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Latin America and the Caribbean

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New Paper Finds No Evidence that Latin America’s Economic Growth Rebound Results from a “Commodities Boom”

May 21, 2014

OAS Insider Reveals Details of Illegal Foreign Intervention Against Haitian Democracy

February 25, 2014

Twenty Years after NAFTA, Mexico Has Experienced Lagging Growth, Persistent Poverty and Increased Unemployment

February 12, 2014

Four Years after Earthquake, Housing, Sanitation, Health Care are Still Pressing Needs in Haiti

January 9, 2014

New Paper Finds that Honduras’ Economic and Social Gains Under Zelaya Were Largely Reversed After the Coup

November 6, 2013

Ecuador or Another Country Should Grant Asylum to Snowden, CEPR Co-Director Says

June 23, 2013

Multilateral Debt Cancellation Would Provide Jamaica with More Resources than New Loans, Paper Finds

June 20, 2013

Economists Call on Media to Report "Overwhelming Evidence" Regarding Venezuelan Election Results

June 7, 2013

Statistical Study Shows That First Audit of Venezuelan Election is Decisive

May 9, 2013

Venezuelan Audit Can’t Find Any Different Result in Presidential Election, Statistical Analysis Shows

April 26, 2013

Maduro’s Win, Though Narrow, Likely Results from People’s Improved Living Standards in Chávez Era, says CEPR Co-Director

April 15, 2013

New Report on Deadly Honduras Counterdrugs Operation Raises New Questions Regarding U.S. Role

April 9, 2013

New Report on U.S. Aid to Haiti Finds “Troubling” Lack of Transparency, Effectiveness

April 3, 2013

UN Response to Haiti Cholera Complaint “Represents a Failure of the UN System,” CEPR Co-Director Says

February 21, 2013

Ecuador's Election a "Referendum on Economic Policies," CEPR Co-Director Says

February 18, 2013

New Paper Finds that Ecuadorean Financial Reforms Under Correa Have Been Successful

February 14, 2013

Three Years Later, Haiti Still Struggling Due to Failures of International Community

January 11, 2013

Haiti-D.R. Cholera Eradication Plan “Welcome,” But Unclear Where Funding Will Come From, CEPR Co-Director Says

December 11, 2012

Chávez Re-Election Continues Trend of Left Governments Re-elected in South America

October 7, 2012

Analysis of Polling Data Gives Venezuela’s Capriles a 5.7 Percent Probability of Winning the Election

October 4, 2012

New Report Looks at Sustainability of Venezuela’s Economic Recovery

September 26, 2012

British Threat to Raid Ecuadorean Embassy is a Grave Violation of Diplomatic Conventions and International Law, CEPR Co-Director Says

August 16, 2012

New Investigative Report into DEA-Related Killings in Honduras Finds Inconsistencies Between U.S. and Honduran Officials’ Statements, Survivor Accounts

August 15, 2012

Three Years After Coup in Honduras, Legacy is One of Murders, Impunity, and Coups and Attempted Coups Elsewhere in the Region, CEPR Co-Director Says
June 28, 2012

Mexico’s Economic Failure is Driving Force in Sunday’s Election, Says New CEPR Report
June 27, 2012

International Community Should Defend Democratic Government in Paraguay From Coup Attempt, CEPR Co-Director Says

June 22, 2012

New Paper Finds Jamaican Economy to Be Held Back by Pro-Cyclical Conditions Demanded by IMF, Creditors
May 7, 2012

New Paper Examines Ecuador's Success in Emerging from Economic Recession; Reducing Poverty and Unemployment
May 2, 2012

Cholera Infections Rising Again in Haiti as Rainy Season Begins, Highlighting Urgency for NGOs, Agencies to Redouble Their Efforts, CEPR Co-Director Says
April 3, 2012

Bill Clinton’s Admission of UN Responsibility for Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic is a Welcome Step Forward, CEPR Co-Director Says
March 8, 2012

