Working Group on Development
and Environment in the Americas

Working Group Discussion Paper Series | GDAE Globalization Program

The Working Group on Development and Environment in the Americas, founded in 2004, brings together researchers from Latin American countries to study the social and environmental impacts of economic liberalization. The goal of the Working Group Project is to contribute empirical research and policy analysis to the ongoing policy debates on national economic development strategies and international trade. Hosted by Tufts' Global Development and Environment Institute, the Working Group Project has completed three projects, with a fourth in progress.

WGEnvironmentCoverGlobalization and the Environment:
The first Working Group project, on the environmental impactsof trade liberalization, produced the policy report, Globalization and the Environment: Lessons from the Americas, which also appeared in Spanish. Based on a detailed set of case studies, which were collected into a book in Spanish, the report makes clear that economic liberalization has a poor record in promoting economic growth and environmental protection.

Globalization and Foreign Investment:
WG FDI Report coverForeign investment is perhaps the most sought-after prize in trade negotiations, yet evidence suggests that trade agreements do not always bring foreign capital, and that foreign investment does not always spur economic development nor environmental improvements. The group produced a 2008 policy report (in English, Spanish, and Portuguees) and a book in 2009, Rethinking Foreign Investment for Sustainable Development: Lessons from Latin America, with a foreword by Jose Antonio Ocampo compiling the detailed case studies. In 2011, group members Lyuba Zarsky and Leonardo Stanley published "Searching for Gold in the Highlands of Guatemala: Economic Benefits and Environmental Risks of the Marlin Mine."

WG Ag Report CoverGlobalization and Agriculture:
Based on seven detailed case studies, researchers analyze the limited promise of export agriculture for development and document the perils to small-scale farmers from rising imports. The report,The Promise and the Perils of Agricultural Trade Liberalization: Lessons from Latin America, was published in 2008, and the case studies were published in book form in Spanish in 2009.

China in Latin America: Environmental and Developmental Dimensions:
WG China in Latin America coverThis collaborative study brought together a unique group of natural and social scientists from across the Americas to conduct policy-oriented research on the environment and developmental impacts of Chinese trade and investment in Latin America. The Working Group conducted country case studies of China’s environmental footprint in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. The synthesis report, China in Latin America: Lessons for South-South Cooperation and Sustainable Development, was released April 15, 2015, along with the eight case studies. (Click here for more information.) This is a joint project of the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University and the Global Economic Governance Initiative at Boston University, in collaboration with Latin American institutions.

This web page is hosted by the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University in the United States, one of the sponsors of the Working Group.
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