Latin America and the Caribbean has made real progress in expanding health services to its citizens over the last two decades, boosting spending, increasing overall life expectancy and contributing to a decline in mortality rates for children under five. But despite those improvements, the region needs to become more efficient to achieve its goal of universal health coverage in … [Read more...] about Boosting Efficiency En Route to Universal Health Coverage
Politics and Institutions
Boosting skills is essential for entering the ranks of the richest nations. Better education and skills, most economists agree, generate the innovation and productivity that lift countries from middle-income to high-income levels such as those enjoyed by the United States and the wealthiest nations in Europe and Asia. Indeed, along with rule of law and well-functioning markets, … [Read more...] about What Do Voters Want: Help or Skills?
Over one weekend in June, a fierce gun battle between rival drug gangs and the security services spread from the hilly favelas to the shore near Rio de Janeiro's Sugarloaf Mountain. Cable cars services were suspended and seven people were killed. Still perhaps the biggest shock to Brazilians came three days later when the government released an unflinching report detailing … [Read more...] about Missing Data and the Failing Battle Against Crime
Imagine a country that does everything that development economics says is right: guarantee macroeconomic stability, maintain an open trade regime and invest in physical capital and education. Now imagine, that this this country suffers anemic growth and has done so for over two decades. What in the world could be wrong? This is the agonizing question facing Mexico and the … [Read more...] about Mexico: The Elusive Quest for Prosperity
Since the late 1990s, a broad reform movement has swept Latin America, aimed at granting independence to central banks and freeing them from government pressure to print money to finance government spending. Laws have been passed and constitutions changed to allow independent central banks to focus on the fight against inflation. A more complicated case has been Brazil, where … [Read more...] about When Central Bank Autonomy Makes All the Difference