Earlier this week, Brookings Global-CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative (ESPLA) launched Spotlight Latin America, a series of eleven new reports on what Brookings and other regional experts believe are the key issues for Latin America in 2018 and beyond.
The reports, which are available in English and Spanish, touch on a range of issues from fiscal deficits, to educational reforms, and even strategies for improving police behavior. Below, we highlight a few charts and graphs from the research that we find particularly interesting. To access the full reports, click here.
NEARLY EVERY COUNTRY IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN HAS A DEFICIT
World Bank economists Carlos Vegh and Guillermo Vuletin contributed a paper on Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries’ deficits and what threats they may pose. The authors provide guidelines for when a country should consider fiscal adjustment policies and note that while 30 out of 32 LAC countries have deficits, under certain conditions those deficits might be practical or even desirable.
CHINESE INVESTMENT IN LATIN AMERICA CONTINUES TO EXPAND
Brookings expert David Dollar, a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center, analyzes China’s investment in the region and comments that “despite ongoing cyclical and structural changes in the Chinese economy, trade and investment relations with Latin America remain solid.” Dollar also notes Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela have been major recipients of aid in the region, but that there is no discernible geographic pattern to China’s lending in Latin America or around the world.
GREATER EDUCATIONAL INVESTMENTS IN MEXICO ARE NOT LEADING TO INCREASED ECONOMIC GROWTH
According to Nonresident Senior Fellow Santiago Levy, many countries in Latin America are investing heavily in education to increase social welfare and, in turn, spur economic growth. Levy finds that in Mexico however, the financial returns from education (measured below as the percentage difference in average wages) have fallen. He writes, in a supplementary paper with Luis Felipe López-Calva, that this could be caused by lagging demand for more educated workers.
A MAJORITY OF LATIN AMERICAN EMIGRANTS LIVE IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD
According to Dany Bahar and Ernesto Talvi, as of today nearly 40 million Latin Americans have migrated out of their country of origin, making up about 15 percent of all migrants around the globe. They note that a majority of those emigrants live in the developed world—primarily the United States and Europe—and that through remittances, business networks, and the diffusion of knowledge and technology, these large diaspora populations can support the development of the nations they emigrated from.