Niklas Engbom, Gustavo Gonzaga, Christian Moser, Roberta Olivieri, 07 June 2021

Relatively little is known about the patterns of inequality in developing countries, despite their importance for designing social and economic policies. This column analyses administrative and household data to describe the trends in earnings inequality and dynamics in Brazil since late 1980s. The findings suggest that the observed fall in earnings inequality and volatility may have been driven by the process of formalisation and other changes within the informal sector. 

Rafael Dix-Carneiro, Pinelopi Goldberg, Costas Meghir, Gabriel Ulyssea, 05 March 2021

Shifts into and out of the informal sector are important margins of labour market adjustment to economic shocks, particularly in developing countries. This column develops a structural equilibrium model of trade and informality to study the effects of trade openness on unemployment, welfare, productivity, and wage inequality. Higher trade openness leads to strong positive effects on aggregate welfare and productivity, decreases in overall wage inequality, and moderate increases in unemployment. Modelling the informal and non-tradable sectors is crucial to reaching a comprehensive understanding of the effects of trade in developing countries.

Humberto Laudares, 15 December 2020

Humberto Laudares ( Graduate Institute & University of Geneva) reveals a positive & statistically significant relationship between deforestation & the transmission of COVID19 in indigenous communities in Brazil. With intensified Mining & Conflict contributing to the spread. Read the paper discussed in this video in Issue 53 of CEPR's Covid Economics Papers

Humberto Laudares, 03 November 2020

The existing literature on deforestation focuses on the environmental impacts. Using a novel panel dataset from Brazil, this column finds that deforestation is also playing a significant role in the transmission of COVID-19 to Indigenous populations, with one km2 deforested today estimated to result in 9.5% more new COVID-19 cases among Indigenous people in two weeks. In addition to being an environmental problem, deforestation is also a key health and economic issue, given the importance of curbing the spread of the COVID-19 to save lives and prevent an increase in inequality.

Luan Borelli, Geraldo Goes, 01 July 2020

Brazil has faced great difficulties in controlling the COVID-19 epidemic, having become the world’s epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic and recently reaching 50,000 fatalities. This column argues that the great heterogeneities between states in Brazil, together with difficulties in political coordination, may have shaped these consequences. Looking at five states, it investigates whether certain differences in the states’ intrinsic characteristics may have influenced the dynamics of the local epidemic. Governments may need to consider local conditions and adopt heterogeneous containment policies.

Nicolas Ajzenman, Tiago Cavalcanti, Daniel Da Mata, 02 May 2020

Regardless of their scientific soundness, COVID-19 recommendations from political leaders such as President Trump are taken seriously by followers. In Brazil, President Bolsonaro has publicly flaunted social distancing measures and downplayed the seriousness of the disease in at least two well-publicised instances. This column analyses the effects of Bolsonaro’s actions and speeches in the month of March on Brazilians’ social-distancing behaviours, using electoral data and geo-localised mobile phone data from 60 million devices. The findings suggest that social distancing behaviour decreased in municipalities with stronger support for Bolsonaro.

Laura Barros, Manuel Santos Silva, 24 January 2020

Brazil plunged into economic crisis between 2014 and 2018, the year when far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro won the presidential election. This column, part of the Vox debate on populism, argues that Bolsonaro’s surprising victory is partially explained by the way the economic crisis interacted with prevailing gender norms. In regions where men experience larger employment losses, there is an increase in the share of votes for Bolsonaro. In contrast, in regions where women experience larger losses, his vote share is relatively lower. This may be explained by men feeling more compelled to vote for a figure that embodies masculine stereotypes as a way of compensating for a decline in economic and social status.

Piritta Sorsa, Jens Arnold, Paula Garda, 13 January 2020

Economic growth in Latin America has been persistently lower and more erratic than the emerging economies of Asia, largely due to low productivity borne out of both weak competition and a large informal economy. This column analyses the various factors that have caused these conditions to exist in several Latin American countries, and how policies to counteract them have fared. For significant progress, a detailed strategy of simplifying regulations, easing administrative burdens, encouraging market entry, and reducing trade barriers is required to formalise workers and encourage market competition.

Sebastian Edwards, 30 November 2019

In a few decades, Chile experienced dramatic economic growth and the fastest reduction of inequality in the region. Yet, many Chilean citizens feel that inequality has greatly increased. Such feelings of 'malestar' triggered the violent social unrest of October 2019. This paper explains this seeming paradox by differentiating ‘vertical’ (income) inequality from ‘horizontal’ (social) inequality. It argues that the neoliberalism that created Chile’s economic growth is no longer effective and that Chile may be headed towards adopting a welfare state model.

