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  • Author: Diego Sánchez-Ancochea
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of income inequality in Latin America over the long run, comparing them with explanations of why the whole region is unequal. I first show how land inequality can account for differences between Latin America and other parts of the world but how it does not explain within-region differences. Using qualitative comparative analysis, I then consider how political institution and actors interact with the economic structure (i.e., type of export specialization) and with the ethnic composition of the population. The paper has several findings. A low indigenous/afrodescendant population is a necessary condition for relatively low inequality. I identify two sufficient-condition paths, both of which include the role of democracy, political equality, and a small indigenous and afrodescendant population. The first path also includes a favorable export specialization, while the second one includes the presence of leftist presidents instead. The paper calls for more explicit comparisons between our analytical models for the whole region and our explanations of between-country differences. Hopefully, the paper can also trigger more research on how the interactions between ethnicity, politics, and the export structure shape inequality in Latin America.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Political Economy, Poverty, Race, Social Movement, Democracy, Inequality, Ethnicity
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Natalia Garbiras-Díaz, Miguel García-Sánchez, Aila M. Matanock
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Citizens are often asked to evaluate peace agreements seeking to end civil conflicts, by voting on referendums or the negotiating leaders or, even when not voting, deciding whether to cooperate with the implementation of policies like combatant reintegration. In this paper, we assess how citizens form attitudes towards the provisions in peace agreements. These contexts tend to have high polarization, and citizens are asked to weigh in on complex policies, so we theorize that citizens will use cues from political elites with whom they have affinity, and, without these cues, information will have less effect. We assess our theory using survey experiments in Colombia. We find citizens rely on political elites’ cues to form their opinion on a peace agreement’s provisions, with the direction depending on the citizen’s affinity with the political elites. Additional information about these policies has little effect. The paper suggests that even these high stakes decisions can be seen as political decisions as usual.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Citizenship, Conflict, Peace, Elites
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Jorge Ignacio Del Castillo Machicado
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD)
  • Abstract: This article researches on the evolution of the business regulatory framework of Bolivia from 2006 to 2017 and its relationship with the country’s Labor productivity, Total Factor Productivity, and its Informal Economy size. To do this, it analyzes the Doing Business annual reports and standardizes each year overall score to the most recent methodology developed by the World Bank Group. Furthermore, it complements its finding with qualitative data through semi-structured interviews to key actors in the Bolivian economy. Overall, this paper finds that few steps have been taken to improve Bolivia’s Business regulatory framework from the period of 2006-2017, result in a lower rank in the Doing Business report and keeping its score constant. The lack of initiative in working towards more efficient policies, complex nature and poor adaptability of new technological practices have stagnated the improvements of business regulations along their lifecycles. As a consequence, Bolivia Total Factor Productivity, Informal Economy size and Labor productivity have shown no improvement over the last 10 years.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, World Bank, Regulation, Business
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Bolivia
  • Author: Miguel Jaramillo, Hugo Nopo
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE)
  • Abstract: Latin America is currently suffering from two independent but related shocks: the impact of COVID-19 and the shock of commodity prices. Peru, we argue, is a case in which the strongest impact comes from the pandemic. Peru was the first country in Latin America to react and implement sanitary and economic measures against the coronavirus. The country has been in mandatory quarantine since Monday, March 16. This carries very important challenges for all economic actors. Global and national activity has suffered a sudden stop with direct implications for: (i) the income generating capacity of independent workers, (ii) the jobs of formal and informal and informal workers, and (iii) the survival of small, medium and large companies. In this note we consider the situation of Peruvian households in the face of the pandemic, exploring their vulnerabilities through an analysis of their main source of income generation: work. We also consider the situation of the companies that employ the workers under analysis. We present an overview of what the government’s main action have been so far and offer some recommendations.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Economic Policy, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Lisa Viscidi
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: 2019 has been marked by widespread uprisings throughout Latin America. In the last few months, protests have erupted in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, while Argentina elected a new leader, Bolivia’s president resigned following growing tensions with his political opponents and the military, and Peru’s leader is facing a political crisis. Largely fuelled by anger over graft, economic disparity, and the rising cost of living, the resulting social unrest has led to uncertainty over the energy sector outlook. Continued political and social turbulence will likely contribute to stagnant oil and gas production growth in these countries. Conversely, Brazil and Guyana are on track to become the region’s largest oil producers. In Brazil, pre-salt reserves have been attracting foreign investment, although further market-friendly reforms will need to be made to sustain development. Guyana, for its part, is in line to become the region’s newest petrostate and will see explosive economic growth in the coming years. Despite its large reserves, Venezuela is excluded from this study because the country’s political and economic turmoil, coupled with US sanctions, make any increase in investment highly unlikely in the short term. Paper prepared in the framework of the IAI-Eni Strategic Partnership, December 2019.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources, Gas, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: José De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Many emerging-market economies have adopted inflation targeting regimes since they were introduced by New Zealand in 1990. Latin America has not been the exception. Currently eight Latin American countries conduct monetary policy through inflation targeting regimes: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. This paper reviews the history of chronic inflation in Latin America and describes these countries’ experience with inflation targets and their performance during the global financial crisis.
