Public works, Infrastructure & Corruption

  • Financed by: CAF, Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina
  • Duration: 2018 to 2020
  • Espacio Público Board members: Eduardo Engel. Investigator: Nicolás Campos

The consequences of the Odebrecht case allow for an opportunity to significantly progress the way public infrastructure is governed in Latin America. Ongoing investigation have revealed valuable information that allows, among other aspects, to identify which public sectors of government are more prone to conflicts of interest. In particular, Espacio Público’s research will analyse how corrupt agreements between both private companies and government officials were carried out via the collection and organisation of information. The purpose of the analysis is to propose improvements in the governance of the sector, aimed at increased productivity in regards to spending and minimising the capacity in which corruption occurs via better institutional practices. Thus Espacio Público seeks to contribute to the process of ensuring better institutional practices for a fairer, more democratic society.

Anti-corruption Observatory 2.0

  • Financed by: CAF, Development Bank of Latin America
  • Duration: 2018 to 2020
  • Espacio Público Board members: Luis Cordero, Advocacy Director: María Jaraquemada

Espacio Público considers it fundamental for democracy to carry out institutional reforms that attack the root causes of corruption in our country. For this reason, from 2015 to the beginning of 2018 we launched, alongside Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente– the Anti-corruption Observatory. A platform which initially followed up on bills and administrative provisions which led to the creation of bills against conflicts of interest, influence trafficking, and corruption; this was led by Espacio Público board member Eduardo Engel. The platform now, however, has expanded to include a board of professionals whom make proposals for submission in various areas of government. Some of the areas include local government reform, law enforcement and defence forces, anti-corruption and sanctioning, which will in turn be promoted to be brought into force via public policy.

Book publication on Anti-corruption Observatory

  • Financed by: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, KAS (Regional Progra Rule of Law)
  • Duration: August 2018 to August 2019
  • Espacio Público Board Members: Eduardo Engel, Investigators: Manuel Arís, María Jaraquemada

For many countries in the Latin American region, the measures put in place in Chile by the Engel commission, have elements that can be effectively used to also strengthen their integrity and transparency. Therefore, Espacio Público has published a book, which will compile the Chilean experience and the roll that the Anti-corruption Observatory has played as an advocacy and monitoring tool coming from civil society. It outlines both the background of the work of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Advisory Council with the aforementioned work of the Engel commission and the following actions promoted by civil society, such as the main approved reforms and its lessons and challenges. In doing so, we seek to document and systemise the Chilean experience, in order to inform civil society, decision makers, academics, and other relevant Latin American actors about Chilean anticorruption public policy. The book serves as a tool to better understand this process was carried out in Chile in Chile so it can then be used as a model for other Latin American countries that find themselves in a similar situation (open to be adapted in a local context) for the proposal and implementation of anticorruption public policies.


  • Financed by: BID, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Duration: 2018 TO 2019
  • EP board member: Eduardo Engel, Researher: Tomás Cortés

The Latin American Laboratory of Integrity and Transparency is made up by the “University of Chile’s Centre of Public Systems (CSP)” the “Mexican Institute of Competition (IMCO)” and the “The Colombian Foundation for Higher Education and Development (FEDESAROLLO). This project, which is an initiative by Espacio Público, aims to promote the regional cooperation for the implementation of a research agenda of public policies that is able to be adopted by policy makers and consequently legislative bodies. In terms of research agenda, Espacio Público has played an important role as a facilitator in the development of research on public procurement systems, lessons learnt from breakthrough cases, the dynamics of local government and their method selection, and the effective organisation of government officials.


  • Financed by: NED, National Endowment for Democracy
  • Duration: 2019 to 2020
  • EP Board Members: Eduardo Engel, Advocacy Director: María Jaraquemada

In 2017, Espacio Público created the Latin American Anti-Corruption Network (REAL) participation of the most important think tanks in 8 countries of the region (Chile, Guatemala, Colombia, México, Paraguay, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Peru). The members of the network have agreed to focus their work on the development of regional studies and reports and the generation of rigorous, standardized, comparable and useful evidence for decision making in the field of combating corruption. Thus, the objective of the network is to share experiences and exchange knowledge between the network members on how to combat corruption, an issue that affects the whole region.

The aim of the network for 2019 is to continue the anti-corruption advocacy actions in the region and to develop an innovative Latin American Anti-corruption Indicator, which will be a concrete contribution to the global debate on anticorruption. Furthermore, in January 2020 we will organize an international conference on corruption in Mexico, with the participation of policy experts, academics, politicians and civil society.

Investigative Journalism in Cuba

  • Funded by: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Time Frame: 2019 to 2020
  • Researchers: María Jaraquemada, Francisca Pinto

This project aims to strengthen the incipient independent media ecosystem in Cuba through the training of a new generation of journalists, who are interested in the consolidation of this ecosystem. In order to achieve this aim, we organize capacity building activities for these young journalists, we bring them closer to local and international networks and we encourage their participation and professional development in collaboration spaces. Assuring a permanent incorporation of young journalists to independent media, we contribute to the growth and consolidation of this independent media ecosystem. In that way, we assure the continuity of a critical way to inform (through chronicles and investigative journalism) on how government policies have an impact on Cubans´ daily life.

Sustainability and Natural Resources Area

Civil Society for Climate Action – SCAC

  • Time-frame: 2019-present
  • Espacio Público Board Members: Andrea Sanhueza, Investigators: Violeta Rabi

The Civil Society for Climate Action is a platform that includes more than 120 Chilean civil society organizations – academics, activists, environmentalists, root-based organizations, unions – that have joined to hold the Social Summit, an international parallel event to the official activities carried out in the next COP 25 in Santiago, Chile.

