Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: Worth the Price?

In the economic development world, one of Latin America’s claims to fame are its conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs), which provide direct money transfers to low-income families who send their children to school and/or get basic health care. A few of these programs, such as Bolsa Família in Brazil and Oportunidades in Mexico, reach millions […]

How a Stronger Democracy Will Check the PRI

Here is a piece that I wrote for ForeignAffairs.com on the upcoming Mexican elections and the prospects for the PRI. After voting the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) out of Los Pinos, Mexico’s presidential residence, twelve years ago, the country looks poised to bring it back. The PRI’s candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, continues to lead the majority […]

Despite Hurdles, Latin Americans “Satisfied” According to OECD

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a report this month on the overall well-being of its thirty six member countries. Looking specifically at its three Latin American members—Mexico, Brazil, and Chile—some of the results aren’t surprising. The three countries all come in the bottom four positions (joined by Turkey) in categories such […]

China’s Chen Guangcheng

I had the good fortune this morning to see Chen Guangcheng speak here at the Council on Foreign Relations (and you can watch it here too). Over the course of the hour he answered questions ranging from the nature of his escape from his village of Dongshigu to legal rights in China to what the […]

Violence and Insecurity in Latin America: New Survey Findings

Though specific countries usually capture the headlines for their bloodiness—Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and often Colombia—security problems are widespread throughout Latin America. For the region which holds the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s most violent, a new Latinobarómetro report looks at the recent trends, and through survey data,  tries to tease out how this affects […]

North American Competitiveness

Last week I attended a conference “Made in North America: Competitiveness, Supply Chain, and Transportation in the NAFTA Region,” which was part of World Trade Week’s events here in New York. From the interesting panels there emerged three main points, one positive and two less so. The positive outlook is that macroeconomic and global winds […]

Latin America’s Economic Outlook

Source: The 2012 IMF Economic Outlook Report for the Western Hemisphere The recent IMF economic outlook report entitled, “The Western Hemisphere: Rebuilding Strength and Flexibility,” is overall quite bullish on the region. Fueled by favorable commodity prices and plentiful international credit, it lauds (as much as the IMF does) the steady growth of the past […]

Changes in Mexican Migration

A recent Pew Hispanic Center report highlights the rather steep declines in the number of Mexicans coming to the United States, as well as the rising numbers leaving for Mexico. Taken together, they show that net migration from 2005 to 2010 reached zero—with inflows and outflows of some 1.4 million individuals (a rough average of 280,000 […]

State or Market Led? Brazil’s Struggle to Improve Infrastructure and IT

Yesterday I attended the annual Brazil Summit in New York, organized by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. What struck me in the presentations (reinforcing what I heard during my last two visits to Brazil), was the quite disparate views of Brazil today and the levers for growth tomorrow. The first panel focused on information technology […]