Central America Regional Security Initiative Impact Evaluation Project

  • Córdova, Abby (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Survey research on public attitudes toward democracy and governance provides critical insight into the quality and stability of democracy in Latin America. The Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) has been a pioneer in the generation and use of high quality public opinion surveys. This project, initiated over twenty years ago, has been hosted by Vanderbilt University since 2004. LAPOP is directed by Mitchell A. Seligson, Centennial Professor of Political Science, who began systematic and regular surveys of Costa Rica in the 1970s and, as Latin America democratized, expanded this initial work into the rest of the Central American region, and then other Latin American countries. Unlike many other surveys that focus exclusively on the issues of the moment, the LAPOP surveys focus on the measurement of underlying values and behaviors that can lead to stable democracy. Our effort is to provide academically respected data and analysis that can not only be used by the academic community, but will provide a basis for sound decisions to be taken by policy makers, both in the host country governments as well as by bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, especially USAID. Moreover, the surveys are designed to serve as a measurement tool of program impact, an important example of which is the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) study. The CARSI impact evaluation study was designed and is coordinated by Dr. Abby Córdova, post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. The purpose of this agreement is to facilitate her continuing role as the coordinator of the CARSI project in Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama in her new capacity and employment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. The CARSI study evaluates the impact of USAID programs that are designed to increase neighbors' participation in crime prevention activities and to stimulate social cohesion in these communities. The working hypothesis of the programs can be situated within the literature on social capital. The expectation is to find that public safety will be improved by fostering neighbors' participation in community organizations and collaboration with their local governments in activities targeted at community improvement and at-risk youth development. To test this hypothesis, field experiments have been implemented in three Central American countries where USAID is currently executing crime prevention programs (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama).
Effective start/end date6/1/126/1/12


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