LATEST OPINION PIECES
On August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, gravely affecting the Departments of Sud, Grand’Anse, and Nippes. More than 2,200 people were killed, and houses, healthcare facilities and schools were destroyed. Rescue and relief responses were hampered by blocked roads, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the same area the very next day […]
The post Estimating the Potential Economic Impact of Haiti’s 2021 Earthquake appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Central banks in Latin America and the Caribbean have undoubtedly been part of the solution to our current crisis. Their prompt and effective reactions were made possible by the hard-won credibility that they gained in recent years. Behind those gains is the autonomy delegated to them to formulate and implement monetary policy to achieve their […]
It has been a traumatic year. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America and the Caribbean died and the economy spun into crisis. About 7.4% of GDP was lost—the single largest recorded fall in output in a single year. Lockdowns and restrictions on human movement led to negative shocks to both supply and demand, and trade and economic activity shrank. Governments provided economic relief, and tax revenues plummeted; fiscal deficits surged. The economic toll has […]
The post New Report Details the Economic Risks and the Opportunities for Stronger Postpandemic Growth appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has killed hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed livelihoods and is provoking a deep economic crisis. The New Year is a good time to take stock and try to understand the economics of the crisis. The new year may start with a hangover: The […]
The post On the Macroeconomics of Covid-19 and the Risks That Will Be Left in its Wake appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed a health and economic crisis. Countries are providing exceptional support to families and firms and suffering significant losses in public revenues. Debt ratios are rising. Getting fiscal policy right and maintaining financial stability will be key to ensuring a return to growth and avoid a lost decade in Latin America […]
The post Avoiding a New Lost Decade for Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
With a surging pandemic, income losses, and a deepening recession, Latin America and the Caribbean is facing a health and economic crisis that will test its financial systems like few events in modern times. The blow, however, can be softened. Banks as well as governments and central banks can play a crucial role, providing financing […]
The post Ensuring Financial Stability in the Battle against COVID-19 appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The year 2019 was the year anger over social issues took to the streets in Latin America and the Caribbean. Poverty and inequality in the region had fallen following the commodity boom of the 2000s, but more recent years of low growth brought that progress to a standstill. Mass frustration erupted. Amidst high youth unemployment […]
Over the last 15 years, Latin America and the Caribbean has made substantial progress in expanding the reach of its infrastructure. Tens of millions of people were connected to clean water grids for the first time, and access to electricity became nearly universal, with low-income and peri-urban areas able to experience the novel pleasure of […]
The post From Structures to Services: A New Vision for Infrastructure appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The Financial Times recently reported a sharp drop of lending from US banks to European countries. But this is best characterized as part of a wider deglobalization process. As national authorities urge banks to lend to firms within their borders and provide liquidity and guarantees for them to do so, global players are becoming less […]
“Oil is at a negative price, -US$37 a barrel.” Those were the headlines on April 20. A negative price for oil? That makes no sense many friends told me. To understand this, let’s take a few steps back. There are two standard prices for the global oil market. In the United States, a futures market […]
The post Negative Oil: What Is behind the Negative Oil Price? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The unprecedented conditions created by the spread of the coronavirus call for exceptional policy responses from the regional monetary authorities. Besides traditional tools such as interest rate reductions, central banks have been pursuing unconventional measures to avoid permanent consequences from a transitory, but potentially severe, negative shock. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, central banks […]
The post What Can Central Banks Do to Mitigate the Effects of the Coronavirus? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, have imposed severe human and economic costs around the world. Cases are growing in Latin America and the Caribbean and if there is one lesson from other countries it is that early action to stop the spread of the virus is key. A recent analysis suggests […]
The post Policies and Projections for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Time of Covid-19 appeared first on Ideas Matter.
