In the 1980s, Chile's educational system underwent a major overhaul that included decentralizing administrative powers and the creation of a three-tiered school system. We spoke with Sergio Urzúa (University of Maryland) about a new study published by him, Dante Contreras (University of Chile), and Jorge Rodríguez (University of Chicago), which suggests that the three-tiered school system, along with other educational reforms, aren't helping to reduce income equality.
Mariano Bosch, Carmen Pages, and Angel Melguizo at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are proposing a new approach to expanding the coverage of pension systems in Latin America while helping create more and better jobs. Their ideas are spelled out in a new book "Better Pensions, Better Jobs: Towards Universal Coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean." The book is about Latin America but the problems discussed and proposed solutions are relevant for any middle-income country. I think the IDB's proposal is a great contribution to the debate on pension reform. Below I discuss some of the points they make that I agree with and those where I think other options could be considered.
There's widespread agreement that a stronger focus on quality jobs — typically thought of as jobs that are well paid, stable, and with reasonable conditions — are perhaps the best way for emerging and developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty and reduce inequality. However, there's little agreement on how to measure and analyze job quality not only because the literature on the topic is quite recent and heterogeneous but also because of a lack of adequate data to measure job quality properly. Today's blog looks at an innovative paper that tries to break new ground in measuring job quality. It focuses on Chile, which in recent decades has enjoyed strong economic growth — yet continues to suffer inequality and poverty.
We know there are large gender gaps in labor markets. But how pervasive are they and what can be done about them? At the November 2012 LACEA (Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association) — LAMES (Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society) conference in Peru, academics presented new evidence on the extent of gender gaps in the labor market and some of the underlying explanations for the patterns observed.
The latest surge in eurozone fiscal tensions took place this week with the protests in Athens and Madrid bringing home the difficulties faced by the region's elected representatives as they struggle to reduce fiscal deficits. For the young generation of Europeans, this crisis will mark them for life, just as the Latin American debt crisis of 1982 marked my generation. That is why when I watch the images of these violent protests on TV, I become overwhelmed by a sense of déjà vu.
For workers trying to get better jobs, skill certification systems offer a way to upgrade their skills to meet what the labor market is demanding and then get those skills recognized formally. That is why from 1999-2009, Chile undertook a series of pilot projects to develop a national certification system. We recently spoke with Hernán Araneda, head of the Center for Innovation in Human Capital in Fundación Chile, about pilot projects to develop a national certification system that he designed, oversaw, and scaled up.