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  • Author: Nora Lustig
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper examines the redistributive impact of fiscal policy for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa using comparable fiscal incidence analysis with data from around 2010. The largest redistributive effect is in South Africa and the smallest in Indonesia. While fiscal policy always reduces inequality, this is not the case with poverty.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Africa, South America, 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: Enrique Dussel Peters
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Weeks before Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with President Barack Obama in Washington, the Atlantic Council's Latin America Center launched a new report that unravels the complexities of the Latin America-China relationship. Titled China's Evolving Role in Latin America: Can it Be a Win-Win?, the report provides five recommendations to help both China and Latin America usher in a mutually beneficial post-commodity-boom relationship. The key to long-term success will be to insure that the relationship promotes—rather than delays—economic growth and social progress in the hemisphere. In the report, renowned Mexico-based China Expert Enrique Dussel Peters, an Atlantic Coucil author and Professor at the Graduate School of Economics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), calls for a ratcheting up of strategic planning and multilateral support so the relation¬ship is a win-win for all parties, including the United States. A deep dive of the state of play is provided for five countries: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela. These countries illustrate the spectrum of ties with China, ranging from those with long and complex historical relation¬ships to those almost entirely structured around recent opportunities for economic cooperation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: Marcio Garcia
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: From 2009 until 2011, Brazil utilized capital controls to deter real exchange rate appreciation. These measures may have obstructed necessary changes in the fiscal policy stance from occurring. In Chile, which employed capital controls heavily in the 1990s and then decided not to use them again during the commodity super-boom in the 2000s, suggests that an adequate fiscal policy stance provides better results than the use of capital controls. In addition, the recent experiences of Colombia and Peru demonstrate capital controls are not always necessary. This paper makes recommendations for capital control surveillance and coordination, using the Brazilian experience as an example, and draws on experiences in other Latin American countries. When analyzing the implications for surveillance and coordination, international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, should take into consideration that, no matter how many caveats are listed before its guidelines, capital controls mainly serve to bypass needed changes in macroeconomic policy, thereby jeopardizing economic performance.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Jose De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin America's recent economic performance has been disappointing. After a very strong recovery from the Great Recession, growth has slowed considerably, and prospects for 2015 are dim. Among the seven largest economies in the region, output is expected to contract in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela, and Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are projected to grow by only about 3 percent. The decline was not caused by external factors but was mostly cyclical in nature and a result of low productivity. Although monetary and fiscal policies may still have a role in supporting demand in some instances, the main problem in the region is not a lack of demand but low productivity growth. Efforts must be made to foster productivity. Institutional weakness must be addressed and inequality reduced if sustainable high growth is to resume.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • 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: Juan Camilo Castillo, Daniel Mejia, Pascual Restrepo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Using the case of the cocaine trade in Mexico as a relevant and salient example, this paper shows that scarcity leads to violence in markets without third party enforcement. We construct a model in which supply shortages increase total revenue when demand is inelastic. If property rights over revenues are not well defined because of the lack of reliable third party enforcement, the incentives to prey on others and avoid predation by exercising violence increase with scarcity, thus increasing violence. We test our model and the proposed channel using data for the cocaine trade in Mexico. We found that exogenous supply shocks originated in changes in the amount of cocaine seized in Colombia (Mexico's main cocaine supplier) create scarcity and increase drug-related violence in Mexico.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Oeindrila Dube, Omar Garcia-Ponce, Kevin Thom
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: We examine how commodity price shocks experienced by rural producers affect the drug trade in Mexico. Our analysis exploits exogenous movements in the Mexican maize price stemming from weather conditions in U.S. maize-growing regions, as well as export flows of other major maize producers. Using data on over 2,200 municipios spanning 1990-2010, we show that lower prices differentially increased the cultivation of both marijuana and opium poppies in municipios more climatically suited to growing maize. This increase was accompanied by differentially lower rural wages, suggesting that households planted more drug crops in response to the decreased income generating potential of maize farming.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Poverty, War on Drugs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Andrew Powell
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: There are many dimensions to the international use of a nation's currency. These include the use of a currency for trade invoicing and settlement, the use of a currency to denominate assets to be held as a store of value, for example, as central bank reserves, and the use of a currency to denominate liabilities such as loans or bonds.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Marília Leão, Renato S. Maluf
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Brazil has achieved promising results in the fight against hunger and poverty. This paper describes the path toward building a new governance framework for the provision of public policies that initiated a virtuous cycle for the progressive elimination of hunger and poverty. However, it is important to emphasize that the country continues to be characterized by dynamics that generate inequalities and threaten social and environmental justice.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Poverty, Food, Governance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Jennifer Leavy, Naomi Hossain
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Who wants to farm? In an era of land grabs and environmental uncertainty, improving smallholder productivity has become a higher priority on the poverty and food security agenda in development, focusing attention on the next generation of farmers. Yet emerging evidence about the material realities and social norms and desires of young people in developing countries indicates a reasonably widespread withdrawal from work on the land as an emerging norm. While de-agrarianisation is not new, policymakers are correct to be concerned about a withdrawal from the sector: smallholder productivity growth, and agricultural transformation more broadly, depend in part on the extent to which capable, skilled young people can be retained or attracted to farming, and on policies that support that retention. So who wants to farm, and under what conditions? Where are economic, environmental and social conditions favourable to active recruitment by educated young people into farming? What policy and programmatic conditions are creating attractive opportunities in farming or agro-food industry livelihoods?
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Elling N. Tjønneland
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: Much has been written about the role of the rising or emerging powers and their accelerating economic engagement in Africa. Much less is known about how they contribute to or impact on the African peace and security agenda. This report takes a comparative look at the roles of China, India, Brazil and South African in relation to the African Union and its African Peace and Security Architecture. Each of these four countries has a distinct commercial and corporate approach to Africa, despite a shared political commitment to South-South cooperation. However, as they extend their economic engagement they are becoming more sensitive to insecurity and volatility. The Asian and Latin American countries, which traditionally have strongly emphasised non-intervention, are gradually becoming more involved in the African security agenda. They are increasingly concerned about their image and reputation and the security of their citizens and business interests, and are becoming more prepared to act multilaterally and to work with others in facilitating security and stability. As an African power, South Africa plays a more direct role and has emerged as a major architect of the continent's evolving peace and security architecture. This report summarises elements from a broader research project on rising powers and the African peace and security agenda undertaken by CMI in cooperation with NOREF.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America
  • 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: Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Maria Alejandra Amado
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes Latin America's Financial Inclusion Gap, the difference between the average financial inclusion for Latin America and the corresponding average for a set of comparator countries. At the country level, we assess four types of obstacles to financial inclusion: macroeconomic weaknesses, income inequality, institutional deficiencies and financial sector inefficiencies. A key finding of this paper is that although the four types of obstacles explain the absolute level of financial inclusion, institutional deficiencies and income inequality are the most important obstacles behind the Latin America's financial inclusion gap. From our analysis at the individual level, we find that there is a Latin America-specific effect of education and income. The results suggest that the effect of attaining secondary education on the probability of being financially included is significantly higher in Latin America than in its comparators. Furthermore, the difference in the probability of being financially included between the richest and the poorest individuals is significantly higher in Latin America than in comparator countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Human Rights, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn, Cory R Gill
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: It has been nearly ten years since the launch of Petrocaribe, a program designed to win the political loyalty of the Caribbean states through generous credit subsidies to help import Venezuelan crude oil and products. Recipient states have grown dependent on high-cost, high-carbon fuels for power generation and Venezuelan credit to balance their budgets.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Caribbean, Venezuela
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: This report is based on the themes and messages discussed during the Business Opportunities in Housing for the Base of the Pyramid event held in São Paulo, Brazil on 2 September 2013. The event brought together between key actors developing housing solutions for low-income communities in Brazil. More than 70 members from the United Nations Development Programme in Brazil, city government, civil society, real estate developers, private-sector companies and investors attended this invite-only event, a collaborative effort between Business Call to Action (BCtA) and Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Brazil Chapter which enabled participating stakeholders to discuss challenges and solutions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Human Welfare, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Roberto Alvarez, José De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin American performance during the global fi nancial crisis was unprecedented. Many developing and emerging countries successfully weathered the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Was it good luck? Was it good policies? In this paper we compare growth during the Asian and global fi nancial crises and fi nd that a looser monetary policy played an important role in mitigating crisis. We also fi nd that higher private credit, more fi nancial openness, less trade openness, and greater exchange rate intervention worsened economic performance. Our analysis of Latin American countries confi rms that eff ective macroeconomic management was key to good economic performance. Finally, we present evidence from a sample of 31 emerging markets that high terms of trade had a positive impact on resilience.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Michelle Bachelet
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Women's political and economic participation strengthens democracy, equality and the economy. And while women's empowerment and full participation in society are important goals in themselves, they are also vital for reducing poverty, achieving universal education, improving maternal and child health, and fulfilling other development goals. Increasing the presence of women in politics not only responds to their rights as citizens; it enriches political discourse, decision-making and inclusiveness, and improves social conditions through the passage of equitable laws and policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Olivia Ruggles-Brise
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America's travel and tourism industry took a hit during the 2008–2009 recession. International arrivals slowed and tourists had less money to spend. But over the longer term, tourism has been a success story—and forecasts suggest continued growth. That should surprise no one. Latin America's sheer diversity in scenic beauty, cuisine and cultures has combined with an increasingly sophisticated domestic industry to cater to every kind of traveler. Since 2006, tourism's direct contribution to GDP in Latin America has grown by 7 percent in real terms—more than double the world average—to reach an estimated $134 billion in 2011. This figure, which is projected to rise to $224 billion in 2022, includes revenue generated by tourism-oriented services such as hotels and airlines, as well as restaurant and leisure industries that cater to tourists. Forecasts for this year suggest tourism's direct contributions will grow by 6.5 percent, behind only Northeast and South Asia (6.7 percent).
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: During the first decade of the twenty-first century, Latin America's increasing prosperity and social progress have led analysts to conclude that historic change is taking place. Indeed, poverty in Latin America fell from 41.4 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2010, even at a time of global distress1—a result, in part, of both sustained economic growth and reductions in inequality. As a result, the focus in policy circles has switched to the role an emerging middle class can play in the region, both as an engine of growth and as the foundation for social cohesion and better governance. The key to understanding this shift is accurately defining the middle class in economic terms.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Aurora Garcia Ballesteros, Beatriz Cristina Jiminez Blasco
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America has historically played an important role in Spain's migratory cycles—both as a sender and as a recipient. Spanish political immigration to the hemisphere surged following the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and again after World War II, when Spaniards flocked to Latin America for economic reasons. The flow reversed with the late-1980s economic crises in Latin America. Between 1996 and 2010, Latin Americans in Spain—measured by those who obtained Spanish citizenship—grew nearly tenfold, from 263,190 to 2,459,089. Now Europe's economic crisis, which has acutely affected Spain, is causing the flows to shift again. According to data from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE), for the first time in this century, more people are now leaving Spain than moving to it. Net migration in 2011 was reported at negative 50,090 people, with 507,740 leaving Spain and 457,650 arriving.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, War
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Spain
  • Author: Leani García
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There's no denying it; whether it's share of trade or percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the hemi sphere, the U.S.' economic presence has decreased. Even when the U.S. didn't slip a place in terms of a trade partner, its overall share of countries' imports or exports declined across the board, while other countries' increased—especially China's. In the same period, in Argentina and Brazil, the share of U.S. FDI declined by 22% and 27%, respectively.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Alejandro M. Werner, Oya Celasun
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America has bounced back economically in the past decade. Between 2002 and 2012, the region has seen strong and stable growth, low inflation and improved economic fundamentals. As a result, the weight of the region in global economic output increased from about 6 percent in the 1990s to 8 percent in 2012. With that has come a greater voice in the global economy.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Seth Colby
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In November 2009, the cover of The Economist showed the iconic Christ statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro blasting off into outer space. This image, along with the cover headline, "Brazil Takes Off," represented the Carnaval-like euphoria about Brazil that infected journalists and financial markets at the time, buoyed by the country's impressive economic performance in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: John Carey, Adriana La Rotta, Nancy Perez
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin American Populism in the Twenty-First Century edited by Carlos de la Torre and Cynthia J. Arnson BY JOHN M. CAREY Legend has it that on his deathbed, Juan Domingo Perón, the former President of Argentina, uttered a curse condemning any would-be biographer to dedicate his or her career to defining populism. Or perhaps the curse was issued on the lost page of the late Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas' suicide note, or slipped in among the bills in an envelope passed surreptitiously by Alberto Fujimori to some Peruvian legislator, or whispered by the recently deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez into the ear of his successor, Nicolás Maduro. No matter. Whoever first uttered the curse, it worked: political scientists studying the region have wrestled and been obsessed with the concept for decades. We want to write about populism. Indeed, we need to write about it, because populism is among the most important and persistent phenomena in modern Latin American politics. But because the populist label has been applied to such a broad array of phenomena, we are condemned to define it before we can embark on any serious analysis. Academic exactitude being what it is, this leads first to extended consideration of what others have held populism to be, followed by a self-perpetuating and seemingly inescapable cycle of judgment, distinction and justification.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, Colombia, Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Davide Grassi
  • 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 return of democracy in Latin America has been associated with a decline in political violence, but also with a failure to redress welfare troubles or restore social justice. This essay provides an exploration of these problematic relationships. It argues that the impact of democracy on social welfare and internal civil violence is complex, develops unevenly and is mediated by a host of contributing factors. The bearing of democracy on political violence has been especially weak. In some countries democratic elites played a role in reducing or eliminating armed conflicts by offering a series of political concessions to the opposition, in particular communication channels with the government and social and political rewards. However, political violence survived or intensified under democracy elsewhere, while it was eradicated by force and (less frequently) by concessions in a number of authoritarian settings. Democracy has also affected welfare policies, through the appearance and progressive strengthening of social organisations and political parties that favoured channelling benefits towards the less advantaged. Yet, welfare protection also took place under populist and authoritarian governments, and it was influenced by a series of additional economic, political and social factors.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Jose W. Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: United States-Latin American relations have often suffered from a disconnect. While we stress security issues, the region's leaders speak of poverty reduction and trade. They resent being seen as afterthoughts to U.S. policies focused elsewhere. As a result, the region is sporadically open to new suitors, such as Spanish investors 15 years ago, or the Chinese today.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Latin America, Spain
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Greater investment in agriculture is needed to reduce rural poverty and improve food security. This means not simply increasing supply but ensuring that adequate, nutritious food is accessible to every person at all times. How investment is made, its context and conditions, is at least as important as how much is invested.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Multinational enterprises (MNEs) multiplied their profits made in developing countries by four between 2002 and 2011 (at current prices). In Latin America and the Caribbean, they rose from US$20 billion in 2002 to US$113 billion in 2011. The growth rate has been even higher in Africa and China, but much lower in developed countries. This rise is explained by an increase in FDI stock in developing economies and the higher average profitability of MNEs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Latin America
  • Author: Itriago Déborah
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Despite economic growth and the reduction of both poverty and inequality that Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has experienced during the last decade, it still remains the most unequal region in the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Vegard Bye
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Cuban society is undergoing deep changes, more than fifty years after the Revolution and the same number of years with a Castro government. The focus of study is mostly on economic reforms. But economic transition also has great impact - gradually manifesting itself - on the entire political system. The direction of these changes is still quite unclear. In this Working Paper, "The Politics of Cuban Transformation - what Space for Authoritarian Withdrawal?", NUPI Research Fellow Vegard Bye analyzes the choice of direction and some scenarios in the political transformation process.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Latin America, Caribbean
  • 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: Nicholas Carnes, Noam Lupu
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Does it matter that working-class citizens are numerically underrepresented in political offices throughout the world? For decades, the conventional wisdom in comparative politics has been that it does not, that lawmakers from different classes think and behave roughly the same in office. In this paper, we argue that this conclusion is misguided. Past research relied on inappropriate measures of officeholders' class backgrounds, attitudes, and choices. Using data on 18 Latin American legislatures, we show that lawmakers from different classes bring different economic attitudes to the legislative process. And using data on one least-likely case, we show that pre-voting decisions like sponsoring legislation often differ dramatically along social class lines, even when political parties control higher-visibility decisions like roll-call votes. The unequal numerical or descriptive representation of social classes in the world's legislatures has important consequences for the substantive representation of different class interests.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Social Stratification, Socialism/Marxism
  • Political Geography: 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
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Land distribution in Colombia is extremely unequal, with concentration of land ownership among the highest in the world, and second highest in Latin America after Paraguay. Inequality in access to land is closely linked to rural poverty, and is both a cause and a consequence of the internal armed conflict that has ravaged the country for more than half a century. During this period, violence and forced displacement have caused dispossession involving up to 8 million hectares – more than the area currently devoted to agriculture throughout the country.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Democratization, Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Richard Snyder, Maria Angelica Bautista, Angelica Duran-Martinez, Jazmin Sierra
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: How do international inequalities in funding, institutional support and research capacity affect the production of social science knowledge? New data on the political economy of research in Latin America shows that funding for social science is organized in sharply contrasting ways across countries, with three types of capital -- foreign, domestic public, and domestic private -- playing distinct roles. This cross-national variation in the role played by each type of capital, in turn, has contrasting consequences for (1) who produces knowledge, that is, for the professional credentials and networks needed to gain access to funding for research; and (2) for the kind of knowledge produced, especially for the comparative scope and policy relevance of research. A focus on cross-national variation in how social science is funded provides a stronger understanding of knowledge production in the Global South.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Colombia, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Richard Snyder, Kelly Bay, Cecilia Perla
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at 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: 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
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For too long, the United States and Europe have failed to embrace Latin America as a partner in a broader transatlantic community. Modern Latin America, like the United States, springs from a common European heritage and shares the historical, political, and philosophical roots that bind the West so closely together. The region is of growing strategic importance, with its expanding markets, energy resources, and global economic reach. But while Latin America is changing rapidly, the United States and Europe have been slow to sufficiently recognize and embrace this new world, missing crucial policy and business opportunities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: David J. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Mexico's Congress passed its final hurdle to reform the Constitution and allow for private investment in the energy industry on December 12, 2013. This significant achievement heralds the most comprehensive energy reform in the last seventy-five years of the country's history.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Guillermo Cruces, Leonardo Gasparini
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Latin American countries have succeeded in reducing poverty and income inequality over the last decade thanks in part to both economic growth and deliberate social policy measures. This study provides an overview of the available evidence of the changes in income distribution that have occurred in Latin America over the past two decades and their causes. While some attribute the improvements in distribution to changes in the international economy and the positive trend in the Latin American countries' terms of trade, others highlight the influence of changes in public policy. Both of these two sets of factors may have played an important role and may have interacted with one another in various ways.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Danilo Marcondes de Souza Neto
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The lingering effects of the eurozone crisis have weakened the European project as a whole. As a result, stronger and more effective cooperation between enthusiastic EU countries such as Poland and Spain is very much needed. Besides cooperation within the EU in such fields as completing the single market and promoting a more holistic approach to the European Neighbourhood Policy, both countries should focus on improving their economic ties in bilateral relations and beyond. Through "smart" trade triangulation, Poland could open new markets in Eastern Europe for Spain, and Spain could reciprocate by doing the same for Poland in Latin America. This could help Poland make the economy more competitive and give Spain a lever for economic recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: At the annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) held in Oslo, Norway on October 2-3, 2013, the forum reviewed and subsequently released its second report on members' experiences in the application of the Santiago Principles for sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). The Santiago Principles were adopted by a group of countries with such funds in September 2008 in response to concerns about threats to political, economic, and financial security in countries receiving SWF investments. The objective was to promote the transparency and accountability of SWFs for the countries of origin as well as the countries in which the funds were investing.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: Norway, Latin America, Santiago
  • 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: Deborah Elms, C. L. Lim
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement currently under negotiation between nine countries in three continents, including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam. In late 2011 three additional countries--Japan, Canada and Mexico--announced their intention to join as well. The TPP has always been called a "high quality, 21st century" agreement that covers a range of topics not always found in free trade agreements. This includes not just trade in goods, services and investment, but also intellectual property rights, government procurement, labor, environment, regulations, and small and medium enterprises. This paper traces the complex negotiations and evolution of the talks since the early 2000s to the present.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues, Intellectual Property/Copyright
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Malaysia, Canada, Israel, Vietnam, Latin America, Australia, Australia/Pacific, Mexico, Singapore, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, Brunei
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Carlos Montoro
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The financial systems in emerging market economies during the 2008–09 global financial crisis performed much better than in previous crisis episodes, albeit with significant differences across regions. For example, real credit growth in Asia and Latin America was less affected than in Central and Eastern Europe. This paper identifies the factors at both the country and the bank levels that contributed to the behavior of real credit growth in Latin America during the global financial crisis. The resilience of real credit during the crisis was highly related to policies, measures and reforms implemented in the pre-crisis period. In particular, we find that the best explanatory variables were those that gauged the economy's capacity to withstand an external financial shock. Key were balance sheet measures such as the economy's overall currency mismatches and external debt ratios (measuring either total debt or short-term debt). The quality of pre-crisis credit growth mattered as much as its rate of expansion. Credit expansions that preserved healthy balance sheet measures (the “quality” dimension) proved to be more sustainable. Variables signalling the capacity to set countercyclical monetary and fiscal policies during the crisis were also important determinants. Moreover, financial soundness characteristics of Latin American banks, such as capitalization, liquidity and bank efficiency, also played a role in explaining the dynamics of real credit during the crisis. We also found that foreign banks and banks which had expanded credit growth more before the crisis were also those that cut credit most. The methodology used in this paper includes the construction of indicators of resilience of real credit growth to adverse external shocks in a large number of emerging markets, not just in Latin America. As additional data become available, these indicators could be part of a set of analytical tools to assess how emerging market economies are preparing themselves to cope with the adverse effects of global financial turbulence on real credit growth.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Florencia Torche, Luis F. Lopez-Calva, Jamele Rigolini
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Middle class values have long been perceived as drivers of social cohesion and growth. In this paper we investigate the relation between class (measured by the position in the income distribution), values, and political orientations using comparable values surveys for six Latin American countries. We find that both a continuous measure of income and categorical measures of income-based class are robustly associated with values. Both income and class tend to display a similar association to values and political orientations as education, although differences persist in some important dimensions. Overall, we do not find strong evidence of any “middle class particularism”: values appear to gradually shift with income, and middle class values lay between the ones of poorer and richer classes. If any, the only peculiarity of middle class values is moderation. We also find changes in values across countries to be of much larger magnitude than the ones dictated by income, education and individual characteristics, suggesting that individual values vary primarily within bounds dictated by each society.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Social Stratification, Culture
  • 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: Theodore H. Moran, Julia Muir, Barbara Kotschwar
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's need for vast amounts of minerals to sustain its high economic growth rate has led Chinese investors to acquire stakes in natural resource companies, extend loans to mining and petroleum investors, and write long-term procurement contracts for oil and minerals in Africa, Latin America, Australia, Canada, and other resource-rich regions. These efforts to procure raw materials might be exacerbating the problems of strong demand; "locking up" natural resource supplies, gaining preferential access to available output, and extending control over the world's extractive industries. But Chinese investment need not have a zero-sum effect if Chinese procurement arrangements expand, diversify, and make more competitive the global supplier system. Previous Peterson Institute research (see Moran 2010) and new research undertaken in this paper, show that the majority of Chinese investments and procurement arrangements serve to help diversify and make more competitive the portion of the world natural resource base located in Latin America. For a more comprehensive analysis, the authors conduct a structured comparison of four Peruvian mines with foreign ownership: two Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-based, and two Chinese. They examine what conditions or policy measures are most effective in inducing Chinese investors to adopt international industry standards and best-practices, and which are not. They distill from this case study some lessons for other countries in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere that intend to use Chinese investment to develop their extractive sectors: first, that financial markets bring accountability; second, that the host country regulatory environment makes a significant difference; and third, that foreign investment is a catalyst for change.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Latin America, Australia
  • Author: Brandon Fite
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iran pursues cooperation with states on the geographic and strategic periphery of the competition between the US and Iran in order to create a network of diplomatic and economic relationships or “partners” that can lessen the blow of international sanctions and generally oppose Western attempts to constrict its ambitions. These peripheral “partners” located mainly in Africa and Latin America, also serve as alternative markets for Iranian oil, provide diplomatic cover for Iran's nuclear efforts, and aid Iran's acquisition of goods proscribed by international sanctions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iran, Latin America
  • Author: Juliana Martínez Franzoni, Diego Sánchez-Ancochea
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: How are universal social programs built in countries on the periphery, where resources are more limited and initial inequalities higher than any ever seen in OECD countries? Historically it has been very difficult, and even those countries that committed themselves to serious welfare efforts did so with stratified, rather than universal, transfers and services. Yet there have been some exceptions, and Costa Rica ranks among the most successful. The bottom-up expansion of social security, along income/class rather than occupational lines, was very important in the creation of a basic floor of benefits among the low and low-middle salaried population. Gradually, the middle and upper-middle groups were later on brought on board as well, in sharp contrast with the rest of the region where social insurance was shaped for and according to the preferences of various middle-class groups.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Malte Gephart
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: While the current international and transnational anti‐corruption campaign (ITACC) has been successful in calling worldwide attention to the topic, several critics have argued that the term “corruption” and the concepts that underlie it are ambiguous and that corruption and anti‐corruption have various meanings. This paper empirically explores these supposedly divergent meanings by comparing the ITACC with the anti‐corruption discourse in Paraguay. In order to explore not only the tensions but also possible coalitions between the ITACC and the Paraguayan discourse, I have conducted discourse analysis and constructionist interviews. The empirical exploration shows that differences, and thus tensions, exist between both levels with respect to the causes and effects attributed to corruption, as well as with regard to the ultimate goal of the fight against corruption. However, there also is a strong discourse coalition between the ITACC and Paraguay concerning concrete countermeasures, which indicates the dominance of the international anti‐corruption approach in the Latin American country. Very different actors with divergent understandings of corruption are able to act collectively against corruption via this discourse coalition, while still interpreting these actions according to their respective political agendas.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Government, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Arturo J. Galindo, Marielle del Valle
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A number of banks in developed countries argue that the new capital requirements under Basel III are too stringent and that implementing the proposed regulation would require raising large amounts of capital, with adverse consequences on credit and the cost of finance. In contrast, many emerging market economies claim that their systems are adequately capitalized and that they have no problems with implementing the new capital requirements. This paper conducts a detailed calculation of capital held by the banks in four Latin American countries—known as the Andean countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru—and assesses the potential effects of full compliance with the capital requirements under Basel III. The conclusions are positive and show that while capital would decline somewhat in these countries after they make adjustments to comply with the new definition of capital under Basel III, they would still meet the Basel III recommendations on capital requirements. More importantly, these countries would hold Tier capital to risk-weighted-asset ratios significantly above the 8.5 percent requirement under Basel III. That is, not only the quantity, but also the quality of capital is adequate in the countries under study. While encouraging, these results should not be taken as a panacea since the new regulations are only effective if coupled with appropriate risk management and supervision mechanisms to control the build-up of excessive risk-taking by banks. Further research into these areas is needed for a complete assessment of the strength of banks in the Andean countries.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia
  • 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: 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: Nancy Birdsall
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) database provides information about the carbon dioxide emissions, electricity production, corporate ownership, and location of more than 60,000 power plants in over 200 countries. Originally launched in 2007, CARMA is provided freely to the public at www.carma.org and remains the only comprehensive data source of its kind. This paper documents the methodology underpinning CARMA v3.0, released in July, 2012. Comparison of CARMA model output with reported data highlights the general difficulty of precisely predicting annual electricity generation for a given plant and year. Estimating the rate at which a plant emits CO2 (per unit of electricity generated) generally faces fewer obstacles. Ultimately, greater disclosure of plant-specific data is needed to overcome these limitations, particularly in major emitting countries like China, Russia, and Japan. For any given plant in CARMA v3.0, it is estimated that the reported value is within 20 percent of the actual value in 85 percent of cases for CO2 intensity, 75 percent for annual CO2 emissions, and 45 percent for annual electricity generation. CARMA's prediction models are shown to offer significantly better estimates than more naïve approaches to estimating plant-specific performance.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, America, Latin America
  • Author: Carlos Portales
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Caracas on 3 December 2011, locating it within the current context of cooperation and integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. This new body is based on an agreement that includes political cooperation functions and the task of seeking inter-governmental coordination of public policies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Pedro L. Rodríguez, José R. Morales, Francisco J. Monaldi
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Venezuela is a textbook example of a resource-dependent country—between 1950 and 2008, oil generated over a trillion dollars of income for the state. Nevertheless, Venezuela currently combines an economy that is stagnant, despite high oil prices, with an increasingly authoritarian government. The authors argue that large oil rents that accrue to the state, together with a lack of formal and transparent mechanisms to facilitate citizen oversight, are a large part of the problem. They consider the nature of the fiscal contract between the Venezuelan government and its people. This has been characterized by increasing discretion of the executive; only a small share of the rents is now subject to political oversight within the framework of the budgetary system. The authors consider the case for direct distribution of rents, distinguishing it from a populist approach to transfers as effected through Venezuela's misiones. They also report on focus group discussions of the directdistribution approach and the political viability of direct transfers.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Energy Policy, Government, Oil, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • 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: Fulvio Castellacci
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The paper presents an empirical analysis of the innovative activities of business groups in Latin America. It compares the innovativeness of group-affiliated firms (GAFs) and standalone firms (SAFs), and it investigates how country-specific institutional factors – financial, legal, and labor market institutions – affect the group-innovation relationship. The empirical analysis is based on the most recent wave of the World Bank Enterprise Survey (period 2010-2011), and it focuses on a sample of 6500 manufacturing firms across 20 Latin American countries. The econometric results point out two major conclusions. First, GAFs are more innovative than SAFs: we estimate the innovation propensity of GAFs to be 9% higher than that of SAFs. Secondly, across countries, the innovativeness of GAFs is higher for national economies with a better institutional system than for countries with a less efficient institutional set up.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Perrin Beatty, Andrés Rozental
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Both Canada and Mexico are recovering well from the global economic recession of 2008-2009, but must work harder to make their bilateral relationship work to their mutual benefit. Bilateral trade and investment have grown steadily from very low pre-North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) levels, but there remains enormous, untapped potential, particularly in Mexico. Student, tourist, investor and temporary worker exchanges are enhancing familiarity with each other, but unhelpful stereotypes remain common. New investment and trade opportunities should flow from the new Mexican administration's commitment to open up the energy sector to foreign participation. The assessment and recommendations contained in this special report point to the benefit of efforts that will intensify bilateral partnerships, not only in their own right, but also in strengthening the two countries' ability to deal more effectively with the United States in pursuing matters of mutual concern.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Latin America, North 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: Alexandra Starr
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Latino immigrant entrepreneurs are making important contributions to the U.S. economy. They have founded highly successful companies in the frozen food, construction, financial services, and high-tech industries. Many of these companies owe their success to cultural connections with Latin American markets abroad and U.S. Latino consumers at home—markets that are set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Small-scale Latino immigrant entrepreneurs, meanwhile, have helped revitalize city commercial strips and small-town Main Streets across the country.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Markets, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • 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: Christopher Sabatini
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Running down the list of the U.S. State Department's Latin America policy objectives in El País in September 2010, the economist Moisés Naím noted that they focused almost exclusively on domestic concerns: building democratic institutions, promoting local social and economic opportunity, and so forth. These issues were not only given a higher priority in policy toward Latin America than they were for other regions, but they were also issues largely beyond Washington's ability to control. Naím was correct, but the point can be taken further. The focus on politics within Latin American states rather than on relations between them is characteristic not simply of the State Department but also of the Latin American regional studies community in the United States more generally, from where the U.S. policy and advocacy community absorbs much of its personnel and intellectual orientation. Such attitudes have harmed U.S. policy by focusing excessive attention on small countries with little geostrategic influence and fostering the facile notion that political and economic liberalization are the necessary and sufficient criteria for the advancement of all major U.S. interests. This approach has distorted Washington's calculations of regional politics and hampered its ability to counter outside influences and deal sensibly with rising regional powers. U.S. scholars and policymakers need a reminder that development does not mean the end of politics and that twenty-first-century Latin America has its own, autonomous power dynamics. A little realism would go a long way. THAT '80S SHOW When it comes to Latin America, for decades U.S. universities and regional studies centers have focused almost exclusively on matters of comparative politics and political and economic development. In the 1970s and 1980s, the last time scholars paid much attention to the region's international relations, their chief concern was the workings and implications of U.S. hegemony. The issue facing both scholars and policymakers today, however, is what happens as U.S. power declines and new forces in the region emerge, and unfortunately, when it comes to these questions, there is little intellectual capital on which to draw.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Andrés Malamud, Gian Gardini
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since 1960, Latin American attempts at regionalism have undergone distinct phases. More notably, they have tended to diverge across space, gradually giving birth to separate blocs that seem to be tearing South, Central and North America apart. Additionally, within and across these regions several overlapping projects coexist. This article focuses on the dynamics of segmented and overlapping regionalism in order to describe what they look like, analyse how they articulate with one another, and explain why member states have pushed for such a messy outcome. This situation, linked to the evolution of the global context, might be indicating that regionalism in Latin America has reached its peak, beyond which it may be difficult to achieve further progress. Two conclusions are elicited: first, economic integration is becoming a geographically diffused phenomenon rather than a regional one; second, regionalism is still a compelling foreign policy but its causes, goals and outcomes are no longer what they used to be.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America
  • Author: Marco Pinfari
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since 1960, Latin American attempts at regionalism have undergone distinct phases. More notably, they have tended to diverge across space, gradually giving birth to separate blocs that seem to be tearing South, Central and North America apart. Additionally, within and across these regions several overlapping projects coexist. This article focuses on the dynamics of segmented and overlapping regionalism in order to describe what they look like, analyse how they articulate with one another, and explain why member states have pushed for such a messy outcome. This situation, linked to the evolution of the global context, might be indicating that regionalism in Latin America has reached its peak, beyond which it may be difficult to achieve further progress. Two conclusions are elicited: first, economic integration is becoming a geographically diffused phenomenon rather than a regional one; second, regionalism is still a compelling foreign policy but its causes, goals and outcomes are no longer what they used to be.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Libya, Arabia, Latin America, North Africa, Egypt, Tunisia
  • 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: Richard André, Ryan Berger, Nina Agrawal, Wilda Escarfuller
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Do more Indigenous and Afro-descendant representatives in national congresses make a difference?
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Peru
  • 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: José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: How does the region economically and politically reengage a generation?
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Juan Pablo Jiménez, Isabel López Azcúnaga
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: To continue improving economic equality, governments have to address their progressive and ineffective tax systems.
  • Topic: Economics, Reform
  • Political Geography: 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: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is a recent phenomenon. Although the China National Petroleum Corporation and other companies have been present in Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela since the early 1990s, large projects have been pursued only since 2006, following an extended period of high commodity prices. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that there were US$ 15 billion of Chinese FDI inflows into Latin America in 2010, 90% of which were in extractive industries. This further contributed to the already high percentage of Chinese FDI flows to the region that are in natural resources. At a time of high economic growth fueled by commodity exports and strong currency appreciation (particularly in Brazil), FDI into extractive industries strengthens the region's specialization in primary products at the expense of manufacturing and other activities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Latin America, Peru
  • 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: Michael Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: International narratives on Argentina's recovery from the crisis of 2001-02 tend to emphasize the role of rising commodity prices and growing demand from China. Argentina is said to have been 'lucky', saved by global demand for its agricultural exports. The international narrative has also been used by local agricultural exporters to justify their objections against higher export taxes during periods of high commodity prices. These narratives are not correct. Data on the country's recovery show that it was not led by agricultural exports but was fuelled by urban demand and production. When the Convertibility period ended and the peso was devalued in 2002, price increases for imports stimulated the production of domestic goods and services for consumers. This production in turn generated multiplier effects which supported small and medium-sized firms and helped to create many new jobs. This later produced a revival of the construction and then the manufacturing sectors as well.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Lissette Aliaga Linares
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Unlike in most Latin American cities, street vendors organized in farmers' markets popularly known as ferias libres in Santiago de Chile, gained legal recognition early in the twentieth century. Since then, comunas, or local municipalities, have provided vendors with individual licenses that stipulate the place and time of operations, and have defined a clear set of rules regarding customer service. However, this early legal recognition has not necessarily overcome the embedded conflict over the economic use of public space. As supermarkets become spatially positioned along the main streets within easy access of the city's transportation system, feriantes, or licensed street vendors, are being relocated in less profitable areas. Moreover, coleros, or unlicensed vendors, are still flourishing despite efforts to restrict their numbers.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Eduardo Lora, Andrew Powell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A growing number of cities around the world have established systems of monitoring the quality of urban life. Many of those systems combine objective and subjective information and attempt to cover a wide variety of topics. This paper introduces a simple method that takes advantage of both types of information and provides criteria to identify and rank the issues of potential importance for urban dwellers. The method combines the so-called 'hedonic price' and 'life satisfaction' approaches to value public goods. Pilot case results for six Latin American cities are summarized and policy applications are discussed.
  • Topic: Economics, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Elizabeth Stuart
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Economic growth in developing countries is desirable and necessary, but it is the distribution of that growth that matters for poverty reduction, rather than the pursuit of growth for its own sake.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Kate Kilpatrick
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In contrast to intensive agricultural practices that require widespread forest clearing, agroforestry systems combine tree growing with the production of other crops or animals. By promoting tree planting, biodiversity, and long-term resource husbandry, agroforestry can be an economically and environmentally sustainable option for small-scale farmers who are struggling to combat the impacts of climate change. For hungry and food-insecure communities, agroforestry creates more resilient agricultural systems where the risk of crop failure is spread between diverse crops.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Food
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Bolivia
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Nora Lustig, Darryl McLeod
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Latin America is known to have income inequality among the highest in the world. That inequality has been invoked to explain low growth, poor education, macroeconomic volatility, and political instability. But new research shows that inequality in the region is falling. In this paper we summarize recent findings on inequality, present and discuss an assessment of how the type of political regime matters and why, and investigate the relationship between changes in inequality and changes in the size of the middle class in the region. We conclude with some questions about whether and how changes in income distribution and in middle-class economic power will affect the politics of distribution in the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Carmen M. Reinhart, Nicolas E. Magud, Kenneth S. Rogoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The literature on capital controls has (at least) four very serious apples-to-oranges problems: (i) There is no unified theoretical framework to analyze the macroeconomic consequences of controls; (ii) there is significant heterogeneity across countries and time in the control measures implemented; (iii) there are multiple definitions of what constitutes a "success" and (iv) the empirical studies lack a common methodology-furthermore these are significantly "overweighted" by a couple of country cases (Chile and Malaysia). In this paper, we attempt to address some of these shortcomings by: being very explicit about what measures are construed as capital controls. Also, given that success is measured so differently across studies, we sought to "standardize" the results of over 30 empirical studies we summarize in this paper. The standardization was done by constructing two indices of capital controls: Capital Controls Effectiveness Index (CCE Index), and Weighted Capital Control Effectiveness Index (WCCE Index). The difference between them lies in that the WCCE controls for the differentiated degree of methodological rigor applied to draw conclusions in each of the considered papers. Inasmuch as possible, we bring to bear the experiences of less well known episodes than those of Chile and Malaysia. Then, using a portfolio balance approach we model the effects of imposing capital controls on short-term flows. We find that there should exist country-specific characteristics for capital controls to be effective. From this simple perspective, this rationalizes why some capital controls were effective and some were not. We also show that the equivalence in effects of price- vs. quantity-capital control are conditional on the level of short-term capital flows.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Samuel W. Bodman, James D. Wolfensohn, Julia E. Sweig
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Brazil has transcended its status as the largest and most resource-rich country in Latin America to now be counted among the world's pivotal powers. Brazil is not a conventional military power, it does not rival China or India in population or economic size, and it cannot match the geopolitical history of Russia. Still, how Brazil defines and projects its interests, a still-evolving process, is critical to understanding the character of the new multipolar and unpredictable global order.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Haubrich Seco
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In its external relations, the EU advances regional cooperation as a successful means of achieving peace and prosperity. In doing so, the EU promotes its own model as the most successful case of regional integration. A wide-reaching set of instruments, spanning from trade to political dialogue and aid, is used to promote regional cooperation and integration. Noneheless, regional organisations supported by the EU are far from accomplishing their set objectives. Using as a test case the Andean Community, the oldest Latin American regional organisation and a prominent case of EU support for regional integration, this paper examines the reasons behind the EU's lack of impact in promoting regional integration. Stemming from this analysis, the paper proposes a recalibration of EU policy by decoupling trade relations from political engagement and by increasing support for physical and visible integration as opposed to formal institutions detached from the perceived needs of the public.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Ana-María Poveda Garcés
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) from Colombia has increased considerably in the past decade, with its stock growing from US$ 3 billion in 2000 to US$ 23 billion in 2010. This growth reflects the internationalization of the Colombian economy following policy reforms and economic liberalization in the 1990s. The 2000s were characterized by enhanced national security and reforms to the investment framework that have attracted unprecedented levels of inward FDI and facilitated the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A considerable rise in domestic mergers and acquisitions (M) in the past decade has contributed to the development of Colombian multinational enterprises (MNEs) and to increased OFDI from Colombia. In 2010, outflows showed a twenty-fold increase from their value in 2000, including an increase in OFDI to export markets, helped by greater government support for OFDI, for example by the conclusion of more international investment agreements. The rise of Colombian MNEs, or "translatinas" (i.e. Latin American MNEs whose OFDI is primarily within Latin America), reflects Colombia's nascent structural transformation into a knowledge-based economy. Together with Chile and Peru, Colombia has recently created the first regionallyintegrated stock exchange in the region, the Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano (MILA), which is likely to facilitate FDI flows.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Jose Brambila-Macias, Isabella Massa, Matthew J. Salois
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In this paper, we use a mixed-effects trade gravity model on a sample of 83 developing countries over the period 1990-2007 to assess the impact of trade finance and foreign aid on bilateral export flows. In addition to traditional variables, we also include a banking crises variable and a global economic downturns variable among the regressors. Differences across developing regions are taken into account. Our results suggest that: (i) trade finance has a positive and significant impact on bilateral export flows in all developing regions except Latin America; (ii) foreign aid matters in all regions; (iii) global economic downturns exert a negative and significant impact on export flows in all developing countries, and especially in Latin American and Sub-Saharan African economies; (iv) banking crises appear to have no significant impact in most developing regions.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Aid, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Colin Bradford
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Reporting from 13 G20 countries reveals that, through the eyes of the national media, the euro crisis “overwhelmed,” “dominated,” “totally sidetracked” or “hijacked” the Cannes G20 Summit on Thursday night through Friday afternoon, November 4-5, 2011. Only Argentina seems to have been captivated by the bilateral meeting between US President Barack Obama and their leader, President Cristina Kirschner, to such a degree that it overshadowed the global preoccupation with the Greek debt crisis and its implications for the euro zone and the global economy. As she did at other G20 summits, Cristina Kirschner found a way to project her own priorities and portray them to the Argentine public through deliberate preparation with her cabinet beforehand and in regional consultations, and this also held true at her appearance at the B20 (G20 business summit) held just before the G20.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Alex Evans, David Steven
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The Rio 2012 summit on sustainable development is now one year away. Over two decades since the 1992 'Earth Summit', sustainable development has not materialized: as global GDP has risen, so have greenhouse gas emissions, species loss and environmental degradation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Environment, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Jewellord (Jojo) Nem Singh
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis
  • Abstract: In the most recent attempt of Latin America's primary intellectual hub to res-pond to the world-wide financial crisis, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) argued for the need to tackle 'growth with equity' as an organising principle of development strategies in the Americas. Crucially, this opens up two main discussions. Firstly, neoliberal economics, though a complex political project aimed at controlling inflation, curbing state inefficiency and addressing debt management via fiscal discipline, has failed to deliver its promise of economic development through unfettered market opening. After twenty years of reforms, uneven patterns of economic growth, sustained inequality, and environmental exploitation have been its key consequences for Latin American countries (CEPAL 2010: 17, 20, 53). Having said this, macroeconomic stabilisation policy has been widely adopted since the debt crisis, which successfully addressed fiscal disequilibria and is now considered a pillar of sound policymaking in the region and elsewhere. But as neoliberal reforms induced the eclipse of state activism, social inequality remains unaddressed, even in cases where sustained economic growth was occurring, specifically Chile whose growth hardly came together with social equality despite the rhetoric of its left-centre La Concertación governments. Equality, whether in terms of access to the market or to decision-making, does not come naturally with economic growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Eva Paus
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Economic success has left many countries unable to compete with either low-wage exporters or high-tech producers.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Latin America
  • Author: Raul Rivera
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Most people have grown used to thinking about Latin America as a region of marginal global importance: painfully poor, violent, politically and economically unstable and, to top it all, fragmented into some 20-odd countries, each one different from the other. So when Jerry Wind, founding editor of Wharton School Publishing, invited me to speak on Latin America at a Wharton conference aimed at senior U.S. executives, I wondered what a group of U.S. businesspeople would be interested to hear about the region. Who, after all, would want to do business in a place like that? But how accurate are those perceptions? As I prepared for my talk, my conclusion was: not much. Let's address the four principal myths about the region one by one. Myth 1: Latin America Really Does not Matter Economically To start, the territory of continental Latin America is larger than the U.S. and China combined, four times larger than the European Union, and seven times larger than India—a country roughly the size of Argentina. With almost every ecosystem represented, it is in fact the world's most biodiverse region, containing five of the world's ten most biodiverse countries. The region's bio-capacity (the biological productivity of the land measured in hectares per capita) is also larger than any other's. Witness the region's role in the global food chain: it is the largest producer of soybeans, coffee, sugar, bananas, orange juice, a leading fishmeal producer, and a major grain and meat exporter. Its mineral riches keep world industry running: silver, gold, copper, zinc, lead, tin, bismuth, molybdenum, rhenium, telurium, borium, strontium—you name it. And it produces one out of every six barrels of oil. In fact, much of the global community depends on Latin America's vast riches for its prosperity—indeed, for its survival. To that point: the Amazon basin plays a crucial role in the recycling of atmospheric carbon, absorbing one fourth of all global emissions. Latin America's population, now approaching 600 million, is twice that of the U.S. and significantly larger than the combined population of the European Union. Those numbers do not include some 50 million U.S. permanent residents and citizens who trace their origins back to the region (and keep close ties with it). By 2050, the region's population will have risen to an estimated 800 million. Latin America is not poor either. It boasts a per-capita GDP similar to the global average: $10,000. It is no richer or poorer than the rest of the world. In fact, 400 million people, or two-thirds of all Latin Americans, already belong to the global middle class, with their purchasing power fueling much of Latin America's growth. With some 200 million people still living in poverty, Latin America's poor are still numerous. But their ranks are declining fast, at a rate of 5 million a year over the past decade. As a result, its Gini coefficient improved by 10 percent between 2002 and 2008. In brief: the world's poor are now elsewhere—mainly in Asia and Africa. A population this large combined with average income levels have turned Latin America into the fourth largest economy in the world, with a regional GDP of some $6 trillion (purchasing power parity). That is larger than that of Russia and India's combined—larger, in fact, than that of any country or region other than the U.S., the EU and China. Not bad for a “region of marginal importance.” You could argue that Latin America's fragmentation into small, separate markets makes all the difference. But you would be wrong. As a result of the free-market reforms of the past decades, Latin America's economy is now the most open to trade in the developing world, with average tariffs down to 10 percent or less. Intraregional trade is booming. Most significantly, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have signed bilateral free-trade agreements (with both the EU and the U.S., though Colombia's is waiting for the U.S. Congress' approval). These agreements are giving rise to a free-trade zone of some 200 million consumers, larger than Brazil and fully open to global trade. Surprisingly, it does not yet have a name—or a space among the BRICs. It will, though. Let's name these four countries the L-4 for now...
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, India, Brazil, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Chile, Peru
  • Author: Saskia Sassen
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There is little doubt that the North-South axis remains dominant for Latin America's geopolitical positioning. But new relations are emerging and deepening at subnational levels, in turn creating new intercity geographies and challenging that geopolitical notion. These relations are a direct product of economic and cultural globalization. Some examples are the shift of migration from Ecuador and Colombia toward Spain rather than the U.S., the growing economic relations between Chinese businesses and organizations and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and the emergent relations between these cities and Johannesburg, South Africa. The Internet has allowed a rapidly growing number of people to become a part of diverse networks that crisscross the world. And nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from various parts of the world are establishing active connections over social struggles in Latin America. In other words, beneath the still-dominant North-South geopolitics, transversal geographies are growing in bits and pieces. One trend is the formation of intercity geographies as the number of global cities has expanded since the 1990s. These subnational circuits cut across the world in many directions. A second trend is the growth of civil society organizations and individuals who are connecting around the world in ways that, again, often do not follow the patterns of traditional geopolitics. The New, Multiple Circuits There is no such entity as the global economy. It is more correct to say there are global formations, such as electronic financial markets and firms that operate globally. But what defines the current era is the creation of numerous, highly particular, global circuits—some specialized and some not—interlacing across the world and connecting specific areas, most of which are cities. While many of these global circuits have long existed, they began to proliferate and establish increasingly complex organizational and financial foundations in the 1980s. These emergent intercity geographies function as an infrastructure for globalization, and have led to the increased urbanization of global networks. Different circuits contain different groups of countries and cities. For instance, Mumbai today is part of a global circuit for real estate development that includes investors from cities as diverse as London and Bogotá. Coffee is mostly produced in Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia, but the main place for trading its future is on Wall Street. The specialized circuits in gold, coffee, oil and other commodities each involve particular countries and cities, which will vary depending on whether they are production, trading or financial circuits. If, for example, we track the global circuits of gold as a financial instrument, it is London, New York, Chicago, and Zurich that dominate. But the wholesale trade in the metal brings São Paulo, Johannesburg and Sydney into the circuit, while trade in the commodity, much of it aimed at the retail level, adds Mumbai and Dubai. And then there are the types of circuits a firm such as Wal-Mart needs to outsource the production of vast amounts of goods—circuits that include manufacturing, trading, and financial and insurance services. The 250,000 multinationals in the world, together with their over 1 million affiliates and partnership arrangements worldwide, have created a new pattern of relations that combine global dispersal with the spatial concentration of certain functions often while retaining headquarters in their home countries. The same is true of the 100 top global advanced-services firms that together have operations in 350 cities outside their home base. While financial services can be bought everywhere electronically, the headquarters of leading global financial services firms tend to be concentrated in a limited number of cities. Each of these financial centers specializes in specific segments of global finance, even as they engage in routine types of transactions executed by all financial centers. It's not just global economic forces that feed this proliferation of circuits. Forces such as migration and cultural exchange, along with civil society struggles to protect human rights, preserve the environment and promote social justice, which also contribute to circuit formation and development. NGOs fighting for the protection of the rainforest function in circuits that include Brazil and Indonesia as homes of the major rainforests, the global media centers of New York and London, and the places where the key forestry companies selling and buying wood are headquartered—notably Oslo, London and Tokyo. There are even music circuits that connect specific areas of India with London, New York, Chicago, and Johannesburg. Adopting the perspective of one of these cities reveals the diversity and specificity of its location on some or many of these circuits, which is determined by its unique capabilities. Ultimately, being a global firm or market means entering the specificities and particularities of national economies. This explains why global firms and markets need more and more global cities as they expand their operations across the world. While there is competition among cities, there is far less of it than is usually assumed. A global firm does not want one global city, but many. Moreover, given the variable level of specialization of globalized firms, their preferred cities will vary. Firms thrive on the specialized differences of cities, and it is those differences that give a city its particular advantage in the global economy. Thus, the economic history of a place matters for the type of knowledge economy that a city or city-region ends up developing. This goes against the common view that globalization homogenizes economies. Globalization homogenizes standards—for managing, accounting, building state-of-the-art office districts, and so on. But it needs diverse specialized economic capabilities. Latin America on the Circuit This allows many of Latin America's cities to become part of global circuits. Some, such as São Paulo and Buenos Aires, are located on hundreds of such circuits, others just on a few. Regardless of the case, these cities are not necessarily competing with one other. The growing number of global cities, each specialized, signals a shift to a multipolar world. Clearly, the major Latin American cities have circuits that connect them directly to destinations across the world. What is perhaps most surprising is the intensity of connections with Asia and Europe. Traditional geopolitics would lead one to think that Latin America connects, above all, with North America. There is a strong tendency for global money flows to generate partial geographies. This becomes clear, for example, when we consider foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America, a disproportionate share of which goes to a handful of countries. In 2008, for example (a relative peak of FDI), FDI flows into Latin America were topped by Brazil at $45.1 billion, followed at a distance by Mexico at $23.7 billion, Chile at $15.2 billion, and Argentina with $9.7 billion. On average, between 1991–1996 and 2003–2008, FDI in Brazil increased more than five-fold while tripling in Chile and Mexico. Among the countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region receiving the lowest levels of foreign investment in 2008 were Haiti, at $30 million; Guyana, at $178 million; and Paraguay, at $109 million. Globalization and the new information and communication technologies have enabled a variety of local activists and organizations to enter international arenas that were once the exclusive domain of national states. Going global has also been partly facilitated and conditioned by the infrastructure of the global economy…
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, America, South Africa, London, Colombia, Latin America, Mumbai, Sydney, Ecuador, Dubai, Chicago
  • Author: Kevin P. Gallagher, Arturo Sarukhan, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kurt G. Weyland
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Do traditional models of international relations apply in Latin America?
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Simon Kuper
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Fans like their teams—but not necessarily the politicians who support them.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Lisa Delpy Neirotti, Jeffrey Bliss
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America