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ABSTRACTS

 

REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA INSTITUCIONAL No. 18, FIRST SEMESTER 2008

 

 

Copyright Piracy and Development: United States Evidence in the Nineteenth Century
Zorina Khan [pdf] [html]

[Key words: copyrights, development; JEL: K11, O1, Z1]

Does the lack of international copyrights benefit or harm developing countries? This article examines the effects of U.S. copyright piracy during a period when the U.S. was a developing country. U.S. statutes protected the copyrights of American citizens from 1790, but until 1891 deemed the works of foreign citizens to be in the public domain. In 1891, the laws were changed to allow foreigners to obtain copyright protection in the United States if certain conditions were met. Thus, this episode in American history provides us with a convenient way of investigating the consequences of international copyright piracy. The analysis is based on copyright registrations, information on authors, book titles and prices, financial data from the accounts of a major publishing company, and lawsuits regarding copyright questions to investigate the welfare effects of widespread infringement of foreign works on American publishers, writers, and the public. The results suggest that the United States benefited from piracy and that the choice of copyright regime was endogenous to the level of economic development.

The Economics of Corruption and the Corruption of Economics: An Institutionalist Perspective
Geoffrey Hodgson and Shuxia Jiang [pdf] [html]

[Key words: corruption, rules, public and private benefit; JEL: B52, D73]

This essay criticizes the commonplace definition of corruption as the misuse of public office for private gain. Both elements in this definition are wrong: corruption is also found in the private sector and in some exceptional cases it may not simply be for private gain. Another problem with prevailing treatments of corruption is their reliance on a utilitarian framework, which reduces ethical issues to matters of individual utility. This paper reinstates a non-utilitarian ethical dimension, and regards organizational corruption as involving collusion to violate established normative rules. It is further established that organizational corruption incurs irreducible social costs that cannot fully be internalized in a Coasean manner, because corruption itself undermines the very framework of property rights.

Report on Violence in Latin America
Pierre Salama [pdf] [html]

[Key words: violence, Latin America; JEL: K14, K42]

This article analyses the factors that cause violence in Latin America. It argues that high levels of violence can not be reduced in the medium and long term just by repressive policies, and without fulfilling prerequisites that lead to a more cohesive society, among them: to reduce socioeconomic inequalities, to make a more equitable income distribution, to improve primary and university education quality, the quality of the institutions, especially justice and police, and to create new urban policies framed within “cultural solutions". And especially, to recognize the rights and values of those populations that have been ignored for a long time.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx: A Comparative Study of Two Critics to the Market Economy
Andrés Álvarez and Jimena Hurtado [pdf] [html]

[Key words: monetary theory, market economy, Rousseau, Marx; JEL: B11, B14, E40]

We present a comparison between the works of two great critics of the market economy: Rousseau and Marx. It shows their similarities and divergences, most important of which is the place they give to economic analysis in their intellectual and political theories. Whereas Marx built his political and scientific criticism on economic analysis, Rousseau believed this analysis could not be the starting point for understanding social organization. Their monetary theories can explain this difference.

Kaldor Endogenous Economic Development Laws: The Colombian Case
Álvaro Martín Moreno Rivas [pdf] [html]

[Key words: laws of Kaldor, causation to circulate accumulative, increasing dynamics returns, economies of scale, Colombia; JEL: D20, O11]

This article exposes the conceptual and theoretical foundations of Kaldor's laws. The results of empirical exercises suggest that in the Colombian industry there are no increasing returns to scale when departmental information is used, at least for the period 1981-2004.

An Efficiency Criterion for the Conception and Evaluation of Public Policies
Erika López Pontón [pdf] [html]

[Key words: transactional efficiency, public policies, neoclassical and institutional theories; JEL: B13, B15, D61, D78, H50]

This paper seeks to emphasize the convenience of transactional efficiency, proposed by new institutional economics, in relation to Pareto equilibrium, proposed by neoclassic economics. It argues that transactional efficiency is more appropriate than the neoclassical criteria of efficiency when it is about conception and evaluation of economic policies. The synthesis of theoretical foundation of public intervention and transactional efficiency, and the analysis of three empirical studies, show the convenience of transactional efficiency.