  • Topic: Markets, Developing World, Economies, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Latin America, Central America, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Paraguay
  • Author: Peter G. Johannessen
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Do voters use a candidate’s class as an electoral heuristic? And if so, how? Drawing on observational and experimental evidence from Brazil’s local elections (2004–2016), I provide evidence that voters use shared class to draw inferences about a candidate’s type: candidates from different classes receive similar overall levels of support, but receive disproportionate support from voters who share their class. The mechanisms driving this finding vary by a voter’s relative class position: upper-class voters use shared class to draw inferences about a candidate’s quality, trustworthiness, and distributive commitments, but lower-class voters only use shared class to draw inferences about a candidate’s trustworthiness and distributive commitments.
  • Topic: Politics, Poverty, Democracy, Inequality, Citizenship, Identities
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Anuschka Álvarez von Gustedt, Susanne Gratius
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: Are populism and social cohesion two sides of the same coin, or antagonistic concepts? In deeply divided Latin American societies, populism and discourses from the left have repeatedly promised inclusion and welfare programs under a strong leader who gives voice to the poor and marginalized. At first glance, however, results are ambiguous. The recent wave of left-wing populism in Latin America --from Hugo Chávez in 1999 to Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2019 - show a mixed record of social inclusion or –in a term we will use here - social cohesion. Bolivia under Evo Morales (2006-2019), for example, improved all social indicators compared to former governments, while the severe political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela illustrates how populism and its welfare policies may lead to potentially disastrous consequences. The paper is organized as follows: In the first section, we provide a short overview of current political and academic debates on populism and social cohesion, as well as their relationship. The objective here is to identify a minimal definition of both concepts. In the second part, we develop a series of indicators to compare the social record of five Latin American case-studies where leftist leaders with state-centric discourses promised justice and welfare for the poor. From this comparative perspective, the third part of the document explores the causes that led to the rise of leftist populism between 1999 and 2018 in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela, as well as the social discourse and track record of populist governments. This analysis is based on indicators developed from the broad literature on social cohesion.
  • Topic: Socialism/Marxism, Populism, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia
  • Author: Slobodan Pajovic
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of 2019, Venezuela has been in the focus of international politics because of its political and institutional crisis, together with its economic and social collapse generated in 2013, transformed into a regional and international crisis. The exit of some estimated three to four million emigrants mostly to neighboring countries of human rights and democratic values, the authoritarian regime of socialist orientation, the current American strategy of strengthening its political and strategic influence in Latin America, the presence of significant non- regional emerging global factors, as well as the cyclical changes of political parties in power in this part of the world. Accordingly, this crisis tests the hemispheric and global leadership of has additionally deepened the contexts of theUS, the influences of emerging global powers the regional crisis including also the security aspect. In short, the crisis can be described as oscillating between the issues of defense like China, Russia, India or Turkey, recently, and the potential of Latin American regionalism and political consensus.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Venezuela, North America
  • Author: Maciej Bałtowski, Piotr Kozarzewski
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The paper discusses the role of the state in shaping an economic system which is, in line with the welfare economics approach, capable of performing socially important functions and achieving socially desirable results. We describe this system through a set of indexes: the IHDI, the World Happiness Index, and the Satisfaction of Life index. The characteris-tics of the state are analyzed using a set of variables which describe both the quantitative (government size, various types of governmental expenditures, and regulatory burden) and qualitative (institutional setup and property rights protection) aspects of its functioning. The study examines the “old” and “new” member states of the European Union, the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe and Asia, and the economies of Latin America. The main conclusion of the research is that the institutional quality of the state seems to be the most important for creation of a socially effective economic system, while the level of state interventionism plays, at most, a secondary and often negligible role. Geographical differentiation is also discovered, as well as the lack of a direct correlation between the characteristics of an economic system and the subjective feeling of well-being. These re-sults may corroborate the neo-institutionalist hypothesis that noneconomic factors, such as historical, institutional, cultural, and even genetic factors, may play an important role in making the economic system capable to perform its tasks; this remains an area for future research.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economy, Economic growth, State, Economic Policy, Institutions, Trade, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, European Union