Op-Eds published in 2017

Coffee beyond Coffee (Café más allá del café)

Plaza Pública. December 02, 2017. On the need to promote government sponsored research, development, and commercialization in Guatemala to export more valuable agricultural byproducts. Article focuses on coffee.

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.

Pig in a Poke: Statistics Bureau (El INE: gato por liebre)

Plaza Pública. November 04, 2017. On the need to increase transparency in the methods followed and the data disclosed by the Guatemalan Statistics Bureau (INE), considering inconsistencies found in food prices.

The other problem of food prices (El otro problema de los precios de los alimentos)

Plaza Pública. October 23, 2017. On the need to improve transpotation infrastructure and services to diminish food prices in Guatemala.

We are mismeasuring food inflation (No medimos bien la inflación de los precios de los alimentos)

Plaza Pública. October 07, 2017. On the need to conduct an in-depth analysis of food inflation in Guatemala due to data inconsistencis in what the Statistics Bureau (INE) is publishing.

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 Fight (La Lucha)

Plaza Pública. September 09 and August 28, 2017. Guatemalans want more and better public services. These two articles on the need to move beyond fighting corruption and to start promoting reforms to prevent corruption and strengthen Guatemalan government. Four specific proposals are discussed.

Instructions for climbing a staircase (Instrucciones para subir la escalera)

Plaza Pública. July 31, 2017. Development is like climbing three different ladders at the same time: the quality ladder; the product sophistication ladder; and the vertical integration ladder. The title makes reference to Julio Cortazar famous short story.

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.

Cooking development (Cocinando el desarrollo)

Plaza Pública. July 03, 2017. Policy-makers should be wary of taking a "binding constraints" approach. Development is like a cooking recipe: you need several ingredients together. Consequently, the relevance to think in terms of "policy packages" vs "sole policies".

Reducing malnutrition and poverty (Reduciendo la desnutrición y la pobreza)

Plaza Pública. June 19, 2017. I discuss a report authored by Reid Hamel and published by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Feed the Future, a U.S. development program in Guatemala.

Ludwig Von MIses: export manufacturing promoter (Von Mises, el industrialista exportador)

Plaza Pública. May 22, 2017. Ludwig von Mises, an economist belonging to the Austrian School of Economics, and an inspiration for many libertarians, went to Mexico in 1943. His recommendation was that the Mexican government should promote export manufacturing, recognizing that government intervention was justified in the presence of a high proportion of workers in the agricultural sector.

Export Prices (Precios de Exportación)

Plaza Pública. May 08, 2017. Attention to export product prices trends might boost economic growth. Could Guatemala start selling women´s full length hosiery which has shown a positive price increases? What is needed to promote a shift towards this and other products?

Trade partners (Socios comerciales)

Plaza Pública. April 10, 2017. Guatemala and other Central American countries have a pending trade policy challenge: to minimize their reliance on a few trade partners to minimize trade shocks.

Soccer and economic policies (Futbol y políticas económicas)

Plaza Pública. March 13, 2017. Like in soccer, we need to run to where the ball will be not to where the ball currently is. If we apply this advice to economic policy it means we should look beyond where we currently are, an economy dominated by agricultural jobs and small firms, and start to move our policies to where we want to be.

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.