As if we couldn't think for ourselves when it comes to pouring hot liquids down our throats, the warnings about hot tea and coffee are ubiquitous. “Caution Handle with Care I’m Hot,” says one cup. "Caution Contents Hot," says another, with variations on the theme repeated in thousands of restaurants and cafes around the world. Businesses, it seems, don't trust us to be careful … [Read more...] about When Too Much Choice Distorts Electoral Results
A Latin American president faces a steep economic downturn. She introduces fiscal austerity measures, perhaps a tax hike, to try to contain the damage. Mass protests erupt, police clash with demonstrators, and the political mood grows darker by the day. Can the president and her party survive? The short answer is usually no. In a recent study, Martín Ardanaz, Mark Hallerberg … [Read more...] about When Tax Hikes Doom Governments at the Polls
Latin America needs to increase its rate of tax collection. With budgets tight and capital spending meager, the region can't tolerate rates of evasion for personal and corporate income taxes of up to 50% in many countries. Moreover, in a region already very unequal, tax evasion tends to increase inequality. But the challenges of improving tax collection are immense. Apart … [Read more...] about The Pros and Cons of Simplified Tax Notices and Amnesties
Trust is rare in Latin America, and only getting rarer. Economic and financial mismanagement, corruption scandals, and inequality have taken their toll. According to Latinóbarometro, an annual public opinion survey of 18 countries from the region, trust in government dropped from 45% in 2009 to 22% in 2018, and the share of people who are discontent with democracy soared from … [Read more...] about Can Government Commitments Win Back Citizens’ Trust in Latin America?
When it comes to crime, we are easily swayed by false perceptions and information. We lose our wallet to a pickpocket or hear about a mugging in our generally safe neighborhood and immediately assume that we are in the midst of a crime epidemic. We are pushed to anxiety by politicians who peddle exaggerated homicide statistics to prove they are tough on crime; by the … [Read more...] about When Anti-Crime Strategies Reflect Ignorance Rather than Knowledge