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  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: On November 30, 2017, the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), in partnership with the Consulate of Japan in Rio de Janeiro, hosted a fruitful debate with Dr. Yorizumi Watanabe, Professor at Keio University in Japan. Among other topics, the Professor emphasized Japan’s strategy of negotiating bilateral Economic Partnership Agreements with countries in Asia and beyond, complementing its liberalization commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper presents results on the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in sixteen Latin American countries around 2010. The countries that redistribute the most are Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Uruguay, and the least, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru. At higher social spending, greater redistribution is achieved, but countries with a similar level of social spending show different levels of redistribution which suggests that other factors such as the composition and targeting of the expenditures are involved in determining the redistributive effect beyond its size. Fiscal policy reduces extreme poverty in twelve countries. However, the incidence of poverty after taxes, subsidies and monetary transfers is higher than the pre-fisc poverty rate in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, even when fiscal policy does reduce inequality. Expenditure on pre-school and primary education is equalizing and pro-poor in all countries. Spending on secondary education is equalizing in all countries and also pro-poor in some countries but not all. Expenditure on tertiary education is never pro-poor, but it is equalizing, with the exception of Guatemala, where it is regressive and unequalizing and in Venezuela, where its redistributive effect is zero. Health spending is always equalizing but it is pro-poor only in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Poverty, Capitalism, Income Inequality
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Marcelo López de Aragón
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The name Odebrecht has become irremediably tied to one of the largest corruption scandals in Latin American history. In the midst of the ongoing scandal is the man bearing the company’s name, one of Brazil’s richest men, Marcelo Odebrecht; a 48-year- old executive, who went from managing one of the world's largest construction firms to having several high-ranking government officials in Latin America look on nervously as the Brazilian construction tycoon confesses and provides details on an unparalleled and sophisticated bribery and bid-rigging scheme to Brazilian judicial authorities and to US courts.
  • Topic: Corruption, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Antonella Mori, Loris Zanatta
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Latin America is at a crossroads. The “golden age” inaugurated with the turn of the new millennium seems a faint memory. Economies that had grown at a steady pace are now slowing down, while some are in freefall. Politically, the “pink tide” of populist movements is now ebbing. From Brazil to Venezuela, from Argentina to Bolivia, left-leaning leaders across the region seem to have lost their bond with the people. Their promises of an equitable society through an apparently never-ending redistribution of wealth crashed against the reality of shortsighted and unsustainable policies. Political and social turmoil are heralding an era of changes and – maybe – of new opportunities for Latin America. And this ‘great transformation’ is precisely what this volume is all about. Where is it leading to? Does it mark the beginning of a new age? Which lessons can be learnt from the past? Leading international scholars and experts scratch beneath the surface of Latin America’s current crisis to have a clearer glimpse of what the future holds and draw policy recommendations, especially for the EU.
  • Topic: Reform, Economic structure, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, European Union
  • Author: Angel Melguizo, Sean Miner, Rolando Avendano
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: China's global influence is on the rise. In Latin America, Chinese firms are not only increasing their investment, but rapidly expanding to new areas of the economy. To explore the implications for all stakeholders in the region, the Atlantic Council, in partnership with the OECD, launched on June 26 a revealing study analyzing data not previously available to the public. New numbers show dramatic rises in FDI from China in Latin America—beyond oil and mining, China is today focusing on ICT, electricity, finance, and alternative energy.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Laura Albornoz Pollman
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Latin America, with its history of female heads of state, seems to be a rising global leader in terms of notable women in top-level leadership roles. What is the region's secret sauce? Does this phenomenon translate to the empowerment of women throughout Latin American societies? And are women rising to the top across sectors?
