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.
Latin America & Caribbean
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.
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.
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.