Microeconomics and Competitiveness

Did Education and Job Experience Reduce Inequality in Latin America?

As Joana Silva and I document in a recent book, earnings inequality declined in 16 of the 17 countries in Latin America for which consistent statistics can be calculated, although the intensity and turning points diverged across countries. For example, after a decade of stagnant or slowly increasing inequality, the 90th/10th interquantile range of the […]

Reforming Regulations that Harm Productivity and Worker Welfare

With the right reforms, Latin America could eliminate barriers that harm productivity and worker welfare

An uncomfortable reality lies behind Latin America’s poor growth performance: gains in productivity have been anemic over the last three decades. The costs in long-term GDP growth, as well as higher wages and living standards for Latin America’s people, are steep. Over the last decades most Latin American nations adopted a broad agenda of economic […]

Will Robots Really Harm Employment?

Employment may actually get a boost from robots and automation

In science fiction films, artificial intelligence and robots are the bogeymen of the future, replacing us and rendering us useless as they impose their mechanical will upon us. Economists, though less apocalyptic, are sounding alarms too. In a study, economist Carl Benedikt Frey and machine learning expert Michael Osborne examine more than 700 occupations in […]

How Can Crowdsourcing Help Latin America in the Digital Age?

Latin America increasingly uses crowdsourcing to solve social problems in the digital age

Suppose you are a government facing various social crises. Traditionally, you might send out teams of government researchers, create government-led commissions, and hire consultancies. You might host public hearings.  But you wouldn’t bring your problems to the internet “crowd.” Over the last 10-15 years, however, governments and non-governmental organizations in both the developed and developing […]

New Research Opportunities at the IDB for Behavioral Economists

Applications open at the IDB for Behavioral Economists

The IDB invites researchers with a keen intellectual interest in behavioral interventions to apply for visiting positions with its recently established IDB Working Group on Behavioral Economics. As the leading multilateral institution for Latin America and the Caribbean, the IDB is looking to build on its experience helping governments use behavioral economics tools to improve […]

Nudging Latin Americans to Healthier, More Prosperous Lives

Nudging is instrumental for the IDB in improving health and well-being for Latin Americans

The year 2017 may be the year behavioral economics found its place in the sun. Fifteen years after behavioral economics pioneer Daniel Kahneman won his Nobel Prize, its principles have been transformed into key policy tools in government, business, and development agencies. The 2017 Nobel Prize to Richard Thaler, one of its principle theoreticians and […]

Behavioral Economics and the Messaging That Works

Behavioral economics shows that the way a message is received can make all the difference

“Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” said the United States’ Benjamin Franklin. And few things are less pleasurably anticipated. But at least when it comes to taxes, the avoidance can make running a government especially hard. Behavioral economics, with its psychological insights into how information can be used to change citizens’ […]

How Nobel Ideas Inspired the IDB

The ideas of Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler inspire IDB interventions in Latin America

Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago professor who fused psychological insights and economics to reveal how biases affect decision-making, was awarded Oct. 8 the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics. The award, which recognizes Thaler’s work in overturning assumptions about economic behavior as rational and demonstrating how people could be “nudged” to make better choices, brings […]

A Simple Nudge is a Better Nudge

What are the best ways to get people to change their behavior for their own, and society’s, good? Seeking to avoid coercion, policymakers increasingly turn to pricing strategies, like “sin taxes” on alcohol or cigarettes. Or they resort to techniques from behavioral economics like “nudges,” which employ peer pressure, moral appeals and suggestive images—such as […]

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