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  • 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
  • Author: Fabrice Lehoucq
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of civil war on regime change. It focuses on Central America, a region where several countries underwent transitions to democracy in the wake of civil war during the second half of the twentieth century. It argues that armed conflict, not increasing levels of economic development, led to political change. Violence liquidated stubbornly resilient autocracies in El Salvador and Nicaragua, catalyzed the democratization of Costa Rican politics, and was the backdrop to regime liberalization in Guatemala. Postwar negotiations, at a time when Cold War bipolarity was ending, led to the establishment of more open, civilian regimes on the isthmus. This paper also notes that the transition from autocracy was enormously costly in both lives and economic well-being, which helps to explain why political change has given birth to low-quality democracies or mixed regimes on the isthmus, ones that also have witnessed the explosion of criminal and drug-related violence.
  • Topic: Civil War, Crime, Democratization, Development, Regime Change, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The accelerating deterioration of Venezuela’s political crisis is cause for growing concern. The collapse in 2014 of an incipient dialogue between government and opposition ushered in growing political instability. With legislative elections due in December, there are fears of renewed violence. But there is a less widely appreciated side of the drama. A sharp fall in real incomes, major shortages of essential foods, medicines and other basic goods and breakdown of the health service are elements of a looming social crisis. If not tackled decisively and soon, it will become a humanitarian disaster with a seismic impact on domestic politics and society, and on Venezuela’s neighbours. This situation results from poor policy choices, incompetence and corruption; however, its gravest consequences can still be avoided. This will not happen unless the political deadlock is overcome and a fresh consensus forged, which in turn requires strong engagement of foreign governments and multilateral bodies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Health, Food, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The growth rates witnessed in markets across Latin America in the decade to 2010 pulled millions out of poverty, led to rapid growth of the middle class and helped to demonstrate the promise of emerging markets. Since then, however, growth has slowed dramatically across the region. 2015 will mark the fifth successive year of deceleration in Latin America, which has slowed more than any other emerging market region. With concerns over the ability of emerging markets to withstand a slowdown in China and monetary policy normalisation in the US growing, risks to the growth and financing outlook for Latin America persist. However, as economic recovery starts to gather pace in the region, opportunities for investment and growth will also re-emerge. This report provides a snapshot of the current political and economic landscape in the region, and in some of Latin America’s largest economies: Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Each article analyses key concerns and presents our view of the outlook going forward, helping you to influence decision-making and economic outcomes for your business.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Thea Gelbspan
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: There are times where most organizations dedicated to advancing human rights and sustainable development must face the question: What does positive change look like? How does it happen? And, what do we need to understand in order to support these processes effectively? The case of the indigenous movements of the Andean region provides a compelling response to these questions. This book presents a retrospective overview of the social and political movements of indigenous peoples in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia between 1980 and 2010. It describes key developments that set the context for the strategies employed by indigenous organizations in the Andean highlands and the western Amazon in order to have a say in decisions that affect their lands and their lives. It also details the ways in which Oxfam America accompanied these movements in the struggle to claim their rights and identifies some key achievements and lessons learned in the course of their long partnership.
