Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

CGD Global Prosperity Wonkcast featuring Nora Lustig

Many governments try to reduce poverty and inequality through a mixture of taxes, transfers, and public services. Individual policies, such as taxation or cash transfers, are frequently evaluated on how well they address these goals. But the overall impact of a country’s fiscal policy package on poverty and inequality has rarely been subject to systematic analysis – until now.

Nora Lustig, a non-resident fellow at CGD and a professor at Tulane, has set out to close this gap with the Commitment to Equity Assessment or CEQ. I invited Nora to tell us about this new endeavor.

Nora explains that the CEQ is both a virtual toolbox – that is, a common analytical approach – and a global network of researchers who are applying this approach in a series of country case studies. CEQ partner institutions include Tulane University, the Inter-American Dialogue, and now CGD, which is helping to bring the approach and the case study findings to a broad international audience. These materials will be collected on a CEQ landing page that is part of the Center‘€™s ongoing work on inequality.

The assessment initially focused on Latin America, the region Nora knows best. But with encouragement and funding from the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the CEQ is growing rapidly to include countries in other regions, among them South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Tunisia, Armenia, Jordan, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.

What exactly can we learn from such assessments? Nora offers Brazil as an example. Brazil is reputed to be well-run and pro-poor in its policies, especially for direct taxes and cash transfer programs such as Bolsa Familia. However, throwing consumption taxes into the mix considerably darkens the picture of equity. Because Brazil lays heavy taxes on the goods that the poor purchase frequently, such as rice and beans, the CEQ analysis shows that overall taxation policies actually worsen poverty. (Interestingly, they do not worsen inequality, listen to the Wonkcast or read this new CEQ/CGD paper to find out why!)

I also ask Nora whether reducing the tax burden on the poor and near poor, as the CEQ analysis suggests should be done, may have reduced incentives for these people to hold their governments accountable, thereby undermining the quality of governance. Listen to the Wonkcast for Nora‘€™s intriguing reply, and examples of countries where the CEQ is already beginning to shape the policy dialogue.

My thanks to Kristina Wilson for recording and editing the Wonkcast, as well as providing a first draft of this blog post.

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The Materiality of Insurgency in the Colonial Andes

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The Stone Center recently agreed to co-sponsor Dr. Ananda Cohen-Aponte’s upcoming talk, “The Materiality of Insurgency in the Colonial Andres” which is scheduled for Thursday, October 29 at 5:00 PM via Zoom. The talk is part of the year-long “Representation and Resistance: Scholarship Centering Race in Western Art” lecture series organized by the Newcomb Art Department and co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Program and is also the 2020 Terry K. Simmons Lecture in Art History for this year.

Details can also be found here on the lecture series website:
https://liberalarts.tulane.edu/departments/newcomb-art/representation-and-resistance-scholarship-centering-race-western-art

Film discussion: "O Pai, O" - Carnaval and the intersectionality of oppressions in Salvador/Bahia

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Language: introduction in Portuguese Questions and comments welcome in Portuguese, English, or Spanish

Facilitators: Sílvia Lorenso, Associate Professor and Director, Middlebury School in Brazil Guimário Nascimento, History Teacher, Colégio Nossa Senhora Soledad, Salvador Tatiane Cerqueira, Mestre and PhD student at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, UFSC

Click here to access the film.
*Warning: Some scenes in the film contain graphic violence and sex.

Office of Study Abroad

"The Past is a Foreign Country" and "Landscape Fever" Premiere at New Orleans Film Festival

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS) and The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute (CCSI) at Tulane University will again sponsor several films in this year’s New Orleans Film Festival. We are excited to support a diverse mix of films, including several narrative features, documentaries, and experimental shorts. In addition, CCSI director Dr. Ana López will lead a series of Q&A’s with select directors.

“The Past is a Foreign Country” and “Landscape Fever” are Spanish-language short films directed by Gabrielle Garcia Steib, sponsored by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Via New Orleans Film Festival website:

The Past is a Foreign Country addresses the past as an idea of which we have control, particularly to discuss the intersection of communities in New Orleans with those in Latin America”.

Landscape Fever is a short film that addresses the narrative of a Honduran immigrant corroded by violence upon her path migrating to New Orleans. Using archival footage filmed along the U.S. / Mexican border, and sound designed by Udit Duseja merged with field recordings- the viewer may step into the world of a traumatic yet common experience that occurs among the borderlands.”

Individual passes are not available for short films. However, the NOFF offers a “Virtual Shorts Pass” for $55.00 that allows access to all short films. This pass can be purchased here

"Landfall" Premiere at New Orleans Film Festival

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS) and The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute (CCSI) at Tulane University will again sponsor several films in this year’s New Orleans Film Festival. We are excited to support a diverse mix of films, including several narrative features, documentaries, and experimental shorts. In addition, CCSI director Dr. Ana López will lead a series of Q&A’s with select directors.

Landfall, is an English-language Puerto Rican documentary film, directed by Cecilia Aldarondo.

Via New Orleans Film Festival website:
“A kaleidoscopic portrait of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane María, Landfall investigates a storm of much greater magnitude: the economic crisis crippling the island long before María arrived.”

Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute is sponsoring this film. More information and tickets are available here

Cuban Slavery and the Atlantic World

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The Gilder Lehrman Center‘€™s 22nd Annual International Conference provides a forum for discussion of the study of Cuban slavery and emancipation today, placing the island‘€™s history within the wider Atlantic world. Over the past few decades, the study of Cuban history has been an increasingly international effort. Cuban historians have interacted more and more with colleagues from abroad, with discussions grounded in the unique primary sources found in the rich Cuban archives. These scholars have demonstrated the importance of understanding Cuban slavery within the context of the Atlantic world and broad colonial networks of domination and resistance. This conference brings together scholars from Cuba and abroad working on the transatlantic slave trade, resistance, systems of control, abolition and emancipation, and the memory and legacies of slavery in Cuba. Join us for in-depth conversations about the present and future of understanding slavery and its long aftermath in this crucial part of the world.

"Verde" Premiere at New Orleans Film Festival

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The Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS) and The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute (CCSI) at Tulane University will again sponsor several films in this year’s New Orleans Film Festival. We are excited to support a diverse mix of films, including several narrative features, documentaries, and experimental shorts. In addition, CCSI director Dr. Ana López will lead a series of Q&A’s with select directors.

Verde, is a Spanish-language, Dominican feature film, directed by Alfonso Morgan-Terreno.

Via New Orleans Film Festival website:
“When a bystander is killed during the robbery of a goldmine, the spilled blood stains more than the three men responsible, saturating the tight-knit fabric of their tiny Dominican village, seeping into the landscape itself. In a feature debut that pairs clear-eyed observation with ghostly intelligence, Alfonso Morgan-Terrero takes a familiar story, a dark passage of revenge and bloodshed, and sinks its noirish elements deep into the texture of its surroundings: rough-hewn structures, alleys of broken rock bathed in grimy orange streetlight, and the enveloping green of the forest. Under the film’s hypnotized gaze, kinship, brotherhood, and enmity are blurred and masquerade as one another”.
-Jonathan Kieran.

Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute is sponsoring this film. More information and tickets are available here