Two Years Later, Haitians Are Worse Off Due to Cholera, Lack of Accountability, CEPR Co-Director Says
January 10, 2012

MINUSTAH Must Take Responsibility for Causing Cholera Epidemic That’s Killed 7,000 People, CEPR Co-Director Says
December 19, 2011

New CEPR Paper Casts Doubt on Claims that Latin American "Social Democratic" Governments Have Done Better on Inequality than "Populist" Ones
October 27, 2011

New Paper Examines Argentina’s Economic Success
October 21, 2011

On One-Year Anniversary of Cholera’s Return to Haiti, CEPR Co-Director Calls for Restitution from United Nations Troops
October 19, 2011

OAS Overturned Haitian Presidential Election in a "Political Intervention," New CEPR Paper Suggests
October 17, 2011

Thousands of Lives Could Be Saved, and Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Managed, With Greater Treatment and Prevention Efforts, CEPR Paper Finds
August 18, 2011

Appointment of Stanley Fischer to Head the IMF Would "Institutionalize Lack of Accountability," CEPR Co-Director Says
June 13, 2011

Humala's Win in Peru Consolidates Gains for Left, More Independent and Democratic South America, CEPR Co-Director Says
June 5, 2011

Brazilian Macroeconomic Policy Needs New Debate, Says CEPR Paper
June 2, 2011

New Paper Finds Pro-Cyclical IMF Agreement and Debt Burden are Blocking Jamaica's Economic Progress
May 4, 2011

Ecuador’s Expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Another Setback for Failed U.S.-Latin America Policy, CEPR Co-Director Says
April 5, 2011

As Aristide Heads Back to Haiti, Governments Should Respect International Law and Not Try to Block His Return, CEPR Co-Director Says
March 17, 2011

"Big Setback" for Haitian Democracy as U.S. Gets Its Way; Forces Runoff Elections Between Two Right-Wing Candidates, CEPR Co-Director Says
February 3, 2011

“Sad Day for Haitian Democracy” as U.S. Threatens to Cut Off Aid to Haiti in Order to Reverse its Election Results, CEPR Co-Director Says
January 25, 2011

CEPR Publishes Analysis of OAS Report Finding Serious Flaws, Unsupported Conclusions by the OAS Mission
January 17, 2011

CEPR Examines OAS Report on Haiti's Election, Finds It "Inconclusive, Statistically Flawed, and Indefensible"
January 11, 2011

Haiti Election Recount Report Reveals Massive Irregularities Beyond Those Noticed by the OAS and CEP

January 9, 2011

Recount and Review of Haiti’s Election Tally Shows Massive Irregularities

December 30, 2010

Private, Opposition TV Continues to Dominate in Venezuela, New Paper Finds
December 13, 2010 En Español

International Community Should Reject Haiti’s "Sham" Elections, CEPR Co-Director Says
November 29, 2010

New Paper Finds Big Increase in Trade is Transforming Colombian-Venezuelan Relations
November 16, 2010 En Español

CEPR Co-Director Criticizes U.S. Funding of Flawed “Elections” in Haiti
October 14, 2010

IMF Forecasts Global Slowdown, But Policies Remain Pro-cyclical In Many Countries
October 6, 2010

Obama Administration Should Oppose Any Attempted Coup in Ecuador: CEPR Co-Director
September 30, 2010 En Español

Venezuelan Recession Likely Ended in Second Quarter
September 3, 2010 En Español

New York Times Reporter Errs in Attack on Film "South of the Border"
June 28, 2010

IMF's Economic Growth Projections for Latin America and Caribbean Appear Questionable
April 28, 2009

New CEPR Study Looks at Recent Inflation in Latin America, in Context of Current Economic Slowdown
February 11, 2009

Report Examines Economy and Social Indicators During the Chávez Decade in Venezuela
February 5, 2009

