President Hugo Chávez is delivering festive gifts to the tropics with Venezuela’s first socialist toy fair.
The government has spent $1.4m (£860,000) importing 124,000 toys from China and is selling them at rockbottom prices to hordes of grateful parents. So many swamped the inaugural feria socialista de juguetes in the capital, Caracas, that police officers on horseback intervened to impose order over the weekend.
With discounts of up to 80%, there is no mystery to its success. Venezuela is in recession and suffering 26% inflation, Latin America’s highest. Many families are struggling to buy food, let alone gifts.
The industry minister, Simon Daoud El Saden, said the merchandise was not subsidised but sold at cost, stripped of “speculative” retail mark-ups. “It is a way to control and lower prices.”
The pro-government newspaper Vea hailed the event as a victory over rip-off “capitalist toys”. Freewheeling entrepreneurial spirt was evident, however, in the sun-baked park hosting the fair. Hawkers sold snacks and drinks, and outside the grounds discounted toys appeared on street stalls at marked-up prices.
Pablo Brañas-Garza, Juan-Camilo Cardenas, and Maximo Rossi have new paper on gender, education and reciprocal generosity:
There is not general consensus about if women are more or less generous than men. Although the number of papers supporting more generous females is a bit larger than the opposed it is not possible to establish any definitive and systematic gender bias. This paper provides new evidence on this topic using a unique experimental dataset. We used data from a field experiment conducted under identical conditions (and monetary payoffs) in 6 Latin American cities, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Lima, Montevideo and San José. Our dataset amounted to 3,107 experimental subjects who played the Trust Game. We will analyze the determinants of behavior of second movers, that is, what determines reciprocal generosity.
In sharp contrast to previous papers we found that males are more generous than females. In the light of this result, we carried out a systematic analysis of individual features (income, education, age, etc.) for females and males separately. We found differential motivations for women and men. Third, we see that (individual) education enhances prosocial behavior. Lastly, we see that subjects’ expectations are crucial.
Residents of the Venezuelan capital face cuts in water service for as much as 48 hours per week, after the government imposed rationing to stem a 25 percent shortfall in the city’s supply, officials said Monday.
Officials said cuts in water service were to be staggered throughout Caracas through the duration of the current dry season, which is not expected to end until May 2010.