On the heels of her recent book, Foreign Investment, Development, and Globalization: Can Costa Rica Become Ireland? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), Professor of Economics Eva Paus was invited to give the keynote address at Costa Rica's National Association of Industry on June 29 and was interviewed by several media outlets while in Costa Rica.
Paus's book has triggered the interest of business and political leaders in Costa Rica, all the way up to the country's recently elected president, Oscar Arias, who is said to have Paus's book on his nightstand and met with Paus while she was in Costa Rica. Paus was interviewed by the country's main weekly business paper and a local radio station, and appeared on the television show Contrapunto (Counterpoint). The subject matter was always the same: In terms of economic policy and development policy, what can Costa Rica learn from Ireland? Paus's short answer is that Costa Rica needs proactive industrial policies and a coordinated development strategy, a new social contract, and additional sources of revenue, in the form of taxes.
While Costa Rica's policies--especially when it comes to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)--are being hotly debated within the country, Paus was able to comment without getting too specific. "I approached it by saying free trade alone won't solve the development problems. I had the advantage of being a foreign expert, without any political baggage, and I could refer to details of a success story--namely, Ireland," she said.
For Paus, the opportunity to talk directly with policy makers was a valuable experience. "Affecting policy makers is ultimately what we're interested in. Direct contact with them gives a greater feeling of relevance--of my book and what I've done."
Paus's book will be published in Spanish by the end of the year by the University of Costa Rica Press. "Having a broader audience gives me hope that it will make a difference in shaping policy in Costa Rica," Paus said.