As 2019 draws to a close, Latin America and the Caribbean faces at least four big challenges. First, growth this year is well below potential. Second, potential growth is low. Third, the region remains subject to large shocks. And fourth, despite recent gains, inequality remains high and aspirations are outstripping the meagre outlook, contributing to […]
The post Towards Inclusive Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The 1988 Basel I Accord created a level playing field for international banks in terms of a minimum recommended amount of capital.It was probably the most successful financial standard ever conceived. More than 100 countries claimed to have implemented the agreement, and in many countries it was applied to all banks. Basel II was agreed […]
The post Basel III and Financial Reforms: What Should Emerging Economies Do? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The outlook for the global economy has shifted from a situation of healthy, broad-based growth across the larger economic blocks to a more nuanced view of growth perspectives, with substantial risks clouding the horizons. Considering the 12 months from 2017 Q3 to 2018 Q3, growth in the United States was 3% but many suggest that this […]
The post Putting Latin America and the Caribbean’s 2019 Growth Prospects in Perspective appeared first on Ideas Matter.
On Sept. 15 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy heralding the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression. A couple of years after, I was at a conference and a senior (European) official gave a presentation entitled The Global Financial Crisis, Lessons for Latin America. I asked whether there was a typo. Shouldn’t that be […]
The post Banks and the Global Financial Crisis 10 Years On: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
As the global economy gains strength and Latin America and the Caribbean recovers from recession, the region is actually falling further behind, continuing to lose its share in global GDP and putting in jeopardy the aspirations of its growing middle class The reasons behind this are complex. But low investment and productivity are fundamental factors. They require […]
The post Latin America Needs Greater Investment and Productivity. This Is Why appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean has been disappointing. For commodity exporters, the exceptional 2002-2012 boom boosted investment and relaxed fiscal constraints, but many countries made little progress on improving underlying productivity and their medium-term growth potential. In other countries, particularly some in the Caribbean and Central America, negative shocks, combined with a lack […]
The post Boosting Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Global economic fundamentals appear to be strong. Yet, Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to grow at rather mediocre rates in the coming years. Given recent projections, the region’s share of global GDP will continue to decline. In last year’s Latin America and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report, Routes to Growth in a New Trade World, […]
An old Irish joke has a tourist in the rural west of Ireland asking a local if he knows how to get to Dublin. After a long pause and considerable thought, the local replies, “yes, but I wouldn’t start from here.” Unfortunately, with the highest overall fiscal deficit of any region of the world in […]
The post The Big Adjustment: Fiscal Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
On November 2, 2017, the Bank of England increased its policy interest rate from 0.25% to 0.5%. At the same time, it issued the sternest warning yet that Brexit would have a negative impact on the economy. The statement made the markets think that the economy was weaker than previously thought, or that the Bank […]
The post Rethinking Inflation Targeting: What Do the UK and Latin America Have in Common? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
As the October 2017 meetings in Washington wind down, the good news is that Latin America and the Caribbean is out of recession and set to grow at 1.2% this year. Only three countries (Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela—of the 26 borrowing IDB members) will post negative growth, as opposed to seven countries last […]
The post Macroeconomic Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
By Andrés Fernández, Daniel Hernaiz and Andrew Powell Most of the largest economies in Latin America have adopted inflation targeting . A huge advantage of having such an anchor, and not relying on a fixed exchange rate to curb diverging expectations, is that the exchange rate is then determined by the market and can adjust to […]
It never rains but it pours sometimes seems to be just too appropriate a motto for Latin America and the Caribbean. Just as Argentina and Brazil appear set to post positive growth this year, uncertainty regarding global protectionism and the prospects of higher U.S. interest rates could dampen growth prospects across the region, as explained […]
The post A New Trade World: Routes for Latin America and the Caribbean to Grow appeared first on Ideas Matter.
After the Brexit referendum and the US election, commentators on all sides have sparred over who are the winners and losers when it comes to trade. Most economists agree that more trade on the whole is good, but that its impact can vary dramatically. The relationship between trade and inequality is then less obvious. For […]
As Borges famously remarked, “Reality is not always probable, or likely.” So it seems in Latin America and the Caribbean: of all possible outcomes the one we have lived through is not the one many would have predicted. Moreover, as we look to the future, current forecasts display marked differences across countries and are […]
Many emerging economies, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, are facing growing debt, fiscal deficits and low growth. Given the direction of debt-to-GDP ratios, many countries are choosing “adjustment” to maintain sustainability. In this blog, I offer 10 priorities that might guide a period of Considerate Consolidation. Priority 1: Speed. If output is at […]
The post How to Adjust: 10 Priorities for Emerging Economies appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The UK is a country of just 242 thousand square kilometers (compared to Mexico’s 1.9 mn, Argentina’s 2.7 mn and Brazil’s 8.4 mn) located about 7,000 km from Barbados and more than 7,500 km from anywhere on the mainland of Latin America (it’s just over 7,500 km from London to Simon Bolivar airport, Caracas and […]
The post BREXIT: What Does It Mean for Latin America and the Caribbean? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The IDB’s 2016 Macro Report Time to Act outlines the tough policy conundrum facing the region: low growth to 2020, monetary policy—where it exists—limited by higher inflation and many countries being forced into pro-cyclical fiscal adjustment. What can countries do to boost economic activity, lower the risks of a high debt-low growth spiral and defend […]
The post The Policy Conundrum in Latin America and the Caribbean: Let’s Revisit the Trade Agenda! appeared first on Ideas Matter.
