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February 27, 2023

Democracies Need Robust Evidence: The Mexican Evaluation System

Event Series: Spotlight on the Americas

4 women and a child talking about the importance of nutrition

Despite the relatively strong performance of economic indicators in Latin America in the first decades of the twenty-first century, many policymakers and government leaders were caught by surprise as citizens took to the streets to express their discontent with the political and economic systems and governing elites. These decision-makers often defined poverty through a one-dimensional measure of income, rather than fully capture the experience of poverty and socioeconomic needs of a population through other important measures of economic progress. The Georgetown Americas Institute welcomed Gonzalo Hernandez, director of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, to talk about the importance of establishing national poverty indices that are multidimensional, official, and permanent, pointing to Mexico as a case study. These indices bring forth citizens' needs in dimensions beyond income such as health, education, and living standards (among others), and they allow policymakers to better design effective policies to reduce poverty. The conversation was moderated by Alejandro Werner, director of the Georgetown Americas Institute.

Read the event summary here.


Gonzalo Hernandez is the director of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN-OPHI), where he coordinates 61 countries and 19 international institutions to advance and exchange ideas about implementing multidimensional poverty indicators. He is also an expert for country-led evaluations working for UNICEF. He was the executive secretary of the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Policy (CONEVAL) between 2005 and 2019, where he coordinated measurement and evaluation of social policy's impact on poverty at the national, state, and municipality level in Mexico. Gonzalo was part of the 15 Independent Group of Scientists who wrote the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report for the United Nations. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Oxford University, M.A. in economics from the University of Essex and a B.A. from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

Alejandro Werner (moderator) is the founding director of the Georgetown Americas Institute and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He recently completed almost nine years as director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that appointment, he was undersecretary of finance and public credit in Mexico’s Finance Ministry and held several positions in that ministry and the Central Bank. He also taught at leading universities in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in economics from ITAM.