Economic Policy

Indigenous People’s Food Sovereignty in Ecuadorian Amazon
May 20, 2022
Author
Written by India Belgharbi

Accessing healthy and affordable food is highly intertwined with the biggest challenges of our century, such as climate change or conflict resolution. The United Nations has established eliminating hunger as one of the seventeen goals of the international community to achieve sustainable development. The largest part of the food the world consumes is produced by smallholders, peasants and Indigenous communities, but their own food sovereignty is not always practically implemented. This paper explores the extent to which Indigenous Peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon are able to practice food sovereignty, and traces colonialism’s continuous influence on the application of international law to this marginalized community. Though the Indigenous concept of Buen Vivir is linked to food sovereignty and was integrated into the Ecuadorian constitution since 2008, post-neoliberalism, land ownership issues, access to seeds, the use of chemical fertilizers within agriculture, and tourism in the Amazon are all elements impeding its realization.

2022
food sovereignty
Human Rights
indigenous rights
Economic Policy
International Development
South/Central America
Stealing the Genie from the Lamp: The Politics of Energy and Justice in Canada
May 5, 2021
Author
Written by Lauren Kathryn Johnson

As countries across the world intensify their commitments to mitigating the worst effects of climate change, activists, scholars, and regular citizens are demanding more from this transition than the mere substitution of fossil fuels with low-carbon forms of energy. Increasingly, many call for an energy system that better distributes the benefits that energy provides and more fairly spreads the costs that its production and use creates. However, it is not only those seeking to right past inequities that call for a just transition: justice is a rhetorical device that opponents of the clean energy transition can use to slow its progress. This paper will engage with the conflicting roles that various actors’ sense of justice plays in Canada’s transition to a decarbonized economy. First, it will consider how opposition to Canada’s carbon price was fueled by a sentiment that it would unjustly destroy an industry that many Canadians depend on for employment. The following section explores how the strategic use of energy democracy, or the involvement of people in the decision-making and ownership of clean energy infrastructure, could build political will for the clean energy transition across Canada. This paper ultimately argues that by designing this transition so that it directly benefits as many Canadians as possible, and ensuring that every citizen understands those benefits, Canadian decision-makers can fortify climate policies to withstand false claims and perceptions of injustice.

2021
Economic Policy
International Relations
North America
The Accuracy Of Proxy Means Tests For Immigrant Populations: A Case Study In Colombia
May 1, 2020
Author
Written by Will Sims
This paper examines the accuracy of proxy means tests (PMTs) for identifying low-income households among migrant and refugee populations. Specifically, it develops a PMT model based on Colombia’s SISBEN system, and evaluates its ability to identify poverty among recent and established Venezuelan migrants and refugees. It finds that these groups have significantly higher rates of exclusion errors relative to native Colombians, which could prevent them from accessing valuable social services. These findings are robust to a number of specifications, and the issue is not resolved by simply including immigration status within the model. Additionally, occupational downgrading is identified as the most likely mechanism for this effect, as Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Colombia generally have lower returns to education when compared with native Colombians. These results should inspire caution when choosing to use PMTs for targeting, and it is recommended that all policymakers evaluate the accuracy of their PMTs for vulnerable subpopulations prior to implementation.
2020
Economic Policy
International Development
South/Central America
Something for Nothing? How Growing Rent-seeking is at the Heart of America’s Economic Troubles
May 28, 2019
Author
Written by Lachlan Carey, Amn Nasir
The following paper studies three main questions: First, What is the association between increasing concentration and labor and profit shares? Second, is this effect different across sectors? Third, is this effect uniform across advanced economies? The paper finds that while there is a negative relationship between concentration and labor share and a positive relationship between concentration and profit share, the result is more pronounced in the United States than in similar advanced European economies. Moreover, the results are stronger for the manufacturing sector than for the services sector. The paper concludes that this evidence suggests that deviations from perfect competition are likely explained by declining competition in the U.S., whereas these secular trends, such as heterogeneous technology adoption and the declining price of capital, are more likely at play in Europe. Consequently, the paper prioritizes pre-distribution over redistribution.
2019
Economic Policy
U.S. Domestic Policy
North America
Europe
Effect of “Just Cause” Eviction Ordinances on Eviction in Four California Cities
May 21, 2019
Author
Written by Julieta Cuellar
The Eviction Lab’s recently released dataset of evictions in the United States provides rich opportunities for exploring the effect of state and local policies on eviction rates. Just cause eviction ordinances—local laws that outline what constitutes grounds for eviction—have gained traction as a policy solution for addressing the eviction crisis. This paper analyzes the relationship between just cause eviction ordinances and eviction rates and eviction filing rates in four California cities. A difference-in-differences matched case model suggests that there is a statistically significant, large, and negative difference between eviction rates and eviction filing rates before and after the passage of just cause eviction ordinances in the four treatment cities, as compared to the difference in these rates before and after the passage of just cause eviction ordinances in matched control cities. Cities that implemented just cause eviction laws experienced lower eviction, by 0.808 percentage points, and eviction filing rates, by 0.780 percentage points, than those that did not.
2019
Economic Policy
U.S. Domestic Policy
North America
Capital, Inequality, and Compulsory Savings: Australia’s Superannuation System in the Context of Piketty
May 19, 2019
Author
Written by Brody Viney
A fundamental aspect of economic inequality, highlighted by Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century, is the unequal distribution of capital ownership (wealth). This not only undermines the welfare of individuals with low wealth, but exacerbates the distributional consequences of a declining labor share of income. However, policy responses to wealth inequality remain underdeveloped. This paper considers how policies that increase the private savings of low- and middle-income individuals can complement more traditional taxation and redistribution approaches. As a case study, it explores the distributional effects of Australia’s superannuation system, a private retirement savings scheme that sets a compulsory minimum savings rate for all employees. Superannuation has contributed to a more equal distribution of wealth in Australia, particularly by offsetting declines in other kinds of wealth among those at the low end of the distribution. However, loopholes have also allowed high-income individuals to use the system to save in a low-tax environment. Further work is needed to investigate the effects of compulsory savings rates on those with very low incomes.
2019
Economic Policy
Asia/Pacific