It’s Time to Act for Latin America and the Caribbean. The region is facing negative growth this year, some countries are facing very difficult economic conditions and others are faced with low growth that will do little to improve living conditions. How did we get here? What does the future hold? The 2016 Latin American […]
I returned home recently from another excellent “di Tella Summer Camp”. It’s no longer in the summer, it was not held in the Universidad Torcuato di Tella and it’s now called the Workshop in International Economics and Finance but the event is still going strong; this was the 19th year! Our extremely hospitable hosts were […]
The post Commodity Prices (Again): Permanent or Temporary Shocks? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
By Myriam Escobar and Andrew Powell In July 2015, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) committed to extend more than $400 billion in financing to developing countries over the next three years for longer term development aims. They also agreed to work more closely with private and public sector partners […]
What’s going on in Latin American and Caribbean economies? Growth keeps falling, but unlike the rest of the world, inflation keeps going up (see Figure 1). In this blog I outline two possible views. Policy choices—and what to expect in 2016 and beyond—may depend on the explanation. Some argue that advanced economies have entered a […]
The post Latin American and Caribbean Macro: Secular Stagflation or (Just) a Painful Transition? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Africa and the Middle East are hiring human traffickers and mounting rickety rafts each year to find a better life in Europe. Others are making the long trek North across deserts and over fences to enter illegally into the United States. At the IDB’s Annual Development Lecture, Princeton Professor […]
The post The Geography of Development: IDB Annual Development Lecture appeared first on Ideas Matter.
An Irish joke runs that a tourist, lost in the countryside, asks a local the way to Dublin. The Irishman ponders the question carefully and looks at the puzzled foreigner, and after a good while responds, “It’s complicated, I wouldn’t start from here.” And so it is with most sovereign debt restructurings, but does it […]
The post Debt and Money: Tales from Greece, Argentina and Puerto Rico and the Danger of Delay appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Banks in Latin America and the Caribbean have been through a lot. At times they have been culprits and, through excessive risk-taking or fraud, provoked crises, while at other times they have been victims as fiscal profligacy and/or currency crises lead to financial disaster. In some cases, the interaction between macroeconomic policies and financial sector […]
Commodity prices are very persistent. During booms we seem to forget that they have always (yes, always) been followed by busts (see Figure 1). And during a slump we forget that a boom is surely going to come along— we just have to wait long enough. What determines such booms and busts? Was the last […]
The post Commodity Prices: over 100 Years of Booms and Busts… appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The fiscal outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean is reminiscent of the story of Joseph, arguably the first documented fiscal policy advisor in the history of civilization. Asked to interpret the famous Egyptian Pharaoh’s dream, in which seven ugly and gaunt cows devoured seven fine and fat cows, Joseph predicted seven years of abundance […]
The post Joseph and the Seven Cows: A Parable for Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are running significant structural fiscal deficits and debt levels are rising. At current rates of growth, the unpleasant arithmetic of debt sustainability indicates that unless something changes the continent will soon lose its much heralded “improved fundamentals” and may even risk becoming the “continent of crises” once […]
The performance of the world economy has been disappointing to say the least. After the Great Moderation came the Great Recession, but since 2009 the world has been suffering from a Great Suppression (GS). In Japan, growth is being suppressed by a liquidity trap with interest rates firmly at the zero bound. In the Eurozone, […]
The post The Great Suppression: What should LAC Expect in the New Year? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
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Read Our Blog
Higher growth needed: The case of Latin America and the Caribbean Apr. 2018, with Eduardo Cavallo.
