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Development in the Americas (DIA)

IDB Flagship Publication

Beyond Facts. Understanding Quality of Life


Published: November 2008

Language: English

Download file in:
English Spanish

Related topics:
Poverty Reduction and Labor

Buy the book at


  • Spanish versions


Traditionally, the concept of quality of life has been viewed through objective indicators. Beyond Facts looks at quality of life through a new lens, namely, the perceptions of millions of Latin Americans. Using an enhanced version of the recently created Gallup World Poll that incorporates Latin America-specific questions, the Inter-American Development Bank surveyed people from throughout the region and found that perceptions of quality of life are often very different from the reality. These surprising findings have enormous significance for the political economy of the region and provide a wealth of information for policymakers and development practitioners to feast upon. Download the Executive Summary in English or Spanish.

Previous editions of Development in the Americas (DIA):

Previous editions of the Economic and Social Progress Report (IPES):

  • 2008
    Outsiders? The Changing Patterns of Exclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean

    This report raises a number of fundamental questions about the multidimensional and interrelated nature of social exclusion and moves beyond the traditional emphasis on outcomes and groups to view exclusion as a process that results from societal traits that limit the functionings of the excluded.
  • 2007
    Living with Debt: How to Limit the Risks of Sovereign Finance

    This report analyzes the nature and evolution of sovereign debt in Latin America and discusses the policies that can be followed by countries and international financial institutions (IFIs) to reduce the vulnerabilities associated with it.
  • 2006
    The Politics of Policies

    Certain simple ideas can help to mobilize society, but they are rarely sufficient for understanding the processes of fundamental change. Sadly, there are no shortcuts to the Promised Land of sustainable development and prosperity for all.
  • 2005
    Unlocking Credit:
    The Quest for Deep and Stable Bank Lending

    Unfortunately, credit is scarce, expensive, and volatile. Without deep and stable credit markets, it will be very difficult for the region to achieve high and sustainable growth rates and combat poverty.
  • 2004
    Good Jobs Wanted: Labor Markets in Latin America

    Topics of the Report include the employer-worker dynamic, the new profile of the supply of labor, the impact of structural reforms, and the role of technology and institutions.
  • 2002
    Beyond Borders:
    The New Regionalism in Latin America

    It focuses on current subregional integration schemes, the new agenda launched in Doha for multilateral trade talks, regional initiatives, and interregional agreements between countries in the region and the European Union.
  • 2001
    Competitiveness: The Business of Growth

    This report provides guidelines to increase productivity and improve access by businesses to productive resources.
  • 2000
    Development Beyond Economics

    This report examines three entrenched structural factors -demography, geography and institutions- that are closely connected to economic and social development.
  • 1998-1999
    Facing Up to Inequality in Latin America

    Latin America in the 1990s remains the most unequal region in the world in terms of income distribution. Yet because of its changing demographics the region now has a unique window of opportunity to reduce the income gap by accelerating the development process, putting people to work, improving education, and saving for the future.
  • 1997
    Latin America After a Decade of Reforms

    This report examines the complex forces that have shaped the reform process and assesses the challenges ahead to sustain economic growth, prevent instability, improve income distribution, and foster participation in public decisionmaking.
  • 1996
    Making Social Services Work

    The 1996 Report on Economic and Social Report in Latin America interprets these macroeconomic developments in light of structural reforms implemented across the region over the past decade.

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