Bolivia Approves New Constitution; How Will the Obama Administration Respond?
January 26, 2009

New Report Shows Need for Rapid Debt Cancellation for Haiti in Wake of Recent Disasters
December 8, 2008

New Paper Finds That Oil Price Decline Doesn't Threaten Venezuelan Economic Growth
November 18, 2008

Obama Has Historic Opportunity to Improve Ties With Latin America
November 6, 2008   En español

No Debt Service Problems Likely in Argentina, Paper Finds
October 3, 2008   En español

U.S. Should Disclose its Funding of Opposition Groups in Bolivia and Other Latin American Countries
September 12, 2008   En español

New Paper Suggests Bolivian Conflict Revolves Around Lopsided Control Over Land and Natural Gas
July 30, 2008    En español

CEPR Responds to Debate About Venezuelan Economy
April 17, 2008   En español

CEPR Paper Responds to Foreign Affairs on Venezuela
March 21, 2008

U.S. Recession Will Hurt Major U.S. Trading Partners, Projections Show
March 6, 2008

New Data Shows Continued Economic Progress in Venezuela
February 1, 2008

Delayed Debt Cancellation Will Only Hurt Haiti, New CEPR Paper Finds
December 12, 2007

Venezuela: Datanalisis Pollster Dismisses the Firm’s Own Poll
November 30, 2007   En español

Risk of Deceptions in Venezuelan Referendum, CEPR Warns
November 28, 2007   En español

Lessons from Argentina: New Paper Looks at Economic Policy in Argentina's High-Growth Recovery
October 24, 2007   En español

New CEPR Paper Looks at Sustainability of Exchange Rate Targeting and Sterilization
September 25, 2007    En español

New CEPR Paper Looks At Venezuela's Economy During the Chávez Years
July 26, 2007   En español

Holding the World Bank Accountable for its Research: The Case of NAFTA

The World Bank and NAFTA 

Holding the World Bank Accountable for its Research:
The Case of NAFTA

Mark Weisbrot 

May 24, 2007 

Timeline

The recent controversy that led to the resignation of World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz highlighted the lack of accountability at the World Bank. But it is not only its governance that suffers from the fact that the Bank, with 185 member nations, is ruled primarily by the U.S. Treasury Department. There are also serious problems with the Bank's research.

Last year, the World Bank established a panel of economists to evaluate its research from 1998-2005, including nearly 4,000 papers, books, and reports. Among other problems, the panel had "substantial criticisms of the way that this research was used to proselytize on behalf of Bank policy, often without taking a balanced view of the evidence, and without expressing appropriate skepticism."

But sometimes the problems are even worse, as when the Bank publishes erroneous research results, which influence important policy debates, and then refuses to correct its errors. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) has tried to hold the Bank accountable for its research. In December 2003, the World Bank released a paper which purported to show that NAFTA had a positive influence on Mexico's economic growth. The paper was timed and indeed, rushed — to have an influence on the political debate. It was released on the final day of the CAFTA negotiations and coordinated to coincide with the 10th anniversary of NAFTA (January 2004), which brought a spate of newspaper articles on the agreement's impact.

The World Bank's results, now shown to be erroneous, influenced the public debate. For example, they were cited by a Washington Post column in December 2003 and the Washington Post editorial board in January 2004, in support of the newspaper's arguments for CAFTA. In March 2004, CEPR responded with a paper that highlighted errors in the paper that negated its results.

The correspondence and papers below, between CEPR and the World Bank, explain the details of the Bank's errors and why they matter. The bottom line is that, because of uncorrected errors in the Bank's analysis, their econometric results cannot support the claim that NAFTA had a positive effect on Mexico's growth rate. As of today, May 24, 2007, the Bank has still not retracted its conclusion or corrected this mistake.

Timeline

December 2003 — The World Bank publishes NAFTA and Convergence in North America: High Expectations, Big Events, Little Time (as Chapter 1 of Lessons from NAFTA for Latin America & the Caribbean).

