CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Working Paper by Nora Lustig: Scholars Who Became Practitioners

Scholars Who Became Practitioners: the Influence of Research on the Design, Evaluation and Political Survival of Mexico’s Anti-poverty Program Progresa/Oportunidades

By Nora Lustig, June 2011

Abstract
Celebrated by academics, multilateral organizations, policy-makers and the media, Mexico’s Progresa/Oportunidades conditional cash transfers program (CCT) is constantly used as a model of a successful anti-poverty program. Here I argue that the transformation of well-trained scholars into influential practitioners played a fundamental role in promoting a new conceptual approach to poverty reduction, ensuring the technical soundness and effectiveness of the program, incorporating rigorous impact evaluation, and persuading politicians to implement and keep the program in place. The involvement of scholars-practitioners also helped disseminate the new CCT “technology” to many countries around the world within a decade.

Find the complete working paper here.

Nora Lustig is the Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University and non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue (nlustig@tulane.edu). An earlier version of this paper was prepared for the international workshop “Scholars, Practitioners, and Inter-American Relations,” organized at the Center for International Studies, University of Southern California (USC), in Los Angeles, CA, on April 26-27, 2011.

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