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Single mothers may face significant economic handicaps, an issue of particular concern in Latin America and the Caribbean where 11% of households are headed by a single parent—the highest rate of any region in the world—and most of those households are led by single mothers. This already large share almost triples when taking into account […]
The post The Challenges of Being a Single Mother in Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
With its bountiful assortments of everything from tomatoes and milk to cigarettes and dog food, the little grocery store or “tiendita” is as ubiquitous and cherished as the bakeries, small liquor stores, and tacos stands that dot nearly every neighborhood in Mexico’s cities. But over the last 20 years, tienditas have faced significant competition from […]
The post The “Tiendita” and the Survival of Microenterprises Amid Competition from Large Firms appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Living in an extended family has become more common around the globe, including in the United States, where the number of people living in multigenerational households has quadrupled in the last five decades. But Latin America, along with Northern Africa, is the region where multigenerational living is most common. This has important policy implications, not […]
The post Three-Generation Households Can Boost Female Employment appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Women have been gaining ground in labor markets, transitioning into paid work and increasingly into leadership positions in Latin America and the Caribbean. But far more progress is needed to create opportunities in which women can realize their economic potential. While the region has bridged 72.6% of its gender gap, progress is currently stagnant. Over […]
The post How the Lack of Childcare Exacerbates the Gender Gap appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Surviving Competition: Neighborhood Shops vs. Convenience Chains (Under Revision)
Hundreds of millions of microenterprises in emerging economies face increased competition from the entry and expansion of large firms that offer similar products. This paper studies how one of the world's most prevalent microenterprises, neighborhood shops, confront competition from convenience chains (e.g., 7-Eleven) in Mexico. To address the endogeneity in time and location of chains' store openings, I pair two-way fixed effects with a novel instrument that, at the neighborhood level, shifts the profitability of chains but not of shops. An expansion from zero to the average number of chain stores in a neighborhood reduces the number of shops by 16%. Consistent with the theoretical framework, this reduction is not driven by an increase in shop exit but by a decrease in shop entry. Shops retain their sales of fresh products and 96% of their customers, but customers visit shops less often and spend less on non-fresh and packed goods. I present evidence consistent with shops surviving by exploiting comparative advantages stemming from being small and owner-operated, such as lower agency costs, building relationships with the community, and offering informal credit.
Grandmothers and the Gender Gap in the Mexican Labor Market (Revise and Resubmit at Journal of Development Economics)
This paper estimates the effect of childcare availability on parents' employment probability using the timing of death of grandmothers--the primary childcare providers in Mexico--as identifying variation. I use a triple-difference to disentangle the effect of coinhabiting grandmothers' deaths due to their impact on childcare from their effects due to alternative mechanisms. Through their impact on childcare availability, grandmothers' deaths reduce mothers' employment rate by 12 percentage points (27 percent) and do not affect fathers' employment rate. The negative effect on mothers' employment is smaller where public daycare is more available, or private daycare or schools are more affordable.