The potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning (With Roberto Vélez-Grajales and Luis F. López-Calva)
In this paper, we use a new database for Mexico to model the possible long-run effects of the pandemic on learning. First, based on the framework of Neidhöffer, Lustig, and Tommasi (2021), we estimate the loss of schooling due to the transition from in-person to remote learning using data from the National Survey on Social Mobility (ESRU-EMOVI-2017), census data, and national statistics of COVID-19 incidence. In this estimation, we account for the attenuation capacity of households by considering the parental educational attainment and the economic resources available to the household in the calculation of the short-run cost. Secondly, we estimate the potential long-run consequences of this shock through a calibrated learning profile for five Mexican regions following Kaffenberger and Pritchett (2020). Assuming the distance learning policy adopted by the Mexican government is entirely effective, our results indicate that a learning loss equivalent to the learning during a third of a school year in the short run translates into a learning loss equivalent to an entire school year further up the educational career of students. On the other hand, if the policy was ineffective, the short-run loss increases to an entire school year and becomes a loss of two years of learning in the long run. Our results suggest substantial variation at the regional level, with the most affected region, the South experiencing a loss thrice as large as that of the least affected region, the Centre region.
Economic Inequality meets Social Stratification: An Analytical Framework with an Application to Mexico (with Paloma Villagómez-Ornelas)
This paper argues that explaining both the level and the changes in the inequality of the distribution of economic resources in society requires complementing explanations based on human capital theory with insights from social stratification theory. The integration of both allows explaining horizontal inequalities and explaining the aggregate levels of economic inequality in a society. We exemplify the potential of this integration through a reinterpretation of the literature on economic inequalities in Mexico during the XXIst century. This reinterpretation focuses on how institutions stratify the access to the different components of human capital and how said components are valued in the labour market. We argue that a complete understanding of distributional dynamics in societies with persistent inequalities can be achieved through this interdisciplinary exercise.
Does Globalisation Reward Education? Evidence for Mexico (with Ingrid Bleynat)
Within Latin America, Mexico stands out as an open, highly globalized economy. Today foreign trade amounts to 78% of GDP, with manufactures representing 17% of the total, compared to the region’s respective averages of 46% and 13%. Moreover, in recent decades, Mexico has also seen a significant improvement in the educational attainment of its population, with the proportion of people with complete secondary degrees growing from 21% to 25%, and those with college degrees increasing from 11% to 18%. In this chapter we use data from the Mexican Labor Survey (ENOE) and the Input-Output Matrix to explore the interplay between these two trends and, in particular, to assess whether employment in globalised sectors has rewarded human capital accumulation in the period between 2005 and 2019. Following a modified Mincer approach we find that the skill premia in globalized sectors have shown a secular downward trend for both male and female workers, and that the premia for college and upper secondary education have been consistently lower than in non-globalized sectors. Globalization does not, therefore, appear to reward education. While these trends are consistent with a reduction in income iequality we should not lose sight of what is driving them: in both globalized and non-globalized sectors the incomes of workers with primary or lower secondary education have remained stagnant, whereas those for people with higher secondary education or college degrees have gone down significantly.
The COVID-19 Pandemic and Female Employment. Evidence from Mexico.
In the present study, I use the Mexican Occupation and Employment Survey to analyse the short-run effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Mexican labour market, paying particular attention to its impact on female employment. Through excess ratios, I identify that women’s job losses were primarily driven by the losses in the hostelry and personal services sector (65\% of all-female job losses). I use a difference in differences estimator to identify heterogeneity in these job losses depending on the household composition. I identify that women who cohabit with a person with intensive care needs suffered a drop of four percentage points in the probability of employment and in the number of weekly hours worked due to the pandemic shock with respect the rest of women. Disaggregating this group, I identify that mothers of children between zero and 15 years old suffered a drop of four percentage points in their probability of employment than fathers of children in the same age group. However, mothers who cohabit with other women suffered a lower fall than those that do not cohabit with other women, being this difference of 2 percentage points. Women who cohabit with permanently disabled persons or with persons older than 65 also experienced a drop in their employment probability than men in the same situation.
A Land of Unequal Chances: Social Mobility Across Mexican Regions. (with Miles Corak) (Working Paper version available here )
Using a new data set, I estimate the patterns of social mobility in Mexico and its regions, contributing to the growing literature on regional social mobility patterns. I identify that although Mexico is a country with high levels of intergenerational rank persistence, thus low levels of social mobility, there is substantial variability across its regions. While 35 out of 100 individuals born in the bottom quintile of the household asset distribution and in the South of the country experience upward mobility, twice as large a proportion of those born in the bottom quintile but in Mexico City experience the same type of mobility. Controlling for multiple characteristics at the household and neighborhood levels, I find a penalization of 12 percentiles in terms of upward mobility against individuals born in the South, with respect the rest of the country, and a boost of 10 percentiles for those with origin in Mexico City.
A note on ex-ante inequality of opportunity across Mexican regions
In this paper, I provide the first set of estimates of ex-ante inequality of opportunity in access to economic resources at the regional level for the Mexican case. By employing a novel dataset and an extensive set of circumstances, I identify that at the national level, inequality of opportunity represents at least 48% of the total inequality in the distribution of economic resources observed in Mexico. The region with the highest lower bound is the Centre and Mexico City (43% and 45% of total inequality), while the North of the country is the region with the smallest one (33% of total inequality). This ordering is preserved through all cohorts under analysis. In all cases, the main factor in producing inequality of opportunity is the economic resources of the household of origin. Across all regions, ethnicity and skin colour play a statistically significant role.