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Latin America & Caribbean

Keeping Peru on a Strong Economic Path

Luis Miguel Castilla's picture

Over the past decade, Peru has enjoyed one of the best performing economies in Latin America – one that took the financial crisis in stride. Now its focus is on sustaining this trajectory and, with about a third of the population in poverty, spread the economic gains more broadly. The JKP team and Vox LACEA spoke on the subject with Luis Miguel Castilla, Peru’s Minister of Economy and Finance, who says his top economic priorities are growth, productivity, and social inclusion.

Vocational Training for Vulnerable Youth in Colombia

Jessica Owens's picture

With youth unemployment extremely high in Latin America, numerous government efforts have been under way to help the poorest individuals. In Colombia, the "Jóvenes en Acción" or "Youth in Action" program was introduced in the mid-2000s to provide job training to about 4,300 unemployed youth (ages 18-25) who lived in urban areas and fell into the two lowest deciles of the income distribution. Jessica Owens, a consultant with Colombia's Ministry of Labor, says that evaluations show that women fared the best under the program.

Getting a Better Grasp of How Fiscal Policies Affect Poverty in Latin America

Gladys Lopez-Acevedo's picture

 Walking on a mud-filled road in the Amazon. World Bank.

As Latin America tries to further reduce poverty and inequality, a big question is whether the current combination of taxes and benefits (such as cash transfers) are sufficient.  Nora Lustig—Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University—recently presented a seminal paper on equity and distribution at Universidad del Pacifico in Peru that suggests the answer is no.

What Latin America Might Advise Europe

Claudia Sepúlveda's picture

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. 

Overcoming Obstacles to More Income Equality in Latin America

Claudia Sepúlveda's picture

Chocolate Factory in Sao Paulo, Brazil by Matt Devincenzi, 2009.

Since the early 2000s, the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region has sharply cut the poverty rate - from 44 percent of the population in 2002 to 33 percent in 2008. But it has made fewer inroads in reducing income inequality, leaving LAC still the most unequal region in the world. In addition, a majority of the population suffers from inadequate social protections.

Certifying Skills in Chile

Hernan Araneda's picture

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.

Minimum Wages Aren’t Always the Best Way to Improve Social Welfare

Edgard Rodriguez's picture

For most countries, raising the minimum wage has long been considered a way to protect poor workers and their families. In fact, this active labor market intervention represents a common social protection policy in many Latin American countries. But how effective are minimum wages in protecting the poor? It’s a timely question as the debate heats up over whether minimum wages help avoid “the race to the bottom” or serve as a major impediment to greater labor market flexibility and competitiveness.

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