Ask anyone in a Western society what makes the world go round, and they are likely to say selfishness, or at least self-interest. It is an idea drilled into us by Thomas Hobbes more than three hundred years ago and by Adam Smith, who argued for the benefits of self-interest in economic progress. It seems more than obvious in our dog-eat-dog world. But psychology and … [Read more...] about Some Economists Say We’re Less Selfish Than We Think. Why?
When a evening stroll to the corner store or a neighbor's house feels treacherous; when communities feel besieged by burglars, pickpockets, and muggers; it is tempting to call for stricter and more severe jail sentences. Locking up criminals, after all, gets them off the street. It is one reason why there has been a popular drive towards greater incarceration in Latin America … [Read more...] about How Better Ambient and Street Lighting Reduces Crime
Policymakers in Latin America and the Caribbean may be keenly aware that the region's crumbling roads, inefficient energy systems, and inadequate water and sanitation hold their countries back. But efforts to improve these and other infrastructure services get the short end of the stick. When governments reduce fiscal deficits, they consistently shortchange capital spending on … [Read more...] about When Improving Infrastructure Can’t Wait
For a long time, economists believed that inequality in the labor market could be explained fundamentally by differences in skills. Workers who were highly educated, experienced and skilled tended to be rewarded better by the labor market than workers who weren't. Firms were essentially irrelevant in this paradigm. Workers were rewarded for their productivity: It didn't matter … [Read more...] about Did Changes Among Firms Reduce Wage Inequality in Latin America?
Economic performance has long been considered key to voter behavior. "It's the economy, stupid," said a campaign strategist for Bill Clinton, cementing a view that a government's economic record is what voters care most about. But too much emphasis on the economy may be missing other, no less consequential, factors. A recent study by George Ward of the Massachusetts … [Read more...] about Does Happiness Sway Elections?