Consider two regions: one ranks high in GDP, equality, government transparency, and health care, the other one lags behind, sometimes by a wide margin. Where do you think people feel more upbeat? The answer is anything but intuitive. Many countries in Latin America knock out Western Europe and other advanced economies with their positive energy. In a recent study, Mariano … [Read more...] about How Latin American Countries Became World Champions of Happiness
Numerous studies show that female politicians on the whole are associated with less corruption than male ones. But Ugo Troiano and I were able to demonstrate the phenomenon with convincing evidence in a published study comparing male and female mayors in Brazil. We found that female mayors were not only less likely to engage in administrative irregularities and patronage, like … [Read more...] about Are Female Politicians More Honest than Male Politicians?
Many policymakers say minimum wage hikes are crucial to reducing inequality. They look at Latin America and see abundant evidence, including the fact that in various countries large minimum wage increases during the commodity boom of the 2000s coincided with large inequality declines. There is certainly some truth to the idea. Minimum wage increases during times of strong … [Read more...] about Minimum Wages and the Fight Against Inequality
Patronage is among the least loved of political practices, often synonymous with malfeasance and incompetence. Civic and development organizations rail against it. Numerous studies show that merit-based career civil services, as opposed to discretionary ones, are associated with higher economic growth, lower corruption, and better bureaucratic performance. But patronage, the … [Read more...] about Does Political Patronage Necessarily Lead to Bad Hiring?
Areas of Latin America, like Mexico and Chile, have some of the world's greatest solar potential. But a new technological development in solar cells could allow them to harness more of the sun's energy and speed the growth of solar in the region. The new solar cells are known as perovskites. They are made of a crystalline structure and can be printed on sheets of plastic or … [Read more...] about Pushing the Frontier of Solar Cells