LAC Occasional Paper Series

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The LCSSD Occasional Paper Series is a publication of the Sustainable Development Department (LCSSD) in the World Bank’s Latin America and the Caribbean Region. The papers in this series are the result of economic and technical research conducted by members of the LCSSD community. The series addresses issues that are relevant to the region’s environmental and social sustainability; water, urban, energy and transport sector development; agriculture, forestry and rural development; as well as cross-cutting topics related to sustainable development such as climate change; logistics; crime and violence; and spatial economics. While all papers in this series are peer reviewed and cleared by the LCSSD Economics Unit on behalf of the Director of LCSSD, the findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper, as in all publications of the LCSSD Occasional Paper Series, are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed in any manner to the World Bank, to its affiliated organizations or to members of its Board of Executive Directors or the countries they represent. The World Bank does not garantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use.

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  • Publication
    Environmental Health Costs in Colombia : The Changes from 2002 to 2010
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Golub, Elena; Klytchnikova, Irina; Sanchez-Martinez, Gerardo; Belausteguigoitia, Juan Carlos
    Despite considerable progress in the area of environmental management over the last decade, Colombia still faces significant impacts from population exposure to urban air pollution, inadequate access to water supply and sanitation, and indoor air pollution from solid fuel use. This study estimates that the total health cost attributable to these three factors amounts to about 10.2 trillion Colombian Pesos (COP) annually, or about 2 percent of GDP in 2010. In terms of mortality, about 7,600 annual premature deaths can be attributed to these environmental factors. This study updates some of the estimates of environmental health costs reported in the 2005 Colombia Country Environmental Analysis environmental priorities and poverty reduction . Specific policy recommendations and targeted interventions can be derived from future analysis of environmental health costs at subnational level, cost-benefit analysis of specific policy interventions, and an analysis of the burden of health costs disaggregated by population groups and poverty levels. Disaggregated statistics on health outcomes, fuel use, and access to infrastructure services, epidemiological studies, and air quality models (urban and industrial areas) are required for such analysis. Disaggregated assessments and cost benefit analysis, recommended for future studies, will facilitate an evaluation of policy and investment outcomes in terms of their impacts on the most vulnerable groups and the extent to which they are well targeted and benefit the poor.
  • Publication
    Agricultural Commodity Exchanges in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03-17) Arias, Diego; Ferreira Lamas, Alfredo; Kpaka, Musa
    A commodity exchange is a goods and financial market where different groups of participants trade commodities and commodity-linked contracts, with the underlying objective of transferring exposure to commodity price risks (UNCTAD). A commodity exchange that only trades goods is known as a physical or 'cash or forward' market, while the exchange that trades price derivatives is known as financial or 'futures and options' market (see Glossary for detailed definitions). Some agriculture commodity exchanges have both. Agricultural commodity exchanges date as far back as the early 18th century. Modern exchanges, notably the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was created in 1848, recently merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), is one the oldest and most successful futures exchanges worldwide. Today several agricultural commodity exchanges exist throughout the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. They facilitate trade and financial products in countries whose economies have a relatively large share of primary and secondary agricultural activities or either account for auctions on substantial food imports. This report looks at the current development of agricultural commodity exchanges in the LAC region and offers public policy recommendations that can foster the development of such exchange markets.
  • Publication
    Integrating Central American and International Food Markets : An Analysis of Food Price Transmission in Honduras and Nicaragua
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03-17) Arias, Diego; De Franco, Mario A.
    In 2004 the Central American countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic signed the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States and are currently negotiating another agreement with the European Union and others. This study examines the dynamics among international and domestic food markets by assessing the transmission of international prices to domestic prices of key agriculture commodities in Honduras and Nicaragua. It analyzes to what degree, if at all, a change in the international price of a given food product influences the domestic price of that same good, at the level of the consumer and producer and in different regions in each country. This analysis provides important evidence of the price dynamics that guide public policy recommendations for a complementary agenda of agriculture trade liberaliza-tion in the region. There are two methods for analyzing the relationship between international and domestic prices. The first is to conduct a price wedge analysis-to evaluate the difference between international and domestic prices. The second method is to conduct a price transmission analysis by analyzing the variation in the percent growth of international versus domestic prices. Evidence from Nicaragua suggests that for most of the agriculture supply chains studied (except for beans) there is little competition in the country's domestic market structure. A few Nicaraguan companies own the majority share of the market, both to purchase and export agricultural products and to import and sell food domestically. Obtaining information about the structure of domestic agriculture and food markets could shed light on country-specific impediments from domestic market structure to increasing agriculture growth, reducing poverty, and improving rural competitiveness. Information on domestic market structure was difficult to obtain for this study, particularly for Honduras. But, even in a context where the domestic market structure concentrates purchasing and selling power in a few agribusiness companies, price transmission could be high.
  • Publication
    Unintended Consequences of Food Subsidies : The Case of the Haiti Rice Subsidy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03-17) Arias, Diego; Carneus, Maxime
    Haiti is an important rice consumer, and a big rice importer. Around 86 percent of the Haitian population consumes rice. The decision to implement an indirect subsidy was made based on the fact that import prices had in the past been transmitted fully and immediately to rice consumers. Thus, a subsidy to the price of rice at the level of the importers was expected to be passed on immediately into benefits (savings) to rice consumers. The Government also prohibited rice exports to the Dominican Republic in order to avoid re-export of subsidized rice. The subsidy scheme was implemented by forming a public-private sector Presidential Commission between the Central Bank of Haiti (BRH), the President's Office and rice importers. Although the rice price subsidy program did produce the intended savings to Haitian consumers during the 4-month period of the subsidy program (April-August 2008), this intervention caused medium term distortions in the domestic market of imported rice such that domestic prices of imported rice have risen beyond the price that consumers would have faced without a subsidy program. The actual prices consumers faced after the subsidy program was implemented were much more volatile than the estimated price without a subsidy program, pointing to also an increased consumer uncertainty about local market prices for rice. Using a targeted food voucher as a subsidy mechanism is not only more efficient, but can have higher impact on nutrition as it can be used for a wide variety.
  • Publication
    Crisis in LAC : Infrastructure Investment, Employment and the Expectations of Stimulus
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-07) Schwartz, Jordan; Andres, Luis; Dragoiu, Georgeta
    Infrastructure investment is a central part of the stimulus plans of the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region as it confronts the growing financial crisis. This paper estimates the potential effects on direct, indirect, and induced employment for different types of infrastructure projects with LAC-specific variables. The analysis finds that the direct and indirect short-term employment generation potential of infrastructure capital investment projects may be considerable averaging around 40,000 annual jobs per United States (U.S.) 1 billion dollars in LAC, depending upon such variables as the mix of subsectors in the investment program; the technologies deployed; local wages for skilled and unskilled labor; and the degrees of leakages to imported inputs. While these numbers do not account for substitution effect, they are built around an assumed basket of investments that crosses infrastructure sectors most of which are not employment-maximizing. Albeit limited in scope, rural road maintenance projects may employ 200,000 to 500,000 annualized direct jobs for every U.S. 1 billion dollars spent. The paper also describes the potential risks to effective infrastructure investment in an environment of crisis including sorting and planning contradictions, delayed implementation and impact, affordability, and corruption.