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Archive for the ‘Latin America and the Caribbean’ Category

Select Diaspora Populations in the United States

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Select Diaspora Populations in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Diaspora populations often perform essential functions in the economic and human capital development of their countries of origin, and can continue playing a strong role in shaping these countries long after they or their forebears departed.The Rockefeller Foundation and the Aspen Institute have launched the Rockefeller-Aspen Diaspora Program (RAD), a joint venture to better understand diaspora members’ financial and human capital investments and to design an approach to foster further growth in these areas. The Migration Policy Institute has partnered with RAD to produce profiles of 15 diaspora communities in the United States, which is home to nearly 60 million first- or second-generation immigrants.

These profiles address 15 different diaspora populations in the United States, gathering in one place key data and analysis on diasporas from Bangladesh, Colombia, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Each profile explores the demographic characteristics of first- and second-generation immigrants in a particular diaspora, their educational attainment, household income, employment patterns, geographic distribution, and remittance volume.

Five longer profiles, focusing on Colombia, Egypt, India, Kenya, and the Philippines, also detail historical immigration pathways and contemporary entry trends, poverty status, active diaspora organizations, and country-of-origin policies and institutions related to interaction with emigrants and their descendants abroad.

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Brazil’s Economic Identity

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s Economic Identity
Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies

As the sixth BRICS summit comes to a close on July 16, this paper brings clarity to Brazil’s role in the global economy—its identity, its self-perception, and what can be expected of it. Though Brazil is no longer an “optional market” for the world’s major players, Brazil’s economic identity is ill-understood—and leans heavily on the country’s development agenda. For Brazil, this agenda informs its global strategy, demanding cautious involvement in global markets and new strategic partnerships in technology and manufacturing.

The Future of Driving in Developing Countries

July 17, 2014 Comments off

The Future of Driving in Developing Countries
Source: RAND Corporation

The level of automobility, defined as travel in personal vehicles, is often seen as a function of income: The higher a country’s per capita income, the greater the amount of driving. However, levels of automobility vary quite substantially between countries even at similar levels of economic development. This suggests that countries follow different mobility paths. The research detailed in this report sought to answer three questions: What are the factors besides economic development that affect automobility? What is their influence on automobility? What will happen to automobility in developing countries if they progress along similar paths as developed countries? To answer these questions, the authors developed a methodology to identify these factors, model their impact on developed countries, and forecast automobility (as defined by per capita vehicle-kilometers traveled [VKT]) in four developing countries. This methodology draws on quantitative analysis of historical automobility development in four country case studies (the United States, Australia, Germany, and Japan) that represent very different levels of per capita automobility, in combination with data derived from an expert-based qualitative approach. The authors used the latter to assess how these experiences may affect the future of automobility in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. According to this analysis, automobility levels in the four BRIC countries will fall between those of the United States (which has the highest per capita VKT level of the four case studies) and Japan (which has the lowest). Brazil is forecasted to have the highest per capita VKT and India the lowest.

National Funding of Road Infrastructure

July 10, 2014 Comments off

National Funding of Road Infrastructure
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report examines the funding of roads and highways in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England and Wales, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden. It provides a description of the infrastructure in the jurisdiction, information on the ownership and responsibility of the roads, and taxes or other ways of collecting money to fund the nation’s infrastructure. If applicable, a discussion of reforms or new initiatives is examined.

Country Analysis Brief: Venezuela

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Venezuela
Source: Energy Information Administration

Venezuela is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of crude oil. It has consistently been one of the largest exporters of crude oil in the Americas. As a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela is an important player in the global oil market. While production has been declining, Venezuela exports of crude oil to the United States have been among the top. In recent years, through significant upfront investment, an increasing share of Venezuela’s exports have been delivered to China and India.

Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The phenomenon of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, typically after an arduous and often dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, has reached a crisis proportion, with a 90 percent spike in arrivals from last year and predictions of future increases ahead. While the immediate humanitarian situation has galvanized the attention of the Obama administration, policymakers, and the country at large, it is painfully clear that there are no simple solutions, whether in the short or medium term, to address the complex set of push and pull factors driving the rise in arrivals of unaccompanied alien children (UACs).

On Eve of World Cup, Brazil Well-Regarded in Much of the World

June 11, 2014 Comments off

On Eve of World Cup, Brazil Well-Regarded in Much of the World
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

As Brazil prepares to host its second World Cup, at least half of those surveyed in 24 of 37 countries have a favorable view of the South American nation. Views of Brazil are particularly positive in Latin America and Asia, although in many countries a fair share of people offer no opinion. Brazil gets especially high ratings among young people in many nations around the world. However, Brazil receives low marks in some major Middle Eastern nations.

These are the findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center conducted in 37 countries among 41,408 respondents from March 17 to May 23, 2014. In total, a median of 54% across the 37 countries have a favorable view of Brazil. Meanwhile, 76% of Brazilians say their country should be more respected around the world than it currently is.

