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Latin America & Caribbean

Would Better Job Conditions Boost Latin America’s Productivity?

Juan Chaparro's picture

Latin America is looking for ways to boost its low productivity. We spoke to Juan Chaparro (PhD student, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota), about a new study by him and Eduardo Lora (former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank), which suggests that the answer might lie in creating a better job environment. Chaparro tells the JKP that the results are quite encouraging.

Attracting Multinationals: How Costa Rica Fared

Laura Alfaro's picture

Why are some countries better able to attract multinationals than others? To learn more, the JKP looked at the case of Costa Rica, which has gained enourmous foreign investment since attracting Intel to invest in 1996. We asked Laura Alfaro – who was Costa Rica’s Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy (2010-2012) and is now at Harvard Business School – about the relative roles of the private and public sectors and what countries can do to attract multinationals.

Universal Pension, Yes, Regressive Funding, No

David Robalino's picture

Silver miner in Potosi, Bolivia. Photo credit: ©urosrMariano 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.

It’s Time for Universal Pension Coverage in Latin America

Mariano Bosch's picture

 Local Fisherman in Mexico. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank

The panorama of pension coverage in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) is quite worrisome. Fewer than half of the 38 million older workers (aged 65 and older) are receiving a contributory pension — based on contributions (savings) accumulated during their active lives. This means only a small number of the region's elderly in a position to enjoy the two key objectives of pension systems: eliminating poverty in old age and maintaining an adequate standard of living for workers once they stop working.

Decentralizing the Bolivian Way

Jean-Paul Faguet's picture

Over the past 40 years, decentralization – that is, central governments devolving authority and resources to democratically elected sub-national governments – has been taking hold, to varying degrees, all over the world. We recently spoke with Jean-Paul Faguet – a Reader in the Political Economy of Development, London School of Economics, and Chair of the Decentralization Task Force of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University – about how Bolivia fared in its big bang experiment with decentralization in the mid-1990s. He says that Bolivia’s overall results were quite impressive, especially for the poor.

Experiences from the Field—Part 3: Preparing Convicts in Brazil for the Outside World

Gianfranco Commodaro's picture

Brazil has the fourth largest population of inmates worldwide, a recipe for overcrowded, violent, inhumane prisons, and significant HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis infection rates.  In the hopes of reducing recidivism and crime and improving human dignity, Brazil has adopted the APAC (Association of Protection and Assistance for Convicts) Professional Qualification Project, We recently spoke with Gianfranco Commodaro, the Minas Gerais Director for the AVSI Foundation, who said the APAC project has helped dramatically reduce recidivism in Brazil, from 80-85 percent in the public penitentiary system to about 10 percent in APACs.

Brazil’s Single Registry Provides a Backbone for Social Programs

Claudia Baddini's picture

For Brazil, the Single Registry — called Cadastro Unico — serves as the backbone for its social programs (such as Bolsa Familia). It was introduced in the early 2000s and stands out as an example of best practices for countries eager to use Management Information Systems to identify the socio-economic profile of their poor people. We recently asked Claudia Baddini, Director of Cadastro Unico, about lessons learned so far. She stresses the importance of integrating job generation programs with social assistance and creating an anchor program that encourages people to register.

Tackling Haiti’s Extreme Rural Poverty

Steven Werlin's picture

Fonkoze is known as "Haiti's Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor." It's the largest micro-finance institution offering a full range of financial services to the rural-based poor in Haiti — serving more than 56,000 women borrowers and more than 250,000 savers. We asked Steven Werlin, Regional Director for Fonkoze's CLM program (which is for the ultra poor), about the organization's efforts to help rural women develop their own income-generating activity.

A Snapshot of Youth Training Programs in Brazil and the Dominican Republic

Claudia Sepúlveda's picture

Day workers unload bananas in an open air market in Manaus, Brazil. Photo: © Julio Pantoja / World Bank

If you are at the prime working age of 35-55 years old and watching the 2013 South American Youth Championship (Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-20) — which is taking place in Argentina and will qualify the four South American teams to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup — then you may be forgiven for thinking of trading places with a 20-year-old. Young people are healthier and stronger, and they don't worry about waistlines and other signs of age. But one thing would worsen as a result of the trade: your labor market prospects. Young workers almost invariably have lower wages and higher rates of unemployment than older workers.

Time to Move from Measuring Jobs to Jobs Quality

Gladys Lopez-Acevedo's picture

Workers seting up an electric sub station in Santiago de Chile

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.

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