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How “smart” are Latin American cities?


  • Morgane De Halleux
  • Antonio Estache


This paper argues for the use of composite indicators to assess the “smartness” of the management of cities and illustrates it in a comparison of 6 large Latin American cities. The analysis is based on 6 dimensions commonly used to define city smartness in the recent academic literature in terms of technology, physical and human capital as well as policy. It quantifies each of these dimensions with relatively easily available public data to ensure the transparency of the evaluation and of its updating. The quantification required a normalization of the data and the computation of weighting factors for each indicator to delete redundant information since various dimensions used to characterize smartness in the literature are correlated. The results allow an evaluation of individual areas in which each city can improve as compared to best practice. The synthesis of these multiple dimensions into a composite single score index is then used to rank the cities on their overall performance as well. All performances are benchmarked against Amsterdam’s performance, considered to be best practice in many dimensions. The Latin American cities covered by the sample, including Santiago, the best regional performer, are found to significantly lag best practice, although on some dimensions, some of the cities do better than the benchmark.

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  • Morgane De Halleux & Antonio Estache, 2018. "How “smart” are Latin American cities?," Working Papers ECARES 2018-05, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/267226

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Estache, Antonio & Garsous, Grégoire & Seroa da Motta, Ronaldo, 2016. "Shared Mandates, Moral Hazard, and Political (Mis)alignment in a Decentralized Economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 98-110.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Wentao Xiong, 2017. "Urban Productivity in the Developing World," NBER Working Papers 23279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Amel Attour & Alain Rallet, 2014. "Le rôle des territoires dans le développement des systèmes trans-sectoriels d'innovation locaux : le cas des smart cities," Innovations, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 253-279.
    4. Amy Glasmeier & Susan Christopherson, 2015. "Thinking about smart cities," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 8(1), pages 3-12.
    5. Stephen Graham, 2002. "Bridging Urban Digital Divides? Urban Polarisation and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 39(1), pages 33-56, January.
    6. Lazaroiu, George Cristian & Roscia, Mariacristina, 2012. "Definition methodology for the smart cities model," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 326-332.
    7. Robert G. Hollands, 2008. "Will the real smart city please stand up?," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 303-320, December.
    8. Edward L. Glaeser & Wentao Xiong, 2017. "Urban productivity in the developing world," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 373-404.
    9. Amel Attour & Alain Rallet, 2014. "Le rôle des territoires dans le développement des systèmes trans-sectoriels d'innovation locaux : le cas des smart cities," Post-Print halshs-01062020, HAL.
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    économie urbaine; économie du développement;

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