I had not planned to go back to Mexico for my internship. In fact, by the time I decided to do it, I already had my visa in hand and was ready to go to India, according to my original plan.
After applying for an internship with the Institute for Economics and Peace, which meant going to Australia or New York, they finally said “hey, you should go to Mexico City” due to the number of projects and topics they had going on there. As a fortunate coincidence, the same happened with my application process with J-PAL LAC: “You can come to Chile but you really should go to Mexico City, we have a great project just starting” they said.
So, I ended up working with both organizations in a part-time AFE. The experience has been great and yet very different with each one of them.
With the Institute for Economics and Peace, I have been able to participate in the presentation of the Global Peace Index in Mexico and attend several meetings with relevant actors and experts on violence, conflict and peace. I now have an inside perspective on how the Global Peace Index and the Mexico Peace Index are developed every year and what are the global trends on violence.
But perhaps the most significant experience is that I had the opportunity to present the Mexico Peace Index in my hometown, Acapulco. To connect my local network with my international master’s program means a lot to me and draws a path back home afterwards.
With J-PAL, the project I work on is related to Prospera (formerly Oportunidades), perhaps the best known Mexican conditional cash transfer program. For the last two months we have been analyzing its very complex structure to find areas of improvement in terms of evaluation of impact and evidence based decisions. The methodological standards of J-PAL and the relevance of Prospera, have taught me a lot about policy design and the evaluation process.
Finally, doing my AFE in Mexico has also given me a glimpse into the topics and fields that I am studying, broadened my professional network and let me enjoy this huge, modern city.
J-PAL LAC was established in October 2009 to expand J-PAL advocacy work in Latin America and include Latin American researchers in the J-PAL network. Based at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, J-PAL LAC works to improve the effectiveness of social programs world-wide, by supporting researchers working on randomized trials and disseminating their results in order to provide policymakers with reliable information that can make their policies more effective.
The Institute for Economics and Peace is the world’s leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyze peace and to quantify its economic value. It does this by developing global and national indices, calculating the economic cost of violence, analyzing country level risk and understanding positive peace.