  • Topic: Development, International Organization, Political Economy, History
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Monica de Bolle
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Public lending by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) may have done more harm than good in Brazil, adversely affecting real interest rates and productivity growth. Specifically, BNDES's large amounts of subsidized lending are responsible for substantial credit market segmentation, choking off monetary policy transmission. As a result, to maintain price stability the Central Bank of Brazil is forced to raise interest rates more than it might do otherwise in the absence of BNDES lending. Restoring Brazil's capacity to grow in the medium term requires a thorough rethinking of the role of BNDES. In particular, the bank's lending rates should be aligned with market prices, term and risk premia, while taking into account that, with an adequate transparency framework, public development banks can increase private sector participation instead of crowding it out.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Timmons Roberts, Guy Edwards
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: China's rapidly increasing investment, trade and loans in Latin America may be entrenching high-carbon development pathways in the region, a trend scarcely mentioned in policy circles. High-carbon activities include the extraction of fossil fuels and other natural resources, expansion of large-scale agriculture and the energy-intensive stages of processing natural resources into intermediate goods. This paper addresses three examples, including Chinese investments in Venezuela's oil sector and a Costa Rican oil refinery, and Chinese investment in and purchases of Brazilian soybeans. We pose the question of whether there is a tie between China's role in opening up vast resources in Latin America and the way those nations make national climate policy and how they behave at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. We focus on the period between the 2009 Copenhagen round of negotiations and the run-up to the Paris negotiations scheduled for 2015, when the UNFCCC will attempt to finalize a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Patrice Franko
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Brazil is a puzzling new player in the global system. Emerging as a complex international actor, it has come to be seen as a significant economic competitor and dynamic force in world politics. But transformational changes in the economic and political realms have not been accompanied by advances in military power. While Brazil has entered the world stage as an agile soft power exercising influence in setting global agendas and earning a seat at the economic table of policymakers, its military capacity lags. The national security strategy announced under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2008 intended to redress this power gap. President Dilma Rousseff 's 2011 White Paper—so detailed that it is called a "White Book"—provides the conceptual roadmap to achieve a new military balance. But military modernization is still a work in progress.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Tiffany Barnes
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades a large number of countries worldwide have adopted a gender quota to increase women's political representation in the legislature. While quotas are designed to achieve equality in legislative power and decision-making, it is unclear if electing more women to legislative office is sufficient to accomplish institutional incorporation. Once women are elected to office, are they being incorporated into the legislative body and gaining their own political power, or are they being marginalized? Using an original data set that tracks committee appointments in the twenty-two Argentine legislative chambers over an eighteen-year period, I evaluate the extent to which women have access to powerful committee appointments—beyond traditional women's domains committees—and how women's access to committee appointments changes over time. I hypothesize that while women may initially be sidelined, as they gain more experience in the legislature they may overcome institutional barriers and develop institutional knowledge that will better equip them to work within the system to gain access to valuable committee appointments.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Gender Issues, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Mariana Llanos, Alexander Stroh, Cordula Tibi Weber, Charlotte Heyl
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the extent to which elected power holders informally intervene in the judiciaries of new democracies, an acknowledged but under-researched topic in studies of judicial politics. The paper first develops an empirical strategy for the study of informal interference based on perceptions recorded in interviews, then applies the strategy to six third-wave democracies, three in Africa (Benin, Madagascar and Senegal) and three in Latin America (Argentina, Chile and Paraguay). It also examines how three conditioning factors affect the level of informal judicial interference: formal rules, previous democratic experience, and socioeconomic development. Our results show that countries with better performance in all these conditioning factors exhibit less informal interference than countries with poorer or mixed performance. The results stress the importance of systematically including informal politics in the study of judicial politics.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Power Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, Argentina, Latin America, Tamil Nadu
  • Author: Rohinton Medhora, David Malone
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The familiar world of international organizations principally devoted to development has been upended by two phenomena. First is the emergence of sustained economic success in the developing world (mostly in Asia, but increasingly also in Africa and, in a less spectacular way, Latin America) amid compelling, continuing need among the world's poor. Second, the slow-moving, serious financial and economic crisis of the industrialized world since 2008 has reordered priorities in many of their capitals toward domestic spending and away from costly international projects.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, United Nations, Latin America
  • Author: David Steven, Alejandra Kubitschek Bujones
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: In October 2013, Ambassadors from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries in the United Nations (GRULAC), their key negotiators from respective capitals, civil society representatives, and UN System agencies from the region held a retreat on the Post-2015 Agenda.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Latin America, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Sam Handlin
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: What are the causes and implications of polarization in new democracies? During Latin America’s “Left Turn” period, highly polarized party systems emerged in some countries–Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and El Salvador–but not the rest of the region. This paper proposes a theory to explain variation, centered on the presence of electorally relevant parties of the left in the pre-Left Turn period and, most critically, the quality of governance in that period. Poor governance created opportunities for partisan actors on the left to politicize a second dimension of political contestation, anti-systemic versus systemic positions on the design and operation of the state, and thus chart alternative paths to electoral viability that required little left-right programmatic moderation. This dynamic empowered radical party factions and drove polarizing dynamics in party systems. High quality governance, in contrast, gave left parties little choice but to moderate their programs in search of electoral viability. This dynamic empowered moderate party factions and drove centripetal dynamics in party systems. Empirically, the paper tests these arguments through a broad overview of the case universe and in-depth case studies of Venezuela and Brazil.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Jonathan Weigel, Paul Farmer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Haiti is currently battling the world's largest cholera epidemic in half a century. An integrated, comprehensive response—including case-finding and rapid treatment, water and sanitation efforts, and vaccination—could bring cholera to heel on Hispaniola and help prevent its spread elsewhere in the region.1 But the local and international response has, to date, fallen short. Tens of thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths were reported in May and June of this year.2 If the disease had appeared in the United States or elsewhere in the developed world, all available control tools would have been deployed. But the safe, effective and inexpensive cholera vaccine has only recently become available in Haiti. In April, the Haitian Ministry of Health and two healthcare nonprofits began delivering vaccines to about 91,000 people in rural and urban Haiti.
  • Topic: Development, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Duncan Wood, Marc Frank, John Parisella
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Cuba: Port Upgrades and Free-Trade Zones BY MARC FRANK When Latin American and Caribbean heads of state gather in Cuba in January 2014 for the Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States— CELAC) summit, the agenda will include a side trip to Mariel Bay. There, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Cuban President Raúl Castro will cut the ribbon on a brand new container terminal that Cuba hopes will replace Havana as the country's principal port. Brazil financed more than two-thirds of the $900 million project, built in partnership with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht over six years—providing $670 million in loans for terminal construction and infrastructure development such as rail and road. The facility, with an initial capacity of 850,000 to 1 million containers, will be operated by Singaporean port operator PSA International. The Mariel Bay facility, located 28 miles (45 kilometers) west of the capital on the northern coast, was built to attract traffic from the larger container ships expected to traverse the Panama Canal in 2015. It could also serve as a major transfer point for cargo heading to other destinations. But the competition is already fierce. The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Panama are all rushing to improve their port facilities.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Christopher Wylde
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Institution: Central and East European International Studies Association
  • Abstract: The post-crisis administration of Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) saw significant changes in the political economy of Argentina. After characterising these changes this article attempts to place the evidence within an appropriate meta-theoretical interpretation. The article concludes that while elements of historical forms of political economy exist in Néstor Kirchner's regime - elements of populism, elements of neoliberalism - in its entirety, one must look to other explanations not traditionally associated with Latin America, that is, the developmental regime. Such a conclusion facilitates both an enhanced understanding of post-crisis Argentine political economy, and an opportunity to further develop a developmental regime approach.
  • Topic: Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Sergio Cabral Filho
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program, titled "Rio de Janeiro: from Ostracism to Protagonism" features an address by Sergio Cabral Filho, former Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Introduction and Moderated by Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University in the City of New York.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Political Economy, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: New York, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Giovanni Grevi
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The international system is changing fast and both the European Union and Brazil will need to adapt. This paper argues that such a process of adjustment may bring the two closer together, even if their starting points differ considerably. Europe looks at the ongoing redistribution of power as a challenge, Brazil as an opportunity. Europe is coping with the detrimental impact of the economic crisis on its international profile; Brazil is enhancing its influence in its region and beyond. Their normative outlook is broadly compatible; their political priorities and behaviour in multilateral frameworks often differ, from trade to development and security issues. Despite the crisis, however, there are signals of renewed engagement by the EU on the international stage, with a focus on its troubled neighbourhood and partnerships with the US and large emerging actors such as Brazil. The latter is charting an original course in international affairs as a rising democratic power from the traditional South with no geopolitical opponents and a commitment to multilateralism. In testing the limits of its international influence, Brazil will need dependable partners and variable coalitions that go well beyond the BRICS format, which is not necessarily sustainable. This contribution suggests that the strategic partnership between the EU and Brazil may grow stronger not only as a platform to deepen economic ties and sustain growth, but also as a tool to foster cooperation in political and security affairs including crisis management, preventive diplomacy and human rights.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Jorge Balán
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Higher education has undergone impressive growth and change over the last few decades in Latin America.This book selectively reviews some dimensions of this transformation, discussing policies, institutions, and programs, as well as their outcomes in terms of access, workforce training, and research. Individual chapters, commissioned from specialists from Latin America and the United States, stand as original, independent contributions focusing on key issues in higher education: changes in institutional autonomy and system governance, the contributions of higher education to advanced workforce development, policy responses to the continuing challenges of access and equity, government-sponsored study-abroad scholarships programs in several countries, trends in academic mobility and its outcomes for brain drain and gain, the changing landscape of U.S. universities' and corporations' investment in the region, and recent development of U.S. government exchange programs with Latin America.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Emerging Markets, Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Benjamin Leo
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The United States government has made repeated declarations over the last decade to align its assistance programs behind developing countries' priorities. By utilizing public attitude surveys for 42 African and Latin American countries, this paper examines how well the US has implemented this guiding principle. Building upon the Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment (QuODA) approach, I identify what people cite most frequently as the 'most pressing problems' facing their nations and then measure the percentage of US assistance commitments that are directed towards addressing them. By focusing on public surveys over time, this analysis attempts to provide a more nuanced and targeted examination of whether US portfolios are addressing what people care the most about. As reference points, I compare US alignment trends with the two regional multilateral development banks (MDBs) – the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Overall, this analysis suggests that US assistance may be only modestly aligned with what people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America cite as their nation's most pressing problems. By comparison, the African Development Bank – which is majority-led by regional member nations – performs significantly better than the United States. Like the United States, however, the Inter-American Development Bank demonstrates a low relative level of support for people's top concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Latin America
  • Author: Richard Snyder, Kelly Bay, Cecilia Perla
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: This article explores the political economy of social science research in the Global South by analyzing new bibliometric and survey data on Peru, a lower-middle income country with weak domestic funding and institutional support for scholarship. The results of the analysis show that although research in Peru is heavily dependent on foreign funding, the multiplicity of funding institutions gives scholars a surprising degree of autonomy. Still, dependence on foreign funding produces conditions with potentially harmful consequences for the quality and impact of research. Five conditions are considered: multiple institutional affiliations, hyperproductivity, forced interdisciplinarity, parochialism, and a weak national community of scholars.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Peter Andreas, Angelica Duran-Martinez
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: Illicit trade has long been a central feature of Latin America's engagement in the world. In this chapter we first briefly sketch the scope and dimensions of illicit trade in the region, and stress the importance of various types of power asymmetries. Drawing on illustrations primarily from drug trafficking (by far the most studied and documented case), we then outline in a preliminary fashion some of the key issues in understanding transnational illicit flows and their impact on Latin America foreign and domestic policy and governance. We concentrate on four themes: 1) the relationship between illicit trade and diplomatic relations with the United States; 2) the relationship between illicit trade and democratic governance; 3) the relationship between illicit trade and organized violence; and 4) the relationship between illicit trade and neoliberalism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Latin America
  • Author: Fulvio Castellacci, Hamza Kanar
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The economic reforms recently implemented in Cuba do not adequately deal with the structural issues that hamper the country's economic development. The paper presents a system dynamics model to investigate Cuba's development process, and a simulation analysis to compare different policy scenarios that may be realized in the future as economic reforms will continue. The results indicate that the most effective development policy would be to combine active public policies to enhance the R sector, on the one hand, and foster the emergence of an efficient private sector that will develop the capital infrastructure of the economy, on the other.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Carl Meacham, Robert Funk
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the first round of Chile's presidential elections on November 17, Michelle Bachelet, of the progressive New Majority (Nueva Mayoría) coalition, commanded a resounding lead. Garnering 46.7 percent of the popular vote—and putting her 20 points ahead of Alliance for Chile (Alianza por Chile) candidate Evelyn Matthei, her nearest rival—the former president is the likely victor in the runoff elections scheduled for December 15.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Douglas Farah, Robert D. Lamb, Carl Meacham
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The project that culminated in this report was conceived just over a year ago as an initiative to assess the major accomplishments in strengthening the Colombian government's efforts to bring peace and stability to its countryside.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Humankind recently crossed a historic threshold: over half of all human beings now live in cities. In contrast to most of human history, cities have become the default condition for human habitation almost everywhere on earth. Urbanization is proceeding rapidly and at unprecedented scales in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These regions are poised to join Latin America, Europe, North America, and Australia as having more people living in cities than in rural areas. Between 2010 and 2050, the world's urban population is expected to grow by 3 billion people—a figure roughly equal to the world's total population in 1950—with the great majority living in developing-world cities.3 Our species, in other words, is already an urban one and will become even more so throughout this century.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Environment, Natural Resources, Urbanization, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Australia, North America
  • Author: Augustin K. Fosu
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What can the less well-off developing countries learn from the “successes” of other developing countries? This Policy Brief highlights successful development strategies and lessons from in-depth case studies of select countries from the developing world. The coverage includes East Asia and the Pacific, the emerging Asian giants, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with respective regional syntheses. Although countries' experiences are not necessarily replicable, the recurrent themes across countries and regions provide the appropriate connectedness for a comprehensive global perspective on development strategies and lessons.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Latin America
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Danilo Marcondes de Souza Neto
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: For most of the twentieth century, the strategic importance of the North Atlantic outstripped that of the southern part of the ocean. However, the past decade has brought significant shifts in Atlantic dynamics, with regional and external actors developing new interests in the region. Brazil, in particular, has been working to reinforce its control and influence in the South Atlantic. To this end, over the last five years the Brazilian government has launched or intensified efforts meant to securitise the South Atlantic. This strategy combines unilateral initiatives – naval build-up, domestic military publicity efforts, and international legal moves – with a vastly expanded international defence cooperation programme that covers nearly the entire South Atlantic perimeter. This policy brief analyses key components of Brazil's strategy, situating them within the South Atlantic's changing ecology of actors and suggesting some of the potential tensions that may arise from Brazil's growing protagonism in the South Atlantic.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Sebastián Piñera
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program features an address by His Excellency Sebastián Piñera, President of the Republic of Chile, titled Chile\'s Way to Development, followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Horacio Cartes
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: This World Leaders Forum program features an address by His Excellency Horacio Cartes, President of the Republic of Paraguay, titled Paraguay: Land of Opportunities, followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Barbara Kotschwar
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In Latin America, inadequate transportation infrastructure has been identified as an increasingly important impediment to the region's further integration in global trade and a significant factor preventing countries from properly taking advantage of the multitude of regional, plurilateral, and bilateral trade agreements signed in the past decade and a half. This paper examines transport and communications infrastructure initiatives in Latin American and Asian regional trade arrangements and finds several lessons Asia can teach Latin America.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Communications, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez, José Luis Guasch, Veronica Gonzales
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, Central American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua—have made significant progress in social and economic areas. In particular, they have stabilized their economies after decades of civil war and the economic volatility that plagued the region through the 1990s. Most countries in Central America have taken important steps to improve their business climates, particularly by enhancing macroeconomic stability, improving the soundness of their financial systems, making improvements in infrastructure services and trade facilitation, reducing red tape, and simplifying their regulatory and tax frameworks. As a result, before the 2008 financial crisis, GDP per capita in Central America grew at an average rate of 3 percent per year from 2003 to 2008, which, albeit modest, was the most robust and stable period of growth the region had witnessed since the early 1990s. However, despite this achievement, Central American economies are still lagging behind the rest of Latin America and other middle-income countries by per-capita growth rates of 0.5 to 2 percentage points. Even more worrying are the levels of poverty and inequality, which show the lack of inclusiveness in their growth models. Moreover, recent developments in the region show a number of red flags that are weakening macroeconomic and democratic stability. Significant structural changes are urgently needed to secure sustained and inclusive growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: More than 40% of U.S. corn is now consumed in the production of ethanol. With the United States by far the world's largest producer and exporter of corn, this represents an estimated 15% of global corn production. A recent survey by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that globally biofuels expansion accounted for 20 - 40% of the price increases seen in 2007 - 8, when prices of many food crops doubled. This had a dramatic impact on poor consumers and on net - food - importing developing countries. Expanding U.S. production and consumption of corn - based ethanol, which has been encouraged by a range of U.S. government subsidies and incentives, is considered one of the most important biofuel programs in putting upward pressure on food prices. Mexico now imports about one - third of its corn from the United States. Using conservative estimates from a study on U.S. ethanol expansion and corn prices, we estimate the direct impacts of U.S. ethanol expansion on Mexican corn import costs. We find that from 2006 - 2011, U.S. ethanol expansion cost Mexico about $1.5 billion due to ethanol - related corn price increases. Other methodologies suggest the costs could be more than twice as high, surpassing $3 billion over the period.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Graciana del Castillo, Daniel García
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: An analysis of trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Uruguay is difficult due to data problems. Nevertheless, balance-of-payments data reveal that inward FDI (IFDI) increased sharply in the second half of the decade 2002-2011 under analysis. IFDI flows relative to GDP rose annually on average to close to 6% in 2005-2011. This compares favorably with annual average flows of only 1% in the decade before the banking crisis and the sharp devaluation of the Uruguayan peso in 2002. At the time, investment in natural resources, including in farmland and real estate in Punta del Este, became very attractive. IFDI flows peaked at 7.5% of GDP in 2006, with the investment in the construction of the first cellulose plant in the country by a multinational enterprise (MNE) from Finland. The rapid increase in IFDI in the second half of the past decade took place amid high rates of economic growth (averaging about 6% a year on average), in combination with an adequate policy and regulatory framework and fiscal incentives to foreign investors. So far, Uruguay remains primarily a host country for FDI, with outward FDI (OFDI) that has been and continues to be insignificant.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Katherine E. Bliss, Paulo Buss, Felix Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On November 7, 2011, the Global Health Policy Center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., in partnership with the Fiocruz Center for Global Health (CRIS) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hosted a seminar entitled “New Approaches to Global Health Cooperation.” The event, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, assembled health policy researchers and practitioners from Brazil, Europe, the United States, and sub - Saharan Africa to examine emerging practices in global health co operation. Issues considered included the factors driving greater international engagement on public health challenges, the growing trend of trilateral cooperation, and the role of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and South - South activities in expanding international cooperation on global health. Over the course of the day - long meeting, speakers and audience members examined the reasons for the overall expansion of funding and programming for overseas global health activities durin g the past decade; considered the factors that underpin Brazil's increasing focus on global health as an area of bilateral and multilateral outreach; reviewed the characteristics of successful trilateral cooperation efforts; and debated the future of multi country engagement on health.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Health, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, United States, China, Europe, Washington, India, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Eduardo Posada-Carbó
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: By focusing on its electoral role, this paper revises some of the prevailing views regarding the Catholic Church's impact on the politics of Colombia between 1830 and 1930. To this aim, the paper offers a brief general overview of the Church during the period, in an attempt to locate its sources of power. Then, I look at the place the religious cleavage had in the formation of the party system that emerged in the republic by the mid-nineteenth century. Next, I examine the various ways in which the Church was involved in the electoral process both before and after the emergence of the party system. Finally, the concluding section considers the wider implications that such involvement might have represented for the history of democracy in Colombia. Overall, the paper addresses the following questions: What had the historical role of the Catholic Church been in the politics of Colombia since independence? How did the Church—the hierarchy, the clergy and the laity—relate to the electoral history and partisan divisions of the country? And to what extent did the involvement of the Church in electioneering enhance or hinder the process of democratization over this century?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Manuel Alcántara
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper addresses from a comparative perspective the national elections (legislative and presidential) held between 2009 and 2011 in seventeen Latin American countries. There are five key issues that guide this analysis: the institutional conditions of electoral competition, the electoral offer, election results, party systems, and post-electoral executive-legislative relations. The political consequences of these electoral processes—except perhaps in the cases of Honduras and Nicaragua, where some minor negative trends have arisen—reveal a pattern of apparent normality and political alternation, with a change in the presidential elite and winning proposals that were articulated via institutions. The paper concludes by outlining how countries in the region have successfully overcome challenges of a varying nature and importance, that until recently generated a degree of uncertainty in their respective political systems.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Nicaragua, Honduras
  • Author: Matthew C. Ingram
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Existing research shows that the ideas of judges matter for judicial behavior both on the bench (decision making) and off the bench (lobbying and mobilization for institutional change). Yet there is little empirical evidence regarding the content and distribution of these ideas and even less evidence and fewer theoretical propositions regarding the manner in which ideas transfer or diffuse among judges. Addressing these empirical and theoretical gaps, I survey judges in the Mexican state of Michoacán and apply techniques of network analysis. The project makes four main contributions: (1) original data on the attitudes of judges regarding prominent institutional and jurisprudential changes shaping the legal landscape in Mexico; (2) egocentric data on network structure for the sampled judges; (3) sociocentric data on network structure at the level of judicial district, state supreme court, and entire state generated by aggregating the egocentric data; and (4) a mixed-methods analysis of the causal relationship between network features and judicial attitudes, drawing on egocentric methods, sociocentric methods, and personal interviews with focal individuals. Complementing literatures on political socialization, policy diffusion, and complex systems, the analysis clarifies our understanding of the role of judicial networks in strengthening democracy and the rule of law.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Political Economy, Governance, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Luis F. Lopez-Calva, Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Between 2000 and 2010, the Gini coefficient declined in 13 of 17 Latin American countries. The decline was statistically significant and robust to changes in the time interval, inequality measures, and data sources. In-depth country studies for Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico suggest two main phenomena underlie this trend: a fall in the premium to skilled labor and more progressive government transfers. The fall in the premium to skills resulted from a combination of supply, demand, and institutional factors. Their relative importance depends on the country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We apply a standard tax-and-benefit-incidence analysis to estimate the impact on inequality and poverty of direct taxes, indirect taxes and subsidies, and social spending (cash and food transfers and in-kind transfers in education and health). The extent of inequality reduction induced by direct taxes and transfers is rather small (2 percentage points on average), especially when compared with that found in Western Europe (15 percentage points on average). What prevents Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil from achieving similar reductions in inequality is not the lack of revenues but the fact that they spend less on cash transfers—especially transfers that are progressive in absolute terms—as a share of GDP. Indirect taxes result in that net contributors to the fiscal system start at the fourth, third, and even second decile on average, depending on the country. When in-kind transfers in education and health are added, however, the bottom six deciles are net recipients. The impact of transfers on inequality and poverty reduction could be higher if spending on direct cash transfers that are progressive in absolute terms were increased, leakages to the nonpoor reduced, and coverage of the extreme poor by direct transfer programs expanded.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia
  • Author: Samuel Reynard
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Financial crises have been followed by different inflation paths which are related to monetary policy and money creation by the banking sector during those crises. Accounting for equilibrium changes and non-linearity issues, the empirical relationship between money and subsequent inflation developments has remained stable and similar in crisis and normal times. This analysis can explain why the financial crisis in Argentina in the early 2000s was followed by increasing inflation, whereas Japan experienced deflation in the 1990s and 2000s despite quantitative easing. Current quantitative easing policies should lead to increasing and persistent inflation over the next years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article reviews dependency postulates and examines whether they are applicable to explain the political economy of China's contemporary relations with Peru. It argues that the dichotomy between Peru as a commodity-providing periphery and China as a core manufacturing centre is insufficient to explain the ways in which power is embedded in the international economic system, and particularly inadequate to identify winners and losers in the international division of labour. Thereby, in line with some recent international political economy discussions of power, the article proposes that China should not be understood as a self-contained economic entity, but as a hub where natural resources are mobilized for transnational production. Furthermore, contending that a focus on nation-states fails to capture the complexity of (under)-development dynamics, it suggests that notions of internal colonialism, flexible sovereignties and postcolonial analyses of representation provide fresher perspectives from which to understand the distribution of power along the political economy of Sino-Peruvian relations.
  • Topic: Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: It's time to measure the income share of Latin America's super-rich.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: José Raúl Perales
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The hemisphere's free-trade agreements-and how to untangle them.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America, Caribbean, Mexico
  • Author: Zhang Mingde
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: A senior Shanghai scholar says China poses no threat to the region.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Eric Farnsworth
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: U.S. complacency toward China's economic activities in the hemisphere is shortsighted.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Washington, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Barbara Kotschwar
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Asia leads Latin America in infrastructure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Kathryn Hochstetler
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Brazil has always focused on development strategies, but it has recently shifted more attention, on balance, from thinking of its own development to offering assistance to other countries in their national efforts. Former President Lula da Silva has argued that Brazil's own experience with solving problems in inauspicious conditions makes it a particularly good partner for other developing countries (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada [IPEA] and Agência Brasileira de Cooperação [ABC], 2010: 7). Brazil self-consciously approaches its external development assistance from the perspective of a recipient, endorsing an egalitarian “solidarity diplomacy” that stresses holistic development in its partners. The ultimate aim is “sustainable growth,” which includes “social inclusion and respect for the environment” (IPEA and ABC, 2010: 32-33).
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Environment, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Alex Evans, David Steven
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Recent months have seen increasing interest in the idea that Rio+20 could be the launch pad for a new set of 'Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs). But what would SDGs cover, what would a process to define and then implement them look like, and what would some of the key political challenges be? This short briefing sets out a short summary of current thinking the issue, followed by thoughts about the way forward.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Patrick D. Duddy
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In the coming months, Venezuela could experience significant political unrest and violence that lead to the further curtailment of democracy in the country. Presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 7, 2012. President Hugo Chavez is in the midst of a tough reelection campaign against Henrique Capriles Radonski—the young and energetic governor of the state of Miranda–– who enjoys multiparty support and appears to have a better chance of defeating the incumbent than earlier challengers.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Venezuela