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Mark Crain, William E. Simon ’52 Professor of Political Economy, and his wife, Visiting Professor Nicole Crain, traveled to Guatemala this month to contribute to a dialogue on the institutions and legislation needed to promote the developing democracy of Guatemala. Hosted by the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM), they met with scholars, business leaders, and government officials and appeared on two radio shows. Prensa Libre, the largest newspaper in Guatemala, interviewed the professors and published an article discussing their research.

During the weeklong visit, Mark Crain presented research entitled “Institutions, Public Policy and Economic Success in U.S. States” before the Fourth Interunivesity Seminar, which included participants from all ten Guatemala City universities. The research details the lessons that can be learned by the variations across U.S. state institutions, an expansion of the work in his recently published book Volatile States. Former president Francisco Flores of El Salvador was among the other speakers at the seminar, which was organized by UFM professor Carroll Rios de Rodriguez.

At the seminar Nicole Crain presented analysis based on research she completed with Mark Crain. Her presentation, “How to Confront International Terrorism? The Economic and Political Impact of Terrorism,” was followed by a panel discussion on whether public policy causes or deters terrorism and violence. Participating on the panel with Nicole Crain was Julio Godoy Anleu, the current Guatemalan vice-minister of security.

Nicole Crain also delivered the inaugural lecture of the security and defense course organized by the Security Council of the Ministry of Defense. She spoke on the economics of national security, discussing national security strategy and budgeting and performance measures, before roughly 70 civilian and military members of the defense community. At the conclusion of her address the Guatemalan National Ministry of Defense presented her with a Diploma de Reconocimiento from Brigadier General Edgar Sanchez.

The Crains engaged in academic discussions with members of the highly regarded Centro de Estudios Economico-Sociales, or Center for Social and Economic Research (CEES). Roberto (Bobby) Rios ’57 is the executive director of CEES, which was founded in 1959 by Manuel F. Ayau, UFM’s founding rector, and a group of friends, including Antonio Aycinena, Ernesto Rodriguez Briones, Imrich Fischmann, Enrique Matheu, Enrique Garcia Salas, and Alejandro Arenales Catalan. The current president of CEES is Giancarlo Ibarguen S.

In addition, the Crains lectured before UFM undergraduate and graduate students on strategic analysis, using empirical work to illustrate the theoretical aspects of the discussion. Throughout the week they had informal meetings with business leaders to discuss public policy, including the Central American Free Trade Agreement and potential constitutional reforms that might offer policy stability. Of particular note, the Crains met with a leading Guatemalan industrialist who has been successful in promoting public policies to discuss and advise on the institutions necessary to inhibit protectionism and the economic cost of security related to narco-trafficking.

Categorized in: Academic News