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup

June 6, 2014 Comments off

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

The national mood in Brazil is grim, following a year in which more than a million people have taken to the streets of major cities across the country to protest corruption, rising inflation and a lack of government investment in public services such as education, health care and public transportation, among other things. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 72% of Brazilians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country, up from 55% just weeks before the demonstrations began in June 2013.

Opinions about the national economy have changed even more dramatically over this one-year period. Two-thirds now say Brazil’s once-booming economy is in bad shape, while just 32% say the economy is good. In 2013, the balance of opinion was reversed: a 59%-majority thought the country was in good shape economically, while 41% said the economy was bad. Economic ratings had been consistently positive since 2010, when Pew Research first conducted a nationally-representative survey of Brazil.

Brazilians are also concerned about the impact that hosting the World Cup, which begins June 12, will have on their country. About six-in-ten (61%) think hosting the event is a bad thing for Brazil because it takes money away from schools, health care and other public services — a common theme in the protests that have swept the country since June 2013. Just 34% think the World Cup, which Brazil will host for the first time since 1950 and which could attract more than 3.5 million people to the nation’s twelve host cities, will create more jobs and help the economy.

Brazil’s Next Consumer Frontier: Capturing Growth in the Rising Interior

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s Next Consumer Frontier: Capturing Growth in the Rising Interior
Source: Boston Consulting Group

For the past few decades, both foreign and domestic companies have scrambled for advantage in Brazil, striving to tap into one of the world’s greatest emerging consumer markets. But, in general, they have not thought far beyond the capital cities and major metropolitan areas. Small cities deep within Brazil’s interior account for more than half of the country’s population. But compared with the rich opportunities in bigger cities, especially along the country’s southern coast, they have been regarded as less affluent, too dispersed, and excessively hard to reach.

This view needs to change fast: the action is moving away from capital and metropolitan cities. Millions of households in interior cities, which we define as those located outside of Brazil’s major metropolitan areas and 26 capital cities, are vaulting from poverty into the ranks of the middle class and the affluent. Interior cities will become the primary drivers of growth at least through the rest of this decade. We project that, by 2020, interior cities will account for nearly half of incremental household consumption, or around $130 billion in added spending. They will be especially important sources of growth in sectors such as financial services, automobiles, and apparel.

Free registration required to access report.

Legislation on Use of Water in Agriculture

June 3, 2014 Comments off

Legislation on Use of Water in Agriculture
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report summarizes legislation concerning the agricultural use of water in nineteen countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It includes a summary of the laws that govern the agricultural use of water, the government authorities in charge of the administration of water for agriculture, requirements for licenses to use water for this purpose, and relevant guidelines on conservation and quality. In addition, some of the surveys provide information on intercountry disputes over the use of water. A comparative summary is included.

Brazil’s path to inclusive growth

June 2, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s path to inclusive growth
Source: McKinsey & Company

More than 25 years of democracy and political stability have allowed Brazil to make major strides in economic development, including cutting its official poverty rate by half. Yet the forces that provided much of the economy’s momentum during the past decade—an expanding labor force, credit-fueled consumption, and high commodity prices—are beginning to stall.

This recent slowdown has exposed the more fundamental issue of the country’s long-term weakness in income growth (exhibit). Although Brazil has become the world’s seventh-largest economy, it ranks 95th in the world for GDP per capita. Most households have experienced only modest income growth, while inefficiencies and extra layers of taxes and tariffs push the prices of many consumer goods beyond reach. Having successfully lifted millions out of extreme poverty, Brazil must now deliver on the promise of a middle-class life.

Towards a Geography of Unmarried Cohabitation in the Americas

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Towards a Geography of Unmarried Cohabitation in the Americas
Source: Demographic Research

Background: As the incidence of cohabitation has been rising in many parts of the world, efforts to determine the forces driving the cohabitation boom have also been intensifying. But most of the analyses of this issue conducted so far were carried out at a national level, and did not account for regional heterogeneity within countries.

Objective: This paper presents the geography of unmarried cohabitation in the Americas. We offer a large-scale, cross-national perspective, together with small-area estimates of cohabitation. We created this map for several reasons. (i) First, our examination of the geography of cohabitation reveals considerable spatial heterogeneity, and challenges the explanatory frameworks which may work at the international level, but which have low explanatory power with regard to intra-national variation. (ii) Second, we argue that historical pockets of cohabitation can still be identified by examining the current geography of cohabitation. (iii) Finally, our map serves as an initial step in efforts to determine whether the recent increase in cohabitation is an intensification of pre-existing traditions, or whether it has different roots that suggest that a new geography may be evolving.

Methods: Census microdata from 39 countries and 19,000 local units have been pooled together to map the prevalence of cohabitation among women.

Results: The results show inter- and intra-national regional contrasts. The highest rates of cohabitation are found in areas of Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia, and Peru. The lowest rates are mainly found in the United States and Mexico. In all of the countries, the spatial autocorrelation statistics indicate that there is substantial spatial heterogeneity.

Conclusions: Our results lead us to ask what forces may have shaped these patterns, and they remind us that these forces need to be taken into account when seeking to explain recent cohabitation patterns, and especially the rise in cohabitation.

