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
Politics and Institutions
Productive development policies (or industrial policies) can prove to be a key tool for a country’s development. Yet, as experience in Latin America clearly shows, they can also create serious problems. Nevertheless, these policies take a variety of forms. The key question is: what types of industrial policies should be adopted and which ones should not? This issue was the … [Read more...] about Productive Development Policies in a Nutshell: A Tale of Two Interventions
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”
Governments and international donors have long struggled to ensure accountability in large projects where patronage, inefficiency or outright corruption can lead to misallocation of resources and funds. One innovation has been the creation of community-monitoring initiatives that allow citizens to provide feedback on projects. Proponents believe such social audits not only … [Read more...] about Can Citizens Act Effectively as Watchdogs?
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