Eliana La Ferrara, 18 October 2019

Eliana La Ferrara examines the impact of two examples of media that aims to be entertaining while conveying an educational message.

David Arnold, 19 July 2019

In the early days of his administration, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced plans to privatise several of the country's largest state-owned enterprises and airports. Fearing such a move would lower both wages and employment, labour unions organised in opposition to Bolsonaro’s plans. This column looks anew at evidence testing whether privatisation offers more than merely an immediate infusion of revenue, and finds that while increases in efficiency might contribute to Brazil’s overall economic growth, privatisation could also expose the country’s most vulnerable workers to significant risk of decreased wages.

Raphael Corbi, Elias Papaioannou, Paolo Surico, 01 May 2019

The recent political crisis in the euro area has brought the design of fiscal policy to the forefront of public debate, with many arguing that EU-level transfers are necessary for the ‘completion’ of EMU. This column uses extensive data from a Brazilian federal transfer scheme to show that transfers can play a valuable stabilisation role in a currency union.

Rafael Dix-Carneiro, Rodrigo R. Soares, Gabriel Ulyssea, 31 August 2017

Local economic shocks induced by the Brazilian trade liberalisation had substantial effects on homicides. This column examines these effects and attempts to disentangle the mechanisms through which they occurred. Reductions in employment rates appear to have been the main driving force.

Rafael Dix-Carneiro, Brian Kovak, 23 August 2017

The effects of foreign competition have been shown to vary substantially across regions within a country. Using administrative and household survey data from Brazil, this column examines the various margins of adjustment in response to trade-induced regional shocks. The results demonstrate a key role for the non-tradable sector and informal employment in the adjustment process.

Mark Gradstein, Marc Klemp, 23 June 2017

A large literature has argued that natural resources have a negative effect on economic development. The Brazilian data used in this column fail to confirm these findings. Economic activity, as measured using night-time light data, increases more during periods of rising oil prices in localities with better access to oil.  Oil revenue windfalls accruing to oil-rich locations and spillovers to adjacent locations drive this effect. 

Marcio Cruz, Maurizio Bussolo, Leonardo Iacovone, 01 December 2016

A recent literature has shown that successful firms have in common a deliberate and active management of their internal structure. This column uses an export promotion programme in Brazil that provided consulting on management and production practices to small and medium enterprises to examine whether policies can prompt and support firm reorganisations. It finds that firms participating in the programme were 20% more likely to add a new layer of workers with more specialised skills and competencies.

Ralph De Haas, Steven Poelhekke, 22 September 2016

The extraordinary expansion in global mining activity over the last two decades, and its increasing concentration in emerging markets, has reignited the debate over the impact of mining on local economic activity. This column analyses how the presence of nearby mines influences firms in eight countries with large manufacturing and mining sectors. Mines are found to out-compete local manufacturing firms for inputs, labour, and infrastructure. However, mining activity is found to improve the business environment on a wider geographic scale.

Chad Bown, Patricia Tovar, 17 September 2016

Argentina and Brazil began to open their markets to the world significantly – but only partially – in the 1990s. Yet these countries’ efforts to liberalise beyond their Latin American trading partners have stalled since 1995. This column re-examines the 1990s MERCOSUR experience and raises questions over just how much trade policy cooperation these two countries have undertaken. This lack of coordination also has implications for the ‘building blocks’ versus ‘stumbling blocks’ debate in trade policy.

Liesel Filgueiras, 13 June 2016

Mining companies have high economic growth. In this video, Liesel Filgueiras discusses the responsibility of mining companies for the development of local municipalities. Most of the revenues go directly to federal governments, leaving little benefits to the industry for local communities. Cross-sector and local government partnerships need to de developed to ensure the investment of the revenues to build public policies. This video was recorded during the International Growth Centre’s annual conference held in London in June 2016.

Alessandro Maffioli, Carlo Pietrobelli, Rodolfo Stucchi, 14 June 2016

Cluster development programmes (CDPs) aim to support industrial clusters of agglomerated firms to achieve higher productivity and sustainable development. Such programmes have been prominent in Latin America over the past decade, but there have been few impact evaluations. This column presents the findings from an evaluation of Latin American CDPs. Various case studies show positive medium-term effects of the programmes on employment, exports, and wages. CDPs are also found to have positive spillover effects on untreated firms, and to improve the network connectivity and technology-transfer ties between firms.



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