Public information campaigns are a complex undertaking; how the message is delivered matters at least as much as the content of the message itself. Moreover, getting it right is paramount since undoing the damage of misinformation is difficult indeed. In this regard, the debate over vaccination provides a difficult lesson—one in which the repercussions of poor messaging are, … [Read more...] about Vaccination: Infectious Misinformation
President Obama presented his $4 trillion budget proposal for FY2016 to Congress on Feb. 2, outlining his spending priorities for the next 10 years. Big winners under his plan include the poor, middle classes, the military and the construction industry, thanks to a combination of tax breaks and credits, as well as infrastructure and defense spending. On the other hand, the … [Read more...] about Who Decides the Budget?
The costs of Latin America’s alarming levels of crime and violence go far beyond even the suffering of the direct victims. They have very real economic, as well as social, repercussions. In Uruguay, crime-related costs absorb 3.2 percent of GDP, diverting critical resources from more productive economic priorities. In Mexico, violence increases unemployment, closes businesses, … [Read more...] about Crime and Violence: An Expensive Problem
How can governments guide people to make choices that would improve their welfare? Traditionally, the focus has been on changing prices; for instance, higher cigarette taxes encourage people to smoke less. Lately, “nudges” have become a favorite tool, and are becoming increasingly popular in developed and developing countries alike. Latin American governments are no … [Read more...] about The Do’s and Don’ts of “Nudging”
Among Latin American nations, Chile has achieved rare success in developing strong macroeconomic fundamentals, a transparent regulatory system, and improving in other indicators of economic and social wellbeing. That should come as no surprise. Chile has good policy features and strong government capabilities. Its congress consists largely of well-educated politicians with … [Read more...] about The Weakest Link: Government Capabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean