Few measures could be more important during the current Covid-19 pandemic than ensuring that the poor and vulnerable can eat, buy medicine and pay for other basic needs as they endure a months-long shutdown essential to protecting public health. But in Latin America where about half the population works in the informal economy, that is no easy feat. Many people in the informal … [Read more...] about Covid-19: The Challenge of Ensuring Assistance to Informal and Vulnerable Workers
Schools are closed in Latin America. Around 154 million children between the ages of 5 and 18 are at home instead of in class. It is not clear how long these closures will last, and there is a good reason for that: Schools provide a perfect environment for the spread of viruses. Students are typically in close contact to one another, packed into classrooms, playing at recess, … [Read more...] about Pandemic and Inequality: How Much Human Capital Is Lost When Schools Close?
With more than a million people infected and tens of thousands of deaths around the world, governments are taking extreme but necessary measures to contain the coronavirus, prioritizing in almost all cases some form of social isolation or distancing. But the economic costs for everyone are not the same. The disease lays bare societies' inequalities, inflicting greater economic … [Read more...] about Social Distancing, Informality, and the Problem of Inequality
The awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer hits close to home for several reasons. First, in bringing "an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty," as the Nobel committee said in its Oct. 14 announcement of the prize, these distinguished economists have changed the way we do research at the Research … [Read more...] about A Nobel Prize for Development: A Look From Inside the IDB
Since the mid-1990s, governments in Latin America have used conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to reduce poverty, improve health, and boost school enrollment for tens of millions of people. But like any social program that increases income and hence demand, CCTs pose their own risks if they allow for goods and services to be purchased in a non-competitive environment. That is … [Read more...] about Promoting Competition to Boost Welfare Through Social Programs