By Julián Messina, Francisco H.G. Ferreira and Sergio Firpo Long one of the world’s most unequal countries, Brazil surprised pundits by recording a massive reduction in household income inequality in the last couple of decades. Between 1995 and 2012, the country’s Gini coefficient for household incomes fell by seven points, from 0.59 to 0.52. (For comparison, all of the … [Read more...] about Falling Inequality: A Brazilian Whodunnit
By Mark Hallerberg Recently, there has been renewed interest in incorporating fiscal rules directly into constitutions. In 2012, the signatories of the so-called "Fiscal Compact" in Europe were expected to introduce a balanced budget rule that would "preferably (have) constitutional provisions." Those signatories included 25 of the current 28 member states of the European … [Read more...] about Fiscal Discipline: Can Constitutions Help?
Does democracy cause more economic prosperity and growth? This question dates back to Plato and Aristotle’s debate regarding which form of government brings more political and economic gain to society. However, after more than two millennia, there seems to be no clear consensus about whether democracy (in and of itself) delivers more economic growth than autocratic forms of … [Read more...] about Democracy Does Not Cause Growth
In the decades-long effort to make civil service bureaucracies more professional, civic coalitions have mobilized; business associations applied pressure; and international development agencies invested huge sums of money. Yet reform has frequently proved elusive. Instead, party-political rather than merit criteria reign in the hiring, promotion and firing of public employees. … [Read more...] about Reforming the Civil Service to Win Elections
In 2014 the government of the small and impoverished city of Flint in the United States decided to draw its municipal water from a different river than it had been accustomed to while it waited to connect to a cheaper water system. But the new water was corrosive to water pipes, and environmental officials made a fateful decision not to add chemicals that would protect them. By … [Read more...] about Better Savings for Better Infrastructure