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Contention and Negotiation in the Politics of Education Reform in Latin America

Tuesday June 25, 2019, at 15:00
Aula 24.120 (first floor). Mercè Rodoreda 24 building
Research seminar

Ben Ross Schneider (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Increasingly for economists, quality education should be a primary goal in any development strategy.  Many countries in Latin America have met the challenges of getting nearly all children in school.  However, the quality of education in most schools is very poor.  Why?  The short explanation is that potential pro-reform coalitions of parents, business, and development planners are weak, and reform opponents like clientelist politicians and teacher unions are consequently stronger.  Political shocks in Ecuador and Chile opened up opportunities for reform, while the lack of similar shocks in Mexico and other countries allowed reform opponents to win.  Closer examination of teacher unions reveals that some are political machines that are deeply threatened by education reform.

Seminar organised within the IBEI Research Cluster Institutions, Inequality and Development.

Ben Ross Schneider is the Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Brazil program. Prior to joining the department in 2008, Schneider taught at Princeton University and Northwestern University.

Professor Schneider's teaching and research interests fall within the general fields of comparative politics, political economy, and Latin American politics. His books include Reinventing Leviathan: The Politics of Administrative Reform in Developing Countries (2003), Business Politics and the State in 20th Century Latin America (2004), Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America: Business, Labor, and the Challenges of Equitable Development (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Designing Industrial Policy in Latin America: Business-Government Relations and the New Developmentalism (2015), and New Order and Progress: Democracy and Development in Brazil (Oxford University Press, 2016). He also has published on topics such as democratization, technocracy, education politics, the developmental state, business groups, industrial policy, and comparative bureaucracy.