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Experts discuss methods to measure the economic costs of violence in Latin America and the Caribbean at IDB meeting

International experts met at the Inter-American Development Bank to analyze approaches and methodologies to better measure the economic costs of violence and crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Violence and crime are major public policy challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, and timely and consistent data series on the economic costs and repercussions are critical to strategies aimed at prevention and control,” said Marco Ferroni, IDB Sustainable Development Department Deputy Manager.

 “Good economic data are needed for the IDB's dialogue with member countries, for diagnostic work underpinning the setting of policy priorities and the choice of alternative courses of action and also for project design,” added IDB Senior Specialist Gustavo Béliz. 

Participants in the event on May 29 discussed the conceptual and methodological difficulties involved in assessing this complex phenomenon. The case of Brazil was presented by Alexandre Carvalho (IPEA) with the 2007 report "The Cost of Deaths by External Causes in Brazil".

Mauricio Rubio, author of the IDB study "The economic cost of violence: A critique of the current economic approach", presented the new methodological approaches. Hugh Waters of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, United States, focused on the cost/benefit approach and analysis of the economic impact of interventions based on the World Health Organization report "The Economic Dimensions of Interpersonal Violence."

Also participating in the discussion were Leandro Piquet Carneira of the John Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Alberto Concha Eatsman of the Pan American Health Organization; Eduardo Lora, Acting Manager of the IDB Research Department; and Gabriela Vega, Chief of the IDB Gender and Equality Unit.

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