Op-Eds on Labor & Education Policies

The coffee in Guatemala is not facing an emergency

Plaza Pública. August 2018. Our economy has been suffering since 1897 every time coffee prices drop. We need to start considering long-term solutions rather than short-term relief.

VAT, Exchange Rate and Minimum Wage (IVA, Tipo de Cambio y Salario Mínimo)

Plaza Pública. February 12, 2018. We are running around in circles: economic obstacles to growth that were a concern back in 2003 are still a concern today: VAT devolution to exporters, unfavorable exchange rate, and high minimum wages.

Where are the medium and large firms? (¿Dónde están las empresas medianas y grandes?)

Plaza Pública. November 18, 2017. On the need to assess policy barriers to medium and large size firms in Guatemala as a requisite to attain economies of scale.

SMEs, Self-employment and Minimum Wage (Mipymes, autoempleo y salario mínimo)

Plaza Pública. September 23, 2017. Self-employment, and jobs at small and medium firms do not provide good incomes in Guatemala; usually they are below the minimum wage. I summarize some findings using 16 years of labor surveys.

The unavoidable need to achieve structural change (La inexcusable necesidad de cambio estructural)

Plaza Pública. July 17, 2017. To develop, Guatemala and similar countries still need to support structural change: to move workers out of agriculture and informal retail into high productivity jobs. However, some analysts still insist in promoting agricultural jobs. This is a brief rebuttal.

We lost a year (Un año perdido)

Plaza Pública. January 30, 2017. The current Guatemala administration removed key minimum wage reforms to promote jobs (salario mínimo diferenciado). After a year of doing so, we are destroying formal jobs, not creating them.

Poorly paid engineers (Ingenieros mal pagados)

Plaza Pública. January 16, 2017. While attending the the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) I had lunch with a Guatemalan engineer living in Chicago. He pointed out a key problem: engineers in Guatemala are poorly paid, despite having the education and the skills. We need to pay more attention in attracting and creating firms that can employ high productivity engineers to boost growth.

It´s not about promoting entrepreneurship (No es la empresarialidad)

Plaza Pública. September 12, 2016. Developing countries like Guatemala have a high proportion of entrepreneurs while it has a small proportion of workers in big firms. In this situation, the latter provides higher income levels and the benefits of a formal job. Hence, the need to support the growth of firms rather than to support small firms with limited growth potential.

Tourism is not a viable development strategy for Guatemala (¿Turismo? Tampoco exageremos)

Plaza Pública. February 29th, 2016. It is a fantasy to believe that tourism will be a development strategy for Guatemala.

Good jobs (Empleos de calidad)

Plaza Pública. July 20th 2015.

We need to stop relying on agricultural jobs (Necesitamos salir de la trampa del empleo agrícola)

Plaza Pública. March 30, 2015. This essay explores why we need to reform the minimum wage institution in Guatemala and how that can help us promote economic development via structural change.