  • Topic: Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Eric Miller
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: With a majority government and a different world view than his predecessor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is re-making Canada’s foreign policy priorities and approaches. This paper offers some suggested approaches for engagement with Latin America. In the area of trade, the paper recommends seeking associate membership in the Pacific Alliance while continuing to strengthen linkages with Mexico within the North American commercial policy framework. It also suggests exploring the scope of what is possible with countries with which Canada does not have free trade agreements, especially Brazil and Ecuador. On the security front, the paper suggests that Canada needs a strategy for the Colombian peace process and to step up support to Mexico in strengthening the integrity of the southern border of North America. With regards to foreign policy, Canada needs a serious strategy for the new Cuba and needs to expand its diplomatic representation, namely in Paraguay and Bolivia. Finally, on the institution-building front Canada needs to secure senior positions at the Inter-American Development Bank and Organization of American States in order to help to drive institutional reform. Canada further needs a coherent strategy to attract in-bound foreign investment from Latin America. The region is rich with possibilities and a coherent engagement strategy can deliver much.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Maynor Cabrera, Hilcías E. Morán
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Guatemala is one of the most unequal countries in Latin America and has the highest incidence of poverty. The indigenous population is more than twice as likely to be poor than the nonindigenous group. Fiscal incidence analysis based on the 2009-2010 National Survey of Family Income and Expenditures shows that taxes and transfers do almost nothing to reduce inequality and poverty overall or along ethnic and rural-urban lines. Persistently low tax revenues are the main limiting factor. Tax revenues are not only low but also regressive. Consumption taxes are regressive enough to offset the benefits of cash transfers: poverty after taxes and cash transfers is higher than market income poverty.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Guatemala
  • Author: Jorge F. Garzón
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper inquires into the effects of an emerging multipolar world on the international institution of regionalism. While IR scholarship has been making a strong case for the regionalization of world politics since the 1990s, the fact that most of the rising powers are also the sole regional powers of their home regions has led some scholars to argue that the advent of multipolarity can only strengthen this general trend toward a more regionalized international order. In this contribution, I challenge these arguments by proposing an alternative way of thinking about how multipolarity is developing. The implications of this interpretation are that the emergence of multipolarity may actually generate powerful centrifugal forces within regions, which would have adverse effects on the known forms of regionalism that regional groupings have been implementing thus far. This applies particularly to the global South, where intraregional economic interdependencies tend to be weak. The proposition is tested by examining empirical findings across several regions and through a case study.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: SMEs are the main drivers of U.S. employment, and the majority of the employment is in SME services firms. Services are also a growing portion of U.S. exports. U.S. services exports are 34 percent of total exports. Including services used in the production of goods for export increases services exports to 50 percent of total U.S. exports. The U.S. runs a services trade surplus and has a competitive advantage in high-skill, high-paying services. The U.S. trade surplus in 2013 was $213 billion. Services exports supported 4.2 million jobs in the U.S. in 2013. Services SMEs are under-represented in U.S. exports. Only 5 percent of high-skilled services companies export, compared to 25 percent in the manufacturing sector. The global growth in Internet access is providing new opportunities for SMEs to export services to customers globally. The Internet also gives SMEs access to services as inputs, which increases the productivity of all SMEs and their ability to compete in overseas markets. Export Promotion Agencies (EPAs) assist SMEs to export. However, EPAs have not developed a comprehensive approach that takes full advantage of the opportunities the Internet provides for growing SME services exports. Some countries have developed new ways to use the Internet to assist SME exports. For example, in the U.S., businessusa.gov collects on a single website relevant trade data and provides information on the export assistance provided by various government agencies. In the U.K., opentoexport.com provides trade data, information on exporting and opportunities to blog and interact with experts. Matchsme.com in Denmark goes further and connects local businesses with local service suppliers. Connectamericas.com is also focused on Latin America and uses the Internet to match customers and suppliers. These different approaches and their successes provide insights into how to scale up an online program that could have a significant impact on SME services exports. The following are the main elements of such a program: Develop an Internet platform. Such a platform would connect services SMEs with overseas buyers and facilitate the transaction through to the export and payment. Build public-private partnerships. The Internet platform should involve the government and the private sector, drawing on their respective expertise. Develop trust in the Internet platform. This is needed if the platform is to succeed. There are various ways to build trust. This could include developing a rating system that is accepted across borders and incorporates into the platform existing trust-building mechanisms. Give services SMEs access to better information. The Internet platform should include all relevant information for services SMEs, including trade data, timely and relevant information on markets, barriers and regulations. Develop online networking opportunities. The Internet platform should allow services SMEs to meet customers and suppliers online. This would also increase the flow of timely information amongst participants on the platform. Such networks can also be used to vet potential business partners, thereby building trust in the Internet platform. Improve access to finance. A lack of finance is a barrier for services SMEs going global. An Internet platform should include information on financing opportunities and innovative financing approaches such as crowd funding. Create opportunities for soft landing in export markets. The ability for services SMEs to have face time with potential customers remains important for achieving export success. An Internet platform could build on the approach of CDMN in Canada and give SMEs opportunities to spend time overseas in start-up incubators or building contacts.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Latin America