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¿Qué políticas deben tener prioridad?

COLORADO SPRINGS – Cada día, funcionarios de todo el mundo se enfrentan a una diversidad apabullante de opciones. Cuanto más dinero dediquen, por ejemplo, a la educación, menos tendrán para mantener hospitales, combatir la contaminación o mejorar la productividad agrícola. Mientras grupos de presión, activistas y medios de prensa favorecen ciertas causas (los paneles solares, la lucha contra el virus del zika, la solución inmediata de vacíos legales tributarios), otros asuntos no tan candentes (como la nutrición o las enfermedades no transmisibles) pueden quedar desatendidos. Y en la mayoría de los países hay “vacas sagradas”: políticas o programas (por ejemplo, las pensiones estatales) intocables para cualquier político que no quiera arriesgarse al fin de su carrera pública.

Parte del problema es que cuando los gobiernos invierten en hacer análisis económicos, suelen estudiar la rentabilidad de una sola política, con independencia de cualquier otra, para decidir si conviene implementarla o no. Pero ¿qué ocurriría si examinaran varias opciones a la vez (por ejemplo, comparar la construcción de puentes con la compra de manuales escolares) para decidir a dónde dirigir nuevos fondos disponibles?

El mes pasado, el gobierno de Bangladesh se convirtió en el primero en probar esta idea a escala nacional, cuando el Centro de Consenso de Copenhague, que dirijo, colaboró con BRAC, la mayor organización de desarrollo del mundo, en un proyecto denominado Prioridades para Bangladesh. La idea era dar al gobierno del país y a los donantes información útil para determinar el modo más provechoso de usar recursos adicionales.

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