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  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Miguel Angel Santos
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: El Laboratorio de Crecimiento de la Universidad de Harvard, bajo el auspicio de la Fundación Gordon and Betty Moore, ha desarrollado esta investigación para identificar las capacidades productivas existentes en Loreto y las actividades económicas con potencial para liderar la transformación estructural de su economía. Este reporte forma parte de una investigación más amplia – Transformación estructural y restricciones limitantes a la prosperidad en Loreto, Perú – que busca aportar insumos para el desarrollo de políticas públicas a escala nacional y regional que contribuyan a promover el desarrollo productivo y la prosperidad de la región, tomando en cuenta sus características particulares.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Diversification, Economic Complexity
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Carlo Pietrobelli, Miguel Angel Santos
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The literature on income gaps between Chiapas and the rest of Mexico revolves around individual factors, such as education and ethnicity. Yet, twenty years after the Zapatista rebellion, the schooling gap between Chiapas and the other Mexican entities has shrunk while the income gap has widened, and we find no evidence indicating that Chiapas indigenes are worse-off than their likes elsewhere in Mexico. We explore a different hypothesis. Based on census data, we calculate the economic complexity index, a measure of the knowledge agglomeration embedded in the economic activities at a municipal level in Mexico. Economic complexity explains a larger fraction of the income gap than any individual factor. Our results suggest that chiapanecos are not the problem, the problem is Chiapas. These results hold when we extend our analysis to Mexico’s thirty-one federal entities, suggesting that place-specific determinants that have been overlooked in both the literature and policy, have a key role in the determination of income gaps.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Migration, Political Economy, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico, Chiapas
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Miguel Angel Santos, Juan Obach
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This report aims to summarize the main findings of the project as gathered by the three baseline documents, and frame them within a coherent set of policy recommendations that can help Panama to maintain their growth momentum in time and make it more inclusive. Three elements stand out as cornerstones of our proposal: (i) attracting and retaining qualified human capital; (ii) maximizing the diffusion of know-how and knowledge spillovers, and (iii) leveraging on public-private dialog to tackle coordination problems that are hindering economic activity outside the Panama-Colón axis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Economic Growth, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Central America, Panama
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Luis Espinoza, Miguel Angel Santos
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Leveraging on the Canal, Panama has a developed a major comparative advantage in the exportable services sector. In turn, the stellar growth in this sector has spurred the demand for construction, which has been key to promote upward social mobility and increase labor productivity. But there are signs that this sector is receding, incapable of sustaining growth rates that are higher than the rest of the economy. This threatens to undo some of the progress made in terms of reducing income inequality and poverty in the country, and have the potential to stir social unrest. To face these new challenges, Panama must increase its stock of human capital by improving the quality of education, which is among the lowest in the world. Meanwhile, the country must open up to high-skilled immigration by removing harmful restrictions. To fully profit from immigration, it is equally important to maximize the diffusion of these skills and promote know- how spill overs through adequate policy. Finally, Panama must strengthen its institutions and reduce red tape and corruption, which most firms currently consider the most binding constraint to growth.
  • Topic: Development, Immigration, Infrastructure, Economic Growth, Institutions, Human Capital
  • Political Geography: Central America, Panama
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Jose Ramon Morales, Miguel Angel Santos
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: The economy of Panama has thrived for more than a decade, based on a modern service sector on the activities surrounding the Canal. Panama has inserted its economy into global value chains, providing competitive services in logistics, ship handling, financial intermediation, insurance, communication and trade. The expansion of the modern service sector required significant non-residential construction, including office buildings, commercial outlets, warehouses, and even shopping malls. Large public infrastructure projects such as the expansion of the Canal, the Metro, and Tocumen airport, have provided an additional drive and paved the road for productive diversification. But productive diversification does not spread randomly. A country diversifies towards activities that demand similar capacities than the ones already in place. Current capabilities and know-how can be recombined and redeployed into new, adjacent activities, of higher value added. This report identifies productive capabilities already in place in Panama, as signaled by the variety and ubiquity of products and services that is already able to manufacture and provide competitively. Once there, we move on to identifying opportunities for productive diversification based on technological proximity. As a result, we provide a roadmap for potential diversification opportunities both at the national and sub-national level.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Economic Growth, Diversification
  • Political Geography: Central America, Panama
  • Author: Ricardo Hausmann, Timothy Cheston, Miguel Angel Santos, Carlo Pietrobelli
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the Zapatista revolution of January 1994, enormous amount of resources coming from the federal government have poured over Chiapas. The gap in years and quality of education has been reduced significantly; and road, port and airport infrastructure have undergone a dramatic transformation. And yet, the income gap between Chiapas and the rest of Mexico has only widened. To understand why, a multi-disciplinary team of twelve experts have devoted significant time and resources to study different aspects of the development dynamic of Chiapas. As a result, 5 base documents have been published analyzing Chiapas: Complexity profile, Growth Diagnostic, Institutional Diagnostic, Poverty profile, and Pilot of productive dialogs and inclusive growth in an indigenous community. This report resumes the findings from these and articulates their corresponding recommendations into a policy plan. According to our hypothesis, Chiapas is wedged in a low productivity trap. A modern production system, responsible for productivity increases, income and development elsewhere in the world, requires a number of complementary inputs or capacities that are absent in Chiapas. As a result, its economy consists of a few primary products of little or no technological sophistication, and a vibrant service industry fueled by public expenditure in its larger cities. In this situation, there are no incentives to acquire additional education or skills because there is no demand for them in the economy. As we have proved, the few that manage to emigrate earn salaries elsewhere in Mexico slightly above other migrants with similar qualifications. As it turns out, it is not about the Chiapanecos, it is about Chiapas. To overcome the current dilemmas and spark the engine of growth, Chiapas needs to resolve its issues of coordination, connectivity and gradually promote economic activities of higher complexity. Yazaki, one of the few manufacturers present in Chiapas, is an example of the role of the state in helping the economy to overcome the chicken-and-egg dilemmas, providing the public goods required - in an initial push – by a more complex economy. Our recommendations are based in identifying the productive capabilities embedded within the current productive structure of Chiapas four largest urban agglomerations, and leveraging on them to board on different potential, more complex industries that use a similar base of knowledge. To conquer those industries and diversify its economy, Chiapas needs a public-private agency empowered to iteratively solve the issues and bottlenecks these potential industries face in each particular place. Public transport and housing policy can be used as means to incorporating the surrounding communities into the increasingly modern economies of urban centers. Special economic zones and agro-industrial parks can be used to spur productivity in those areas where labor and appropriability are the most binding constrains.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Infrastructure, Income Inequality, Economic Growth, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico, Chiapas