National Politics

Education, National Politics

What We Can Learn from Google


by Laura Ribeiro, MPA Candidate 2018

The news of Google’s downturn this past trimester shocked the world and raised serious questions about effective management and product delivery. Indicators on employee performance and financial returns tanked in an unprecedented way. When interviewed, the CEO argued that he wasn’t to blame for the bad outcomes, and that the government or the community should be held accountable for not supporting the enterprise.

Of course, the previous paragraph is a lie (don’t worry, Google is very much alive and well), but why don’t we see the same standards of efficiency and employee performance being set for our public education system? Why are our “school CEOs” so exempt of responsibilities? (more…)

Blog, Economy, Education, National Politics, Society

Saving the Lost Generation


by Isabela Messias, MIA candidate 2017 at SIPA

Brazil has been going through a lot lately: an impeachment process, a corruption scandal and an economic crisis that has plunged Brazilian GDP by 3.8 percent in 2015. Worldwide, a number of newspapers and TV channels have been discussing the crisis and its negative consequences for the country. Media outlets have mentioned the possible effects the crisis may have on Brazilian democracy, on the future economy, on investments, and on many other areas and sectors. (more…)

National Politics, Society

Facultative Voting and the Erosion of the Median Voter Theorem


by Álvaro Rossi, BA Candidate in Economic and Political Science, Columbia University.  

The year of 2016 has been a challenging one for political economists. From the unexpected results of the Brexit and Peace referendums in Great Britain and Colombia respectively, to the unprecedented election of real estate mogul Donald Trump as President of the United States, the past 11 months have presented some of the most unforeseen political events in the last years. Political economists, charged with developing theories behind voting behavior, were shaken with the collective political choices of 2017. (more…)

Blog, Economy, National Politics, Society, Uncategorized

Brazilians Have A Civic Role In Keeping the “Bolsa Familia” Program


By Marina Lafer, MPA Candidate at SIPA, Columbia University

In 2004, belonging to a social and economic environment in which people were constantly raising doubts over the efficacy of Lula’s policies as Brazil’s President, I remember myself having a bad – unsupported – impression over Bolsa Familia, a program that aims to provide small cash transfers[1] to extremely poor families, conditioned to keep their children in school and take them to preventive health check-ups[2]. At the time of its creation, I was only fourteen years old and had the conception that it was not addressing the poverty issue. Additionally, I believed that the amount of money spent on the program was too great and by compromising that investment with one policy, the Government left many public problems unattended. (more…)

Media, National Politics, Society

Confirmation bias and the impeachment: How social media in Brazil helped alienate public opinion


by Fernanda Nogueira, Co-Editor and Writer at Brazil Talk

Over 90% of Brazilians use social media to read the news, and 70% of them have Facebook as their main source[1]. It is a global trend, and it presents serious risks to public participation in politics, for the simple fact that one can select exactly what type of news one wishes to see. Even worse, based on your profile information, social media instruments now develop algorithms that determine what reaches your newsfeed, tailored to your tastes and beliefs[2].  This allows people to avoid opinions with which one would otherwise disagree. This conduct has led to an alienation of public opinion in Brazil and abroad and has divided people into very distant groups in face of recent events, such as the president’s impeachment, hindering real civic participation in such an important time.

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