Humans are plagued by shortsighted thinking, preferring to put off work on complex, deep-seated, or difficult problems in favor of quick-fix solutions to immediate needs. When short-term thinking is applied to economic development, especially in fragile nations, the results—corruption, waste, and faulty planning—are often disastrous. In Bringing in the Future, William Ascher draws on the latest research from psychology, economics, institutional design, and legal theory to suggest strategies to overcome powerful obstacles to long-term planning in developing countries.
Drawing on cases from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Ascher applies strategies such as the creation and scheduling of tangible and intangible rewards, cognitive exercises to increase the understanding of longer-term consequences, self-restraint mechanisms to protect long-term commitments and enhance credibility, and restructuring policy-making processes to permit greater influence of long-term considerations. Featuring theoretically informed research findings and sound policy examples, this volume will assist policy makers, activists, and scholars seeking to understand how the vagaries of human behavior affect international development.
The International Commission for Central American Recovery and Development was created in 1987 to analyze development in the region and to make recommendations to the region’s governments and to the international community. The essays in this volume were written by experts in Central American development, economics, politics, and administration who were asked by the commission to synthesize existing knowledge on Central America’s prospects for aid, trade, and institutional reform, and to propose creative approaches to the problems facing the region. The Center for International Development Research at Duke University was chosen to perform the editorial and support tasks for the commission.
The Guide to Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy is a comprehensive presentation of definitions, philosophies, policies, models, and analyses of global environmental and developmental issues. With a wealth of comparative, multidisciplinary, and geographically varied perspectives on environmental governance, it also provides detailed and balanced discussions about specific environmental issues. The guide combines formal, objective entries with critical commentaries that emphasize different opinions and controversies. With succinct explanations of more than a thousand terms, thoughtful interpretations by international experts, and helpful cross-referencing, this resource is designed to serve as a roadmap for understanding the issues and debates in the overlapping fields of environment and development. Intended for use by activists, journalists, policymakers, students, scholars, and interested citizens, the Guide to Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy will be a helpful tool for anyone trying to get a comprehensive look at the many environmental organizations, schools of thought, development programs, international environmental treaties, conventions, and strategies that have proliferated in the past few decades.
Drawing on case studies developed over a two-year period, 1987–1989, by Fellows in the Program in International Development Policy at Duke University, including experienced representatives from developing countries, the World Bank, and scholars, the authors integrate the growing interest in environmental protection and resource conservation into the existing body of knowledge about the political economy of developing countries. This book is about the links that tie resource use, environmental quality, and economic development, and the way in which those links are affected by the distribution of income and resource ownership. The links may be relatively simple, as in the case of peasant farmers too poor to conserve resources for the future and with nothing to gain from sound environmental practices. Or they may be very complex—as the authors find when they demonstrate how achievement of higher incomes by the rich can increase environmentally destructive behavior by the poor. Many of the links in some way involve rural land use, whether for agriculture or forestry. Natural Resource Policymaking in Developing Countries argues that the policies that matter are not merely those dealing with resources and the environment, but a much broader set that includes income distribution and asset ownership.
The 1980s were one of the most turbulent decades in Central America’s history, a history that has been marked by more than its share of strife and upheaval. The wars, economic hardship, and political unrest and instability that have dominated news of the region have been years in the making, the products of flawed and inequitable economic, social, and political structures. The International Commission for Central American Recovery and Development (ICCARD) was formed to provide a thorough diagnosis and analysis of Central America’s problems and to draft a comprehensive long-term strategy to move the region from decline to development. In this report ICCARD—through forty-five international experts in economics, public policy, management, and development it assembled for this purpose—attempts to rise above rhetoric and simplistic remedies to focus on well-reasoned, thorough, and realistic approaches to economic and social development. This volume reviews the unequal access of marginal groups to political and economic participation, the precarious situation of Central American financial institutions, the international debt situation, the prospects for regional political and economic integration, and other aspects of regional development. Each of these challenges is addressed by specific recommendations to the Central American governments, the governments of the industrialized nations, and international organizations.
Scheming for the Poor is the first comparative analysis of redistributive policymaking in Latin America. William Ascher examines the success or failure of progressive policies launched by nine governments grouped into three regime types—populist, reformist, and radical—over the course of the postwar history of Argentina, Chile, and Peru.
His findings challenge the conventional views that redistribution in Latin America is either doomed to failure or else is the inevitable consequence of a balance of pro-redistributive and anti-redistributive forces. Ascher shows that tactics and careful attention to practical politics and policy implementation are far more important than regime type and professed political objectives and credos. The adept policymakers—from the Argentine authoritarian populist Juan Perón to the Chilean reformist Eduardo Frei—delivered more as redistributionists than did the economic romantics.
Integrating the political and economic aspects of redistribution, Ascher shows that in political terms success stems from subtlety rather than stridency, perceptions rather than economic realities, the astute formation of coalitions, and aversion of the mobilization of the opposition. Ultimately, of course, economic pressures impose a limit on what is politically possible, and Ascher demonstrates how economic requirements constrain the politics of income redistribution.