A new trade world: Routes for Latin America and the Caribbean to grow Apr. 2017, with José Juan Ruiz Gómez.
Identifying the risks from corporate currency mismatches in emerging economies Feb. 2016, with Julian Caballero and Ugo Panizza. 5766 reads
Commodity booms and busts: Evidence from 1900 to 2015. April 2015, 20422 reads.
The credit cycle and LatAm vulnerabilities April 2014, with Julian Caballero and Ugo Panizza. 15560 reads.
A new taxonomy of Sudden Stops: Which Sudden Stops should countries be most concerned about? August 2013, with Eduardo Cavallo. 17411 reads.
PUBLICATIONS BY TOPIC
SOVEREIGN DEBT, FISCAL POLICY, RATINGS AND RISK
"The Management of Risk in Developing Country Finance " The Oxford Review of EconomicPolicy, Autumn 1989.
"Securitization and Commodity Contingency in International Lending" with C.L. Gilbert and R.W.Anderson in American Journal of Agricultural Economics, May 1989. Availablehere
"The Political Economy of Public Savings and the Role of Capital Mobility ", with J. Aizenman,Journal of Development Economics, 1998, Vol 57. 67-95.
“The Argentine Crisis: Bad Luck, Bad Management, Bad Politics, Bad Advice”Brookings Trade Forum 2002 , Brookings Institution Press, 2003.
“Do credit rating agencies add value? Evidence from the sovereign rating business .” with Eduardo Cavallo andRoberto Rigobon, International Journal of Finance and Economics. July 2013. Vol 18, Issue 3 pp240-265.
“Is the Euro zone on the Mend? Latin American Examples to Analyze the Euro Question” with Eduardo Cavallo and Eduardo Fernandez-Arias, October 2014, Journal of Banking and Finance, Vol 47, pp243-257.
“Multilateral Development Bank Ratings and Preferred Creditor Status” with William Perraudin and Peng Yang. IDB Working Paper, July 2016,IDB-WP-697 (and ongoing).
“Sovereign Defaults: has the current system resulted in lasting (re)solutions?” (2016) with Rodrigo Mariscal, Guido Sandleris and Pilar Tavella. UTDT Working Paper 3/2015 versionhere(and ongoing).
“The Second Wave of Global Liquidity: Why are Firms Acting Like Financial Intermediaries?” with Julian Caballero and Ugo Panizza under revision. CEPR Working Paper version here. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2689148##
“A New Taxonomy of Sudden Stops: Which Sudden Stops should Countries be most Concerned About?” with Eduardo Cavallo, Pilar Tavella and Mathieu Pedemonto, March 2015, Journal of International Money and Finance. Vol 51. pp47-70. Available here .
“ Capital Inflow Surges in Emerging Economies: How Worried Should LAC Be ? with Pilar Tavella, Economia, Journal of Lacea, 2015, Spring. and IDB Working. Paper, no 326, August 2014.
" Volatility and Financial Intermediation " joint with Joshua Aizenmann, Journal of International Money and Finance, October 2003, vol. 22, iss. 5, pp. 657-679.
“ Capital Inflows and Capital Outflows: Measurement, Determinants, Consequences ” (2002) with Dilip Ratha and Sanket Mohapatra, UTDT Working Paper, 7/2002.
ON THE ROLE OF MULTILATERAL ORGANIZATIONS
"Liquidity Protection versus Moral Hazard: The Role of the IMF" joint with Leandro Arozamena, Journal of International Money and Finance, December 2003, vol 22, iss. 7, pp.1041-1063. Available here
“Countries with international payments’ difficulties: what can the IMF do?”, in, “ The IMF and its Critics ”. Cambridge University Press, 2004 (Feb). eds. C.L. Gilbert and D. Vines.
"Positioning the World Bank", with Christopher Gilbert and David Vines, Economic Journal. November 1999, vol 109, no 459, pp598-633. Available here
" The World Bank and Conditionality " with C.Gilbert, R. Hopkins and A. Roy, Journal of International Development, 1997, vol 9, no. 4.
