Over the last two decades, Latin America and the Caribbean has made huge efforts to improve education. Investment in the sector has grown from 3.6% to 5.3% of GDP; the percentage of adolescents who finish primary school has reached well over 90%, and results on PISA, the international exam that measures core competencies in mathematics, language and science, have improved … [Read more...] about To Boost Education, Latin America Needs to Spend More Efficiently
When allies of President Horacio Cartes tried to force an amendment through Paraguay's congress last year to allow him to run for a second term, rioters took to the streets and set fire to Congress, illustrating in particularly dramatic fashion the sharp divisions around term limits. Cartes eventually decided not to run again, but he may have been the exception. In recent … [Read more...] about Do Term Limits Benefit Voters?
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?
Latin American countries have a history of veering from left to right in economic affairs: from support for state-driven economic development to support for free markets. But a recent survey shows an upswing in ordinary citizens' enthusiasm for capitalism. And it begs the question as to why and how long-lasting the phenomenon might be. The recent findings are remarkable. … [Read more...] about The New Free-Market Fervor in Latin America
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?