Throughout 2019, Espacio Público has had an important role in the organization of the platform, through self-management and collaborative work regarding the content and the program of activities to be developed during the Summit, the communication strategy and the preparation of milestones that have been positioning this platform in the public opinion on a monthly basis.

Likewise, and as part of the relationship with the City Council of Cerrillos -district that will host the COP 25 activities in December-, we are developing an Open University for the residents of the district, with dissemination and training courses on climate change and sustainability issues. During these activities, the SCAC organizations will debate and exchange their experiences, in order to deliver tools and knowledge on these issues to interested citizens and grassroots movements of the district. This is especially relevant as usually the best climate change and resilience expertise is limited and underrepresented in poor districts at sub-national levels.

Awareness campaign for Chile to sign the Escazu Agreement 

  • Time-frame: 2018- present
  • Espacio Público Board Members: Andrea Sanhueza & Valentina Durán, Investigators: Violeta Rabi

Since 2012, Chile and Costa Rica have carried out negotiations in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to create a binding agreement regarding environment and human rights, regulating the rights of access to information, participation and environmental justice. In 2018, the Escazú Agreement was ready to be signed and, despite the important role that Chile played in the entire process, the Chilean government ruled out its signature. Based on that, and perceiving the importance of environmental democracy in managing environmental projects, combating the climate crisis and preventing the degradation of ecosystems and socio-environmental conflicts in Chile, Espacio Público, together with other environmental organizations, have developed communication and advocacy strategies, such as sending letters to authorities, media campaigns, organization of forums and seminars, to promote the signing of this important Agreement. These actions have made possible to position the issue on the national agenda and increase the awareness of the authorities and general citizenship regarding the contents of the Agreement and the importance of its signature for Chile.


Latin America Compact for Migration Observatory

  • Funded by: AVINA
  • Time Frame: 2019
  • Researches: Manuel Arís, Pablo Valenzuela

This project consists in the design and implementation of a Regional Observatory that follows the accomplishment and implementation of Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

This Observatory aims to impulse the fulfillment of these compacts in Latin American countries where this initiative will be implemented, with a pilot in Chile and Mexico. To do so, we generate verifiable indicators regarding the Compact objectives, a best practices bank and training workshops regarding public policy design and implementation related with the compacts. The project also foresees the creation of a permanent dialogue platform and a local and regional advocacy tool for migrants’ organizations, NGOs and Think Thanks related with the subject. The observatory will be implemented through a user-friendly webpage where it will be possible to track the progress of each country regarding the Compact’s Fulfillment.

Public Budget and Human Rights in Chile

  • Funded by: Human Rights Under secretariat, Ministry of Justice from Chile
  • Time Frame: 2019
  • Director: Andrea Repetto, Verónica Undurraga. Researcher: Manuel Arís, Francisca Pinto.

The human rights approach on public budget has gradually gained prominence on Tax Policy discussions. This approach considers between its main elements the capacity to generate resources to fund social programs and policies, resources redistribution to reduce inequalities trough taxes and strengthening of the accountability between the State and citizens. This project, entrusted to Espacio Público from the Human Rights Under Secretariat of the Ministry of Justice, covers a synthesis of the Chilean regulation regarding the budgetary period cycle (at a local and central level), a synthesis of compared cases studies (OECD countries and Latin America) and the analysis of present and absent elements in the human rights approach in practice. Finally, the project will include strategic recommendations and techniques for the budgetary period


Intervention in the Chilean Secondary Technical Education System

  • Time Frame: 2019 – 2020
  • Researchers: Camila Arroyo, Fernando Moscoso

The Technical Secondary Education in Chile serves 38% of the total number of students enrolled in the differentiated cycle, concentrating very particularly students with low socioeconomic status and low performance. It is known that men account for 80% of the enrollment of industrial specialties (electricity, metal constructions, automotive mechanics, etc.), while women represent 80% of the technical specialties (kindergarten, nursing, hospitality, food services, etc.), the latter being those that show lower profitability and returns in the labor market. Women then tend to choose specialties with less demand and worse wages. And while there are no institutional restrictions for choosing a specialty, it is clear that there are both male and female specialties.

With the aim of understanding the above, Espacio Público will conduct a quantitative study (based on administrative data) that explores the effect of three mechanisms that may be influencing women’s choice of technical specialties: first, role models, where the student identifies through gender with their parents, teachers and peers, subordinating their vocational choices to theirs; second, the expectations that these same agents transmit about gender, influencing this way in the students’ elections; and third, the characteristics of the different specialties, which through their labor structure make the role associated with being a working woman more or less compatible.


Survey 2018 of Espacio Público and IPSOS
Chileans nowadays: challenging preconceptions and enabling a more complex discussion

  • Time Frame: 2018 and 2019
  • Director: Eduardo Engel, Researcher: Manuel Arís

Opinion surveys have partially measured citizenship assessment on public policies, since they have only aimed to identify approval or reprobation for some of those policies. Even though this information is a first approach for this matter, it is superficial and incomplete.

Therefore, it is necessary to obtain information about how citizens live public policies in their daily life and know which are their main concerns and motivations. Ultimately, being capable to measure their perception on the quality of public and private services.

For the second consecutive year and in collaboration with IPSOS, the leading firm in market research, we aim to identify how public policies (designed at a macro social level) affect on people´s daily life (micro social level). This means that we seek to explore the effect of public policies on the perception about quality of life, avoiding common abstractions that are not directly related with citizen´s immediate real problems. Therefore, this survey tends to map the discomfort, abuse experiences and resignation from public and private services users, but also the positive aspects and successful experiences from services that are worth to highlight.