An Empirical Approach to the Political Economy of Financial Crises
Juan Ricardo Perilla Jiménez [pdf] [html]

[Key words: financial crises, truncated and censored models; JEL: F33, F42, O19]

The paper presents a model of political loss to analyze the interrelationship between the political nature o f economic decisions and their influence on the probability of financial crisis. Two different definitions of crises, currency and balance of payments, are used to verify the explanatory power of political factors on both definitions of crisis. Also, probit models are used on a sample of 63 countries between 1985 and 2000. The statistical evidence shows that while political factors are robust when they explain currency crises, they are more ambiguous in the explanation of balance of payments crises.

Household Decision-Making in Venezuela
Pareena G. Lawrence and Marakah Mancini [pdf] [html]

[Key words: household decision-making, Venezuela; JEL : D12]

This paper examines who makes decisions in households and the factors that influence those decisions. This research was done in Venezuela , where women were questioned on decision-making with respect to four subject areas. Results indicate that a majority of households make decisions jointly. Excluding this category, more women make decisions concerning the purchase of goods and children's education, while men dominate decisions concerning household finances and change of residence. It was also found that the majority of working couples pool their incomes for household expenses. In addition, factors that influence women's decision-making power are identified, such as female labor force rates and age.

Is Student Evaluation Biased? The Case of the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamon
Horacio Matos-Díaz and Alfred J. Crouch Ruiz [pdf]

[Key words: student evaluation, premium, penalties; JEL: I21]

There are two different positions about student evaluation process. Its defenders argue it is an objective and trustworthy mechanism, and its critics consider it is a biased process that does not fulfil its objective. This study analyses the evaluations of a group of 187 full-time professors of the UPR-Bayamón during eight different semesters in the periods of 1998-1999 and 2003-2004. Results indicate that evaluation is influenced by professor, student and class characteristics, and they are consistent with the fact that the process could be biased, because there is a significant relation between the student evaluation of the professor and the class grade expected. For instance, professors can “buy" better evaluations promoting higher expecting grades to the students, and stimulate the phenomenon of “grade inflation".

Associated Worker Cooperatives in Colombia: Public Policies Balance 2002-2007
Stefano Farné [pdf] [html]

[Key words: worker cooperatives, labour law, working conditions; JEL: D23, J38, J54, J81]

During the last years, worker cooperatives have greatly increased in Colombia. Many public and private enterprises subcontract with Associated Worker Cooperatives in order to benefit from considerable savings stemming from outsourcing and tax exemptions that cooperatives enjoy. These savings have stimulated the creation of pseudo cooperatives that displaced the solidarity and self-management by the search for lower labour costs and profits of their false “owners" and subcontractors, at the expense of their associates rights and welfare. Until now, the Government's attitude has been ambiguous. On the one hand, it has controlled in a lax way and has stimulated the creation of workers' cooperatives, especially in the health sector and in restructured public enterprises. On the other hand, it has tried to reduce the economic incentives in the labour law, but has not been successful. Owing to this ambiguity, there is not a serious regulation that treats in a realistic and technical way the sector problems and that makes the necessary distinction between real and pseudo worker cooperatives.

Subsidies in Primary and High School Education in Bogotá: Progressivity and Market
Luis Fernando Gamboa, José Alberto Guerra and Manuel Ramírez [pdf] [html]

[Key words: subsides, incidence analysis, education; JEL: H52, H22, I28]

Information about public education in Bogotá is used in this article to evaluate the redistributive impact of subsidies using incidence analysis on income and expenditure by levels of strata and localities. Results indicate that education subsidies and new public policies have had strong progressive impacts on the income and expenditure of the poorest households in Bogotá, implying reductions both in poverty and inequality, regardless of the methodology used to calculate the subsidy.

Financial Dollarization: International Experience and Colombia Perspectives
Carlos E. León Rincón and Alejandro Revéiz Herault [pdf] [html]

[Key words: financial dollarization, partial dollarization, foreign exchange risk, balance sheet effect; JEL: F31, F33, F36]

Currencies in developing countries are not freely convertible; they show higher inflation and volatility levels and show periods of sharp appreciation and depreciation. These characteristics not only are a challenge for economic authorities, but also call attention to their ability to fully comply with the functions of money. Colombia, despite its disciplined monetary background, has not escaped from occasional queries about the convenience of keeping the Colombian peso. Just a few countries have chosen to fully replace their local currency with a foreign one in order to assume the entire functions of domestic currency, but there are many economies which have permitted partial dollarization. Based on international experience and Colombia's characteristics, this paper concludes that financial dollarization would be costly, with limited and merely potential benefits.

 
 



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