what the government’s main action have been so far and offer some recommendations.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Economic Policy, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Diana Gutiérrez, Guillermina Martin, Hugo Nopo
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the world and Latin America has not been exempt from its health, economic and social impacts. The economic shutdown, as a result of a combination of stringent measures (self-quarantines, mandatory lockdowns, limited capacity in shops, factories and offices, border closures, etc.), is having a profound economic and social impact. In the labor market it has shocked both supply and demand. Within households, it has resulted in an increase in the unpaid workload, burdening women disproportionately, further reducing the time they can allocate to productive activities. The crisis’s impacts and depth are felt differently by they can widen existing gender gaps. In this paper, the authors explore the impacts of the crisis on employment in sixteen countries in the region. In addition, they analize gender impacts through four lenses: young people, people living in poverty, people living in rural areas and heads of the family. Researchers present a set of policy option aimed at integrating the gender approach into the entire pandemic world. Emphasizing the need for cross-sectional solutions, the authors propose policies in three main areas: the home, work and the spaces between work and home. This will enable socio-economic recovery policies to not only soften short-term impacts, but also further equal opportunities for women and men in the medium and long terms.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Health, International Political Economy, Women, Pandemic, COVID-19, Global Health
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Santiago Garriga, Dario Tortarolo
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: We explore how the way in which tax credits are disbursed affects employer’s behavior, wages, and employment. We exploit a change in the payment system in Argentina that was gradually rolled out between 2003 and 2010. Under the old system, employers were in charge of delivering family allowances to their employees together with the monthly salary, and the transfer was deducted from employer social security contributions. For transparency purposes, the government eliminated the intermediary role of firms and started depositing the transfer directly into workers’ bank accounts. Using employer-employee administrative data and an event-study approach, we show that the way tax credits are disbursed matters for the final economic incidence. Our evidence suggests that employers shift part of the incidence of the transfer by paying lower wages. We document larger wage effects in small and less unionized firms and we do not find evidence of pay equity concerns (e.g., effect mostly driven by new hires rather than incumbent workers). Our findings are therefore in line with the hypothesis that transfers are not all captured dollar for dollar by workers. These results raise questions about the use of employers as intermediaries to disburse the transfer; where less salient schemes may lead to capture by employers.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Work Culture, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Dario Tortarolo, Guillermo Cruces, Victoria Castillo
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP)
  • Abstract: We exploit a large, quasi-randomized, 2.5-year-long income tax holiday to identify intertemporal labor responses of high-wage earners to net wage changes. In August 2013, the Argentine government exempted a group of wage earners from the income tax for 2.5 years while leaving in place the tax on other high-wage earners. Eligibility was based on whether past wage earnings were below a fixed threshold, thus levying sharply different marginal and average tax rates—effectively 0% for workers below the threshold. Using rich population-wide administrative data and a regression discontinuity design, we estimate a precise and very small wage earnings elasticity of 0.017 for this large, salient, and temporary income tax change. Responses are larger for more flexible outcomes (overtime hours) and for more elastic groups (job switchers and managers). We also find avoidance responses from new entrants who faced no tax if their first monthly wage was below the fixed threshold. This strategic entry below the threshold to dodge taxes required coordination with employers. Our findings indicate rigidities in the labor market that require employer-employee cooperation to be overcome for wage earners to be able to respond to tax changes.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Income Inequality, Tax Systems
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Vanessa Alviarez, Keith Head, Thierry Mayer
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: We assess the consequences for consumers in 76 countries of multinational acquisitions in beer and spirits. Outcomes depend on how changes in ownership affect markups versus efficiency. We find that owner fixed effects contribute very little to the performance of brands. On average, foreign ownership tends to raise costs and lower appeal. Using the estimated model, we simulate the consequences of counterfactual national merger regulation. The US beer price index would have been 4-7% higher without divestitures. Up to 30% savings could have been obtained in Latin America by emulating the pro-competition policies of the US and EU.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Multinational Corporations
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Latin America, Global Focus
  • Author: Jorge Carrera, Blaise Gnimassoun, Valérie Mignon, Romain Restout
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper conducts an in-depth empirical investigation on the impact of the exchange rate regime (ERR) on real currency misalignments in a panel of 17 Latin American countries over the 1970-2016 period. We consider explicitly the two dimensions of misalignments, size and persistence, and evaluate four different ERR classifications. We also pay attention to cross-sectional dependencies across countries that appear to be important in Latin America, and provide several robustness checks. Our main findings show that, although fixed ERR perform well in limiting the size of misalignments – and in reducing inflation and fiscal deficit – the disequilibria are more persistent. On the contrary, allowing for more flexibility reduces persistence but increases the size of misalignments. Overall, we show that Latin American countries face a crucial trade-off when they have to choose their ERR.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Exchange Rate Policy, Currency
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Garcia Isabella
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: In 2018/2019 the CGPE launched an annual Gender & Global Political Economy Undergraduate Essay Prize competition, open to all undergraduate students within the School of Global Studies. The winner of the 2018/2019 competition is Isabella Garcia for the essay “How do global supply chains exacerbate gender-based violence against women in the Global South?” Isabella graduated with a BA in International Relations and Development in July and will join the MA cohort in our Global Political Economy programme for 2019/2020. Given the very strong field of submissions, the award committee further decided to award a second-place prize to Yume Tamiya for the essay “Does the rise of the middle class disguise existing inequalities in Brazil?”. Yume graduated with a BA in International Development with International Education and Development. We are delighted to publish both of these excellent essays in the CGPE Working Paper series.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Women, Gender Based Violence , Global South
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America, Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo