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?
Politics and Institutions
The aftershocks of earthquakes can go on for months and even years in the ground. But how long do the aftershocks go on in human lives? Disruptions in living conditions and income seem likely to have major impacts on individuals and families over time, particularly in developing countries, but until recently little work has been done to test that intuition against hard data. A … [Read more...] about Quake’n and Shake’n…Forever!
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
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”