Politics and Institutions

Does Political Patronage Necessarily Lead to Bad Hiring?

patronage in government doesn't have to lead to incompetent employees

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 discretionary hiring of people to […]

Prestigious Fellowship for Young Researchers Is Accepting Applications

recent graduates can apply now to the IDB's prestigious fellowship

The Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is accepting applications for its Research Fellow Program. The program provides an ideal opportunity for recent graduates and young professionals interested in working with leading economists on issues related to sustainable and equitable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, including in the areas of labor, […]

What Are the Antidotes to Sudden Stops?

Sudden stops can be less severe when local investors bring their foreign assets home

Policymakers in emerging economies have long suffered sudden stops, those paralyzing episodes in which foreign credit dries up. Such episodes can cause painful domestic adjustments that exact significant losses in GDP. But not all sudden stops are equal, and they do not all inflict the same amount of pain. Take the case of Latin America. […]

Protecting Conditional Cash Transfers

the manipulation of conditional cash transfers by politicians in Brazil is a potentially serious problem.

Conditional cash transfers are powerful tools of social progress in Latin America and the Caribbean. They have reduced short-term poverty for tens of millions of people by providing a monthly stipend and have helped break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by linking financial assistance to behaviors that enhance human capital, like school attendance and health […]

How Political Polarization Holds Latin America Back

There are countries where there is a great deal of consensus on issues of national importance, and countries where that consensus is lacking, where the population is divided, distrustful of political opponents, and unwilling to compromise. The latter are polarized societies, and their cleavages lead to worse outcomes in a whole gamut of areas, ranging […]

Can Government and Civil Society Unite to Combat Corruption?

Corruption is a public enemy. Brazil’s ongoing Lava Jato scandal is only the most recent prominent example of what can happen when government expenditures are undertaken with insufficient transparency and accountability. Pointing out a problem is one thing. Learning how to solve it—or at least contain it—is a different issue altogether, and one that raises […]

The Good, Bad and Unexpected of Fiscal Rules

Caribbean countries still face a delicate fiscal situation. While a number of Caribbean economies have reduced their debt burden, the majority face high sovereign debt levels that weigh on their prospects for strong and sustainable growth. In the context of weak fiscal stances and high dependence on foreign external conditions, it makes sense to implement […]

Guatemala: The Crisis of Rule of Law and a Weak Party System

In mid-2015, tens of thousands of ordinary Guatemalans poured into the streets to protest against a multimillion-dollar corruption scheme at the highest levels of government and demand reform. By September, key ministers and advisers had been fired. The nation’s president sat in jail. But today, two years after that euphoric demonstration of people power, little […]

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