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Showing posts from November, 2012

Effective Public Service Delivery in Latin America: Can it be done at the Local Level?

Local governments in Latin America are perceived to have low levels of autonomy, fiscal capacity and human resources, which apparently makes it difficult for them to deliver public services effectively and efficiently (Campbell 2003, Tulchin and Selee 2004). 

Yet increase devolution of authority has increased their necessity to effectively deliver public services. Countries in the region started to decentralize by entrusting state functions, like implementing social policies, managing local budgets and contracting out public services, to local governments in the early 1980s (Montero and Samuels 2004). 

This was coupled with various democratization movements throughout the same period, local elections became prevalent (Gibson 2004, Tulchin and Selee 2004). Increasingly, local governments have become a unit of analysis for research in the region, just as many academics have separated the decentralization movement into political, administrative and fiscal reforms (Falleti 2005, Tulchin a…

Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali

Successful Citizen Security Initiatives in Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali,
Colombia:  Are They Sustainable and Replicable?

Thursday, November 29, 2012
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Sixth Floor Board Room
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Improvements in citizen security in Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali, Colombia have been widely celebrated and these cities have become models of “best practices” for combating crime and violence in urban areas worldwide.  What explains these success stories and why have there been some setbacks?  A distinguished group of analysts and practitioners will identify the key policy initiatives undertaken at the municipal and national level in order to assess the sustainability of security gains and whether they are replicable in other settings.

9:00-9:15 a.m.:  Introductory Remarks                                     
          Cynthia J. Arnson, Director, Latin American Program

9:15 – 11:00 a.m.: Panel I – W…

Latin American Tax Reserach Centers

Revenue Statistics in Latin Americaaims to provide internationally comparable data on tax levels and tax structures for a selection of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. Using the same methodology as the OECD Revenue Statistics database, this publication presents cross-country comparisons between LAC economies, and, between LAC and OECD economies. This work is part of the OECD LAC Fiscal Initiative, which aims to improve taxation and public expenditure policies to support stronger economic growth and fairer income distribution. This publication has been financially supported by the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) and the Fundación Internacional para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Públicas (FIIAPP). For more information on Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the LAC Fiscal Initiative please consult and

The Inter-American Centr…

The Belly of an Architecture

November 6, 2012, 7:33 am The Belly of an Architecture By CLARISSA SEBAG-MONTEFIORE BEIJING - Late last month, I attended the opening of the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid's latest work, the Galaxy Soho. A gargantuan structure of white curved orbs connected by sky-bridges, it towered over the squat, Soviet-style buildings nearby - like a spaceship just landed in downtown Beijing.

Thousands of people had turned up to see the new structure unveiled. They swarmed three floors of indoor balconies, straining to catch a glimpse of Hadid giving a talk in an inner courtyard below. Despite the crush, the atmosphere was giddy.

The people of Beijing seem excited about how their city is being shaped. And so they should be. Architecture in China today is bold and unapologetic.

But it embodies China's rapid growth in less positive ways, too. Although the industry is buoyant these days, its long-term benefits for the people who live here are questionable. Too often, form trum…

Mars and taxes

Mars and taxes

By Matt Miller, Published: August 8

“The rover ushers in a new era of exploration that could turn up evidence that the Red Planet once had the necessary ingredients for life — or might even still harbor life today.” — the New York Times, Aug. 6.

(A subterranean classroom on Mars. Life forms appear humanoid except for much larger brains. All wear white garments that look like silk nightgowns. Students gab before their professor shows up).

Student 1: This one seems bigger.

Student 2: Pretty fancy landing.

Student 3: But it still doesn’t know we’re here, right.

S1: It scoops soil. It can’t detect underground cities. They’re still pretty primitive . . .
(Snickers and nods all around. Professor enters.)

P: All right, gentlemartians. Enough about the rover. Welcome to Advanced Topics in Earthling Political Economy. If that’s not the seminar you signed up for, now would be a good time to leave. Has everyone done the reading for our first class?

S1: Yes, mentor, but something …

USG and Urbanization....

Urbanization, City Planning, Global Health and Economic Development: How these Policies Affect Local Governments
by Heidi Smith

The new office of Special Representative of Inter-governmental Affairs at the US State Department, which reports directly to Secretary Clinton, works to engage State and Local leaders across the globe as they are critical actors in the governance processes. Work done today, focusing on management and technical roles for local governments, is key to successful implication of international public policy and also helps lead to stronger national governments and economies. Simply put, our goal is to see more efficient and effective local governments.

Truthful community discussions about city priorities and gentrification will lead to more promising economic development. Clear understanding and knowing of what cities do and how they are run, may help create healthy relationships between different levels of government. The US applauds Latin America in its work …

A Call for Wilsonian Reform in Latin America

A Call for Wilsonian Reform in Latin America: Public administration as a reference for implementation of the Summit of the Americas agreements

ABSTRACT This paper is a theoretical and historical view of the field of American public administration. It describes how researchers have evaluated the governmental structures; sought after the implementation of efficient and equitable public policies; and inquired about the most effective political-administrative dichotomy. The study of Public Administration is the search for the best way to run public institutions. As an applied political science, this paper will call into question the promotion of democratic practices and ask: Who in Latin America is studying public administration?

Why does the United Sates have a strong democratic government? Is it that the US has a stronger constitution than Latin American governments? Maybe in the US the political parties are less corrupt? Or does the US government have fewer predispositions ab…