LATEST OPINION PIECES
When competition from abroad inflicts severe shocks on a country’s firms, the headlines are often about failing businesses and job losses. The shocks may come from different sources: trade reforms, competition from a foreign manufacturing powerhouse, or the entry of big retail chains from abroad. Although the trade shock is likely to bring a number […]
The post How Labor Markets Adjust to Import Competition appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Between 1991 and 2010, millions of Brazilians migrated from rural to urban areas, many of them because of the effect of increasing drought brought on by climate change. This migration has had effects not only on wages and employment, but also on the closely-related urban housing market. We decided to examine the phenomena in a […]
The post Climate Change, Migration and the Urban Housing and Labor Markets appeared first on Ideas Matter.
There are few things more important for children to master than literacy: the skills of reading and writing that enable them to learn other subjects, participate politically, protect their health, and enter the labor market with promising prospects. Yet about 20 percent of the global adult population is illiterate, and in Latin America, two-thirds of […]
The post The Cost-Effectiveness of Early Interventions appeared first on Ideas Matter.
We all remember a favorite teacher from school, often a teacher who taught us to read and write and introduced us to the world of literacy. Literacy, after all, is part of the journey to knowledge in all subjects, and is crucial for our future health, political participation, and professional success. It is hardly surprising […]
The post Teaching Teachers to Boost Early Literacy appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Studies in recent years have documented the detrimental effects that low-achieving students can have on the academic performance of their classmates. This is of concern everywhere, but particularly so in Latin America and the Caribbean where test results for reading, math, and science lag considerably behind those of OECD countries and where most students need […]
The post How Improving the Performance of Weaker Students Benefits All Students appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The story of migration in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 20th and early 21st century is one of a mass exodus from rural areas to cities. Less than half of the population in the region lived in the cities in 1960. By 2016 that had soared above 80%. The motivations behind this mass […]
The post What Drives Rural Migration in Latin American and the Caribbean? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Tens of millions of children across Latin America and the Caribbean will be returning to school in 2021 and 2022, handicapped by learning losses from COVID-19 shutdowns that have lasted longer than in any other region of the world. Very young children, those from vulnerable and rural households, and those with learning difficulties, will face […]
The post Boosting Literacy Amid the Educational Crisis of COVID-19 appeared first on Ideas Matter.
We’ve all known kids who joke around in class, get up to mischief, and even skip school altogether, yet manage to ultimately thrive. But they are glaring exceptions. Classroom misbehavior and absenteeism, along with failing grades, are strong warning signs that a student is likely to repeat a grade or give up on school altogether […]
The post Text Messaging Parents to Boost Student Performance appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Telemedicine—the delivery of medical services through electronic means of communication—is potentially transformative, mitigating transportation problems, bringing care to rural communities and decreasing waiting times and medical costs. But its adoption in Latin America has been slow. Insufficient communication infrastructure and status quo biases, among other factors, have hampered its use. Regulation has not caught up. […]
The post COVID-19 and the Rise of Telemedicine appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Nearly a million people have died of COVID-19 in Latin America so far, and the region is still struggling to get enough vaccine supply to protect the lives of its citizens. While Chile has fully vaccinated around 40% of its population, roughly comparable to the United States, only between 9% and 18% have received their […]
The post Ensuring Demand for COVID-19 Vaccinations appeared first on Ideas Matter.
It is often noted that Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws is the book that sets forth the concept of branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. Through his influence on the French liberals, Montesquieu is one of the key figures of the 1789 French Revolution, whose cry was “Freedom, Equality, Fraternity.” There is, however, […]
The post Montesquieu’s Mistake, or Why Inequality Doesn’t Have to Be Part of the Latin American DNA appeared first on Ideas Matter.