March 2004 — CEPR publishes NAFTA at Ten: The Recount, which explains problems with the World Bank's methodology in NAFTA and Convergence in North America.

April 2004 — The World Bank posts a second version of NAFTA and Convergence in North America.

May 2004 — The World Bank posts a third version of NAFTA and Convergence in North America.

October 2004 — CEPR publishes Getting Mexico to Grow with NAFTA: The World Bank's Analysis, which explains the World Bank's methodological problems and errors that were not addressed in its subsequent versions of NAFTA and Convergence in North America.

November 2006 — The World Bank publishes The World Bank's Research on Trade Policy, 1998-2005: An Evaluation in which UCLA economist Sebastian Edwards reviews Lessons from NAFTA for Latin America & the Caribbean.

January 2007 — CEPR sends letters to Sebastian Edwards and François Bourguignon (World Bank's Chief Economist) reiterating the original concerns with NAFTA and Convergence in North America and asking for a correction.

March 2007 — CEPR receives a reply from the authors of NAFTA and Convergence in North America, and from Bourguignon, who defers to the authors.  The reply defends thepaper and does not acknowledge any errors.

April 2007 — CEPR responds, explaining again the errors that negate the World Bank paper's conclusions, and once again asking for correction.

 

For more information, please contact Dan Beeton at 202-293-5380 x104. 

 

IMF's Support for Coup Government in 2002 May Have Influenced Venezuela's Decision to Withdraw

May 1, 2007
En español

Economists Analyze Argentina's Economic Expansion at 5 Years
April 10, 2007

New Report Raises Doubts About IMF Growth Projections
April 4, 2007

Argentine Economist Roberto Frenkel Joins CEPR, Releases Paper on Central Bank Intervention
February 7, 2007

CEPR Looks at Economic Issues in Ecuador's Tight Presidential Election
November 21, 2006    En español

What Will A Second Term For Lula Look Like?
September 22, 2006    En español

Mexican Tribunal Releases More Information on Recount Data, After Announcing Decision
September 7, 2006    En español

CEPR Adds up Available Recount Data, Finds Significant Vote Reduction for Calderon
September 2, 2006   En español

CEPR Analysis Shows 'Adding Up' Problem for Half of Ballot Boxes
August 30, 2006   En español

Discrepancies and Lack of Transparency Mar Mexican Election Results
August 30, 2006

Analysis of Data From Mexican Election Recount Raises Serious Questions
August 8, 2006  
En español

Mexico's Electoral Commission's Partial Release of Data Raises More Questions
July 25, 2006

Electoral Commission’s Mistakes Undermine Credibility of Mexico's Election
July 5, 2006

Report Highlights Key Economic Issues In Mexico's Election
June 23, 2006

New Paper Explains Falling Poverty Rates in Venezuela, Corrects Misreporting
May 24, 2006

Bolivia Faces Good Prospects for Economic and Social Reform
March 14, 2006 En español

Economists Document Long-Term Growth Fall-Off for Developing Countries
September 21, 2005

Statement: Economic Arguments Surrounding CAFTA Remain Misunderstood
Statement by Mark Weisbrot, July 14, 2005

Poor Country Gains from Trade Greatly Overstated
November 18, 2004

Can Developing Countries Afford to Hold Dollar Reserves?
September 29, 2004

Study Finds Economists' Allegations of Fraud in Venezuelan Referendum to Be Groundless
September 20, 2004 

Venezuelan Referendum Highlights Problems With Polling and Elections
August 19, 2004

Alternative Economic Policies Would Aid Development
August 3, 2004

Bretton Woods’ 60th Anniversary

July 20, 2004

NAFTA at Ten: World Bank Study Found to be Flawed
March 1, 2004

Argentina’s President Kirchner Arrives Tonight for Meeting with President Bush
July 22, 2003


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