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Research Topics

Government & Democracy

Civic Engagement in Latin America
Scartascini, Carlos; Vlaicu, Razvan
Working Papers - English - Mar, 2018

This paper estimates the effect of voting eligibility on civic engagement measured along three dimensions: political motivation, political activities, and political knowledge. These outcomes originate in the AmericasBarometer 2004-2016 surveys of eligible voters. To identify the effects the paper exploits variation in field survey dates relative to election dates, given country-specific voting age laws. It is found that voter enfranchisement increases self-reported interest in politics, political socialization, and attendance of political meetings; however, consumption of political news is not statistically different between eligible and non-eligible citizens. Some evidence indicates that the political activities voters engage in translate into increased political knowledge, in contrast with the view that voters are rationally ignorant. The effects are larger in countries with enforced mandatory voting.

Related JEL Codes:
D12 - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D72 - Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief

The Database of Political Institutions 2017 (DPI2017)
Scartascini, Carlos; Cruz, Cesi; Keefer, Philip
Databases - English - Feb, 2018

The Database of Political Institutions presents institutional and electoral results data such as measures of checks and balances, tenure and stability of the government, identification of party affiliation and ideology, and fragmentation of opposition and government parties in the legislature, among others. The current version of the database, which is now hosted at the IDB, expands its coverage to about 180 countries for 40 years, 1975-2017. Researchers at the World Bank Development Research Group first compiled the database in 2000 (see citation information below). It has become one of the most cited databases in comparative political economy and comparative political institutions. See more at:

Related JEL Codes:
D72 - Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D73 - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
P48 - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights

The Political Economy of Citizen Security: A Conceptual Framework
Flom, Hernan
Technical Notes - English - Jan, 2018

Most Latin American countries face a systemic challenge in providing citizen security. In other words, the region’s current insecurity is not only the responsibility of state actors in isolation, but also a product of the entire policymaking process (PMP) to understand policy outcomes. Many problems in this area spring from the lack of coordination among state actors—or from coordination in the service of their own interests rather than those of the wider population. Addressing citizen security thus requires considering the incentives of all actors involved in the policymaking process and the arenas in which they make decisions. This paper first reviews evidence-based studies, then presents a condensed theoretical framework of the political economy of citizen insecurity. The paper concludes with recommendations for implementing this theoretical framework and evaluates the methodological and logistical challenges it presents.

Related JEL Codes:
D02 - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
D73 - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
D78 - Positive Analysis of Policy-Making and Implementation
K14 - Criminal Law
L14 - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation; Networks
L38 - Public Policy

Two to Tango: Public-Private Collaboration for Productive Development Policies
Trejos, Alberto; Sabel, Charles; Fernández-Arias, Eduardo; Stein, Ernesto H.
Working Papers - English - Dec, 2017

This paper summarizes the findings of the recent Inter-American Development Bank book Two to Tango: Public-Private Collaboration Productive Development Policies, based on case studies of 25 productive development policies (PDPs) in five countries and discusses an additional example from Peru. One finding that emerges from those studies is that governments could not make policy in isolation and needed private sector involvement at every phase of the policy process. It is also found that the private sector generally collaborated in the design and implementation of PDPs without attempting to manipulate or capture them. In contrast to previous views of PDPs as static and best undertaken in isolation by governments, successful PDPs involve a dynamic and interactive process with ample and continuous private sector participation.

Related JEL Codes:
L52 - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
O25 - Industrial Policy
O54 - Economywide Country Studies: Latin America; Caribbean

Learning Better: Public Policy for Skills Development
Hincapié, Diana; Messina, Julián; Cristiá, Julián; Ripani, Laura; Busso, Matias
Books - English - Aug, 2017

Despite governments’ best efforts, many people in Latin America and the Caribbean don’t have the skills they need to thrive. This book looks at what policies work, and don’t work, so that governments can help people learn better and realize their potential throughout their lifetimes.

Related JEL Codes:
I2 - Education and Research Insititutions
I23 - Higher Education Research Institutions
I28 - Government Policy
J08 - Labor Economics Policies
J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
J38 - Public Policy
M53 - Training
O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O54 - Economywide Country Studies: Latin America; Caribbean

Results: 1 - 5 of 176

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