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Latin America faces old and new development challenges. While, over the last two decades, some countries have implemented solid macroeconomic policies and many have improved their financial regulatory and supervisory frameworks, large segments of the population have not reaped the benefits from economic growth. The COVID-19 crisis has only made things worse—poverty reduction is expected to suffer a setback of more than 10 years and inequality continues to rise.
Structural problems, including very low productivity, the substantial size of the informal economy and the lowest savings rate in the emerging world, remain unsolved. Novel issues, like the migration from Venezuela, or the health and economic challenges that COVID-19 brings about add further pressure to weak social and political consensus—and the looming risk of a financial crisis persists.
CGD’s Latin America Initiative provides sound analysis on these issues and advances recommendations to policymakers and multilateral organizations to support the effort of overcoming these challenges to climb the development ladder and reach shared prosperity.
América Latina afronta, al mismo tiempo, nuevos y viejos desafíos en materia de desarrollo. Aunque, en las últimas dos décadas, algunos países han implementado políticas macroeconómicas sólidas y han mejorado sus marcos regulatorios y de supervisión, amplios segmentos de la población no se han beneficiado del crecimiento económico. La crisis de la COVID-19 solo ha empeorado las cosas: se espera un retroceso de más de 10 años en materia de reducción de la pobreza y la desigualdad continúa aumentando.
Problemas estructurales, como la muy baja productividad, el gran tamaño de la economía informal y los niveles de ahorro más bajos en el mundo emergente, continúan sin resolverse. Nuevos temas, como la migración venezolana o los desafíos sanitarios y económicos generados por la COVID-19, ejercen aun mayor presión sobre un débil consenso social y político. Además, continúa existiendo la amenaza de una crisis financiera.
La Iniciativa Latinoamericana de CGD busca analizar estos temas y proponer recomendaciones que apoyen los esfuerzos de los formuladores de políticas y los organismos multilaterales para avanzar en el proceso de desarrollo de la región y lograr una prosperidad compartida.
We report a small-sample, preliminary evaluation of the economic impact of temporary overseas work by Haitian agricultural workers. We find that the effects of matching new seasonal agricultural jobs in the US with Haitian workers differs markedly from the effects of more traditional forms of assistance to Haiti, in three ways: The economic benefits are shared roughly equally between Haiti and the United States; these benefits are very large, including raising the value of Haitian workers’ labor by a multiple of fifteen; and the portion of the benefits accruing to Haiti is uncommonly well-targeted for the direct benefit of poor Haitian households.
Does foreign military assistance strengthen or further weaken fragile states facing internal conflict? In a new working paper, CGD post-doctoral fellow Oeindrila Dube and co-author Suresh Naidu find that U.S. military assistance to Colombia may increase violence and decrease voter turnout, undermining the perceived value of foreign military assistance.
New research shows that inequality in Latin America is falling. In this paper, the authors summarize recent findings, analyze the affect of different regimes, and investigate the relationship between inequality and changes in the size of the middle class in the region. They conclude with some questions about whether and how changes in income distribution and in middle-class economic power will affect the politics of distribution in the future.
The US economy needs low-skill workers now more than ever, and that requires a legal channel for the large-scale, employment-based entry of low-skill workers. The alternative is what the country has now: a giant black market in unauthorized labor that hinders job creation and harms border security. A legal time-bound labor-access program could benefit the American middle class and low-skill workers, improve US border security, and create opportunities for foreign workers.
In this paper we identify a group of people in Latin America and other developing countries that are not poor but not middle class either. We define them as the vulnerable “strugglers”, people living in households with daily income per capita between $4 and $10 (at constant 2005 PPP dollar). They are well above the international poverty line, but still vulnerable to falling back into poverty and hence not part of the secure middle class. In a first step, we use long-term growth projections to show that in Latin America about 200 million people will likely be in the struggler group in 2030, accounting for about a third of the total population.
This is the data set for Working Paper 367 which analyzes Latin America’s financial inclusion gap, the difference between the average financial inclusion for Latin America and the corresponding average for a set of comparator countries.