Academic journal article NBER Reporter

Microeconomics, Efficiency, and Welfare: Lessons for Latin America

Academic journal article NBER Reporter

Microeconomics, Efficiency, and Welfare: Lessons for Latin America

Article excerpt

The NBER and Universidad de los Andes in Santiago, Chile co-sponsored this year's Inter-American Seminar on Economics on "Microeconomics, Efficiency, and Welfare: Lessons for Latin America." The conference was held in Santiago on November 10 and 11. Organizers Sebastian Edwards of NBER and University of California, Los Angeles, and Alexander Galetovic of Universidad de los Andes chose the following papers to discuss:

Stephen H. Haber, Stanford University and NBER, and Aldo Musaccio, Stanford University, "Foreign Entry and the Mexican Banking System, 1997-2007"

Discussant: Alejandro Micco, Chilean Ministry of Finance

Hoyt Bleakley, University of Chicago and NBER, and Kevin Cowan, Banco Central de Chile, "Mishmash or Mismatch: Balance Sheet Effects and Emerging Market Crises"

Discussant: Sebastian Edwards

Marcela Eslava, Universidad de Los Andes; John Haltiwanger, University of Maryland and NBER; Adriana Kugler, University of Houston and NBER; and Maurice Kugler, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Lower Barriers to Entry, Experimentation and Aggregate Productivity: Lessons from Colombian Manufacturing Plants"

Discussant: Roberto Alvarez, Banco Central de Chile

Fernando Diaz, Alexander Galetovic, and Ricardo Sanhueza, Universidad de los Andes, "Mobile-Fixed Substitution and Telecomm Liberalization"

Discussant: Claudio Agostini, Universidad Alberto Hurtado

David MacKenzie, The World Bank, and Ernesto Schargrodsky, Universidad di Tella, "Buying Less, but Shopping More: The Use of Non-market Labor during a Crisis"

Discussant: Harald Beyer, Centro de Estudios Publicos

Rodrigo Soares, University of Maryland and NBER, and Romero Rocha, PUC, "Evaluating the Impact of Community-Based Health Interventions: Evidence from Brazil's Family Health Program"

Discussant: Ernesto Schargrodsky

Cesar Martinelli, ITAM, "Press and Good Government"

Discussant: Alexander Galetovic

Alejandra Mizala, Universidad de Chile, and Miguel Urquiola, Columbia University and NBER, "School Markets: The Impact of Information Approximating Schools' Effectiveness" (NBER Working Paper No. 13676)

Discussant: Francisco Gallego, Universidad Catolica

Juan Eberhard, Yale University, and Eduardo Engel, Yale University and NBER, "The Educational Transition and Decreasing Wage Inequality in Chile"

Discussant: Andrea Repetto, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez

How does the entry of foreign banks affect pricing and the availability of credit in developing economies? The Mexican banking system provides a quasi-experiment to address this question, because in 1997 the Mexican government radically changed the laws governing the foreign ownership of banks; the foreign market share increased five-fold between 1997 and 2007 as a result. Haber and Musaccio construct and analyze a panel of Mexican bank financial data covering this period and find no evidence that foreign entry increases the availability of credit. Their analysis also indicates that foreign banks screen borrowers more closely and charge higher lending rates than domestic banks. One of their most robust findings is that foreign ownership is associated with a decrease in housing lending. This suggests that there may be less housing lending going on because foreign-owned banks may wish to avoid Mexico's difficult property rights environment.

Bleakley and Cowan critically assess the recent empirical literature on the importance of dollar debt and balance-sheet effects in the emerging-market financial crises of the 1990s. Using a simple model, they discuss which specifications are theoretically appropriate, and they provide additional insights as to the proper interpretation of the reduced-form evidence in the literature. Using harmonized microdata on corporations across a dozen countries in Latin America and Asia, they replicate common specifications for the effect of dollar debt on investment and output at the firm level. …

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