It is tempting to view the severe economic downturn of the Covid-19 pandemic through the same lens as other recessions that have struck Latin American and the Caribbean over the last three decades. Most of those previous events, after all, led to increases in poverty and unemployment, much as the current crisis has done. But […]
The post Not the Usual Recession: Why Inequality after Covid-19 May Get a Lot Worse appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The last quarter of 2019 shocked Latin America with massive demonstrations on the streets of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and other countries. Protesters had many demands, but there was a common theme: equal treatment, better opportunities for all, and a more level playing field. Why did these perfectly valid demands erupt like a volcano after two […]
The post Understanding Social Unrest in Latin America appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the world’s most unequal region, after sub-Saharan Africa, and income inequality there is getting worse as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the expected long-term effects of the pandemic, inequality is likely to continue worsening for many years to come if the right policies are not put […]
The post Combating Inequality in the Covid-19 Era appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Few measures could be more important during the current Covid-19 pandemic than ensuring that the poor and vulnerable can eat, buy medicine and pay for other basic needs as they endure a months-long shutdown essential to protecting public health. But in Latin America where about half the population works in the informal economy, that is […]
The post Covid-19: The Challenge of Ensuring Assistance to Informal and Vulnerable Workers appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Schools are closed in Latin America. Around 154 million children between the ages of 5 and 18 are at home instead of in class. It is not clear how long these closures will last, and there is a good reason for that: Schools provide a perfect environment for the spread of viruses. Students are typically […]
The post Pandemic and Inequality: How Much Human Capital Is Lost When Schools Close? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
With more than a million people infected and tens of thousands of deaths around the world, governments are taking extreme but necessary measures to contain the coronavirus, prioritizing in almost all cases some form of social isolation or distancing. But the economic costs for everyone are not the same. The disease lays bare societies’ inequalities, […]
The post Social Distancing, Informality, and the Problem of Inequality appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer hits close to home for several reasons. First, in bringing “an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty,” as the Nobel committee said in its Oct. 14 announcement of the prize, these distinguished economists have changed the way we […]
The post A Nobel Prize for Development: A Look From Inside the IDB appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Since the mid-1990s, governments in Latin America have used conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to reduce poverty, improve health, and boost school enrollment for tens of millions of people. But like any social program that increases income and hence demand, CCTs pose their own risks if they allow for goods and services to be purchased in […]
The post Promoting Competition to Boost Welfare Through Social Programs appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Policymakers have long accepted the central role of innovation in spurring aggregate productivity and growth. They have looked at the arrival of new systems of organization and new technologies, from the steam engine to electricity and the internet, as catalysts to material progress in the modern age. But in doing so, they may have underestimated […]
The post When an Excess of Small Firms Hurts Productivity appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Over the last 25 years, Latin American and Caribbean nations have bet heavily on education as a route to more equitable and prosperous societies. Today, the region spends on average 3 percentage points more of its GDP on education than in the early 1990s, with spending fast approaching levels in the developed world. Enrollment in […]
The post Latin America, the Caribbean and PISA: The Long Road Ahead appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Higher education in Latin America has achieved some impressive gains over the past quarter century. An elite system consisting of at most a few dozen traditional universities in each country has radically transformed to include hundreds of new professional institutes, technical and vocational schools. At the same time, enrollment has soared. Between 1992 and 2012, […]
The post When Information on Higher Education Narrows the Skills Gap appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Over the last 25 years, Latin America has ramped up investment in education in a full-fledged effort to reduce poverty and spur economic growth. Today, primary school attendance is nearly universal, with three out of four children finishing primary school on time. At the secondary school level, meanwhile, the rate of on-time graduation has soared […]
The post Keeping Kids in School appeared first on Ideas Matter.
After his visit to Argentina last week, Barack Obama posted on Facebook a picture of a beautiful landscape in Patagonia where he went trekking along glacial lakes, as an example of what he called “exactly the kind of place we need to protect for our kids, and for their kids.” Climate change is high on […]
The post Take Obama’s Advice on Climate Change: Droughts Are Hurting Latin America appeared first on Ideas Matter.
By: Matias Busso and Julian Cristia Take a moment to recall the last time you forgot someone’s birthday. When was the last time you were at the grocery store and forgot that one crucial ingredient for dinner? How many times have you been locked out in the past year? A good memory is undoubtedly important for […]
The post Did You Get Your Shots? In Rural Communities in Guatemala a Simple Reminder Improved Health appeared first on Ideas Matter.
By Marina Bassi and Matias Busso Each year tens of thousands of young Latin Americans drop out of school to take low-skilled jobs. The low-level of graduation, with less than 50% of 24-year-olds having completed secondary school, is not only a stumbling block for individuals destined to lives of menial labor. It is a drag on the region’s […]
The post How to Keep Kids in School appeared first on Ideas Matter.