Social Issues

Minimum Wages and the Fight Against Inequality

Fighting inequality with minimum wages depends on gauging the circumstances and timing

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Curing Education’s Ills With Lessons From Medicine

education in Latin America could benefit from more use of the scientific method

Latin America’s educational systems are failing their students. Despite steady advances in enrollment, students in the region perform considerably worse on standardized tests than their counterparts in advanced economies. They even trail students from developing economies with similar levels of development. The problem is not lack of spending. The average country in the region spends […]

Can Small Farmers Adapt to Climate Change Shocks?

When researchers consider the economic costs of climate change, they often estimate models based on historical temperature and economic data. But it can be difficult to account for adaptation. Typically, these models estimate an upper bound of the economic costs of climate change. Future adaptation, it is assumed, will reduce those costs. But adaptation could […]

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