Brazil’s Rise: Seeking Influence on Global Governance

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Brazil’s Rise: Seeking Influence on Global Governance
Source: Brookings Institution

During the past decade Brazil has benefited from an unprecedented set of opportunities to rise as a major power and influence global governance:

• A large economy powered by a boom in commodity exports
• Considerable soft power
• Lack of regional rivals
• A network of partners among other rising powers and the developing world

Its present economic and political difficulties in 2014 should not be a distraction from its long-term rise as an important player on the world stage.

This paper documents Brazil’s attempts to rise historically in the face of the mismatch between its aspirations, capabilities and opportunities and it shows how Brazil has adjusted its strategy after each attempt with the eventual aim of becoming a major power.

Even today, when it wields considerably greater economic power than at any previous time in its history, Brazil’s participation in global governance is undercut by its reluctance to assume the costs – military or economic – that are required for shaping and maintaining, let alone revising, the present international order. This paper concludes by outlining four steps that Brazil could still take to improve its ability to influence world order, as well as two considerations for U.S. policy makers as they think about Brazil’s rise.

2013 Labour Overview. Latin America and the Caribbean

May 20, 2014 Comments off

2013 Labour Overview. Latin America and the Caribbean
Source: International Labour Organization

Twenty years after the Labour Overview was first published, we analyze the challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean today. We also take a retrospective look at two very distinct decades for the labour markets of the region and envision the immediate future with concern arising from some current features of the region’s economies and labour markets. The loss of economic dynamism affected the labour market in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2013, labour indicators reveal that advances made in previous years have stagnated.

Global Economic Outlook Q2 2014

May 20, 2014 Comments off

Global Economic Outlook Q2 2014
Source: Deloitte

The second quarter edition of the Global Economic Outlook offers timely insights from Deloitte Research economists about the Eurozone, China, the United States, Japan, India, Russia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. In addition, this issue’s special topic considers the revival in international trade and the resurgence of bilateralism.

Upscale Tech-Savvy Millennials: Saving and Investment Strategies Around the World

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Upscale Tech-Savvy Millennials: Saving and Investment Strategies Around the World
Source: Nielsen

Upscale Millennials represent the future of economic growth and prosperity. These consumers are a subset of the Millennial generation with household incomes over the 75th percentile in their countries—that means households earning $30,000 or more in India and above $70,000 in the U.S.

This young segment of the population is actively saving and investing, and these consumers feel confident in their financial futures. In contrast to the global population, the proportion of upscale Millennials actively saving exceeds future savings intentions in areas reflective of their lifestage like higher education and a first-home purchase. And they’re devoting a larger portion of their monthly income to savings than the general Millennial population. Financial institutions should look to consumer sentiment and savings intentions country by country to develop strategies to educate and connect with upscale Millennials. In an effort to better understand this group and its consumer prowess, Nielsen conducted a study across the U.S., China, India and Brazil to learn about their financial plans and aspirations.

Free registration required to download report.

CRS — Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress

May 14, 2014 Comments off

Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Central America faces significant security challenges. Criminal threats, fragile political and judicial systems, and social hardships such as poverty and unemployment contribute to widespread insecurity in the region. Consequently, improving security conditions in these countries is a difficult, multifaceted endeavor. Since U.S. drug demand contributes to regional security challenges and the consequences of citizen insecurity in Central America are potentially far-reaching, the United States is collaborating with countries in the region to implement and refine security efforts.

CRS — Brazil: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Brazil: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

The United States has traditionally enjoyed cooperative relations with Brazil, which is the seventh-largest economy in the world and is recognized by the Obama Administration’s National Security Strategy as an emerging center of influence. Administration officials have often highlighted Brazil’s status as a multicultural democracy, referring to the country as a natural partner that shares values and goals with the United States. Bilateral ties have been strained from time to time, however, as the countries’ occasionally divergent national interests and independent foreign policies have led to disagreements. U.S.-Brazilian relations have been particularly strained over the past year as a result of alleged National Security Agency (NSA) activities inside Brazil. Nevertheless, the countries continue to engage on issues such as trade, energy, security, racial equality, and the environment.

CRS — Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections (updated)

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. Below are three tables organized by region, including the date of each country’s independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA’s Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.

Brazil — Bank Ownership, Lending, and Local Economic Performance During the 2008-2010 Financial Crisis

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Bank Ownership, Lending, and Local Economic Performance During the 2008-2010 Financial Crisis
Source: Federal Reserve Board

While the finance literature often equates government banks with political capture and capital misallocation, these banks can help mitigate financial shocks. This paper examines the role of Brazil’s government banks in preventing a recession during the 2008-2010 financial crisis. Government banks in Brazil provided more credit, which offset declines in lending by private banks. Areas in Brazil with a high share of government banks experienced increases in lending, production, and employment during the crisis compared to areas with a low share of these banks. We find no evidence that lending was politically targeted or that it caused productivity to decline in the short-run.

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