“Can Emerging Country Bank Regulators Establish Credible Discipline? The case of Argentina, 1992-1999”, Joint with Charles Calomiris, in “Prudential Supervision” ed. R.Mishkin, NBER & Chicago Press, 2001 and NBER working paper 7715, 2000. Also available as NBER paper here
“The Importance of an Effective Legal System for Credit Markets: The Case of Argentina” (joint with Marcela Cristini and Ramiro Moya) in “Defusing Default”, Pagano, M (ed). (2001), John Hopkins Press, Washington DC. Also available as IDB Working Paper here
The use of credit bureau information in the estimation of capital and provisioning requirements" with Michael Falkenheim, in " Credit Reporting Systems and the International Economy ", edited by Margaret J. Miller, Chicago Press, - Fall 2002.
“Banking on Foreigners: The Behavior of International Bank Lending to Latin America, 1985-2000 ” joint with Maria Soledad Martinez Peria and Ivanna Vladkova Hollar. IMF Staff Papers. 2005. Vol 52 No 3.
“On the real dangers of Basel II for emerging economies ” (2005) paper presented at the conference on Globalization and Financial Services in Emerging Economies World Bank, 20-21 of June 2005, previous version on LAC published in Spanish as “ Implicaciones de Basilea II para América Latina ” by the Banco de España in Estabilidad Financiera, vol 6, 2004. pp149-172.
“Reforming Bank Capital Requirements: Implications of Basel II for Emerging Countries”, with Giovanni Majnoni. Economia. (Journal of Lacea) 2005. Available here
"On the use of portfolio risk models and capital requirements in emerging markets : the case of Argentina ", joint with Veronica Balzarotti and Michael Falkenheim, World Bank Economic Review 2002 16: 197-212.
“International banks, cross border guarantees and regulation ” with Giovanni Majnoni in International Financial Instability: Global Banking and National Regulation, eds: D Evanoff, G. Kaufman and J. LaBrosse, World Scientific Publishing, 2007 – from a Chicago Federal Reserve Bank Conference.
“The autonomy of banking subsidiaries: Latin America vs. Central Eastern Europe” with Julian Caballero and Yves Schuller. IDB. Mimeo. (and ongoing).
“Prudent banks or creative mimics, can we tell the difference ?” with Marcus Miller (Warwick) and Antonia Maier, IDB Working Paper. IDB-WP-284. (and ongoing).
"Commodity and Developing Country Terms of Trade, What Does the Long Run Show ?" Economic Journal, November 1991.
"Trading forward in an imperfect market: the case of electricity in Britain", Economic Journal 1993, 103, 444-453. Available here
"Pool prices, contracts and regulation in the British Electricity Supply Industry", Fiscal Studies, 1992, 13(1) 89-105. With Dieter Helm. Available here
“Commodity Price Booms and Breaks: Detection, Magnitude and Implications for Developing Countries” with Rodrigo Mariscal, IDB Working Paper Jan 2014. IDB-WP-444
“Estimating the direct economic damages of the earthquake in Hait i”, with Eduardo Cavallo and Oscar Beccera, The Economic Journal, July, 2010
“A new way of monitoring urban quality of life” with Eduardo Lora, IDB Working Paper Nov 2011 and WIDER Working Paper 12/2011 https://www.wider.unu.edu/publication/new-way-monitoring-quality-urban-life
“Financial Access and Household Financial Behavior in Mexico” with Miguel Szekely. Mimeo IDB. 2015. (and ongoing).
“The Economics of Natural Resources in Latin America” Ed. with Osmel Manzano and Fernando Navajas. Routledge. Available here
“Financial Systems to Make Savings Count” with Eduardo Cavallo. Chapter 3 of Savings for Development, IDB 2016 DIA Flagship Publication. Available here
“Time to Act: Latin America and the Caribbean Facing Strong Challenges” 2016 IDB Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report. Coord. Available here
“The Labyrinth: How Can Latin America and the Caribbean Navigate the Global Economy” 2015 IDB Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report. Coord. Available here.
“Global Recovery and Monetary Normalization: Escaping a Chronicle Foretold?” 2014 IDB Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report. Coord. Available here
“Rethinking Reforms: How Latin America and the Caribbean Can Escape Suppressed World Growth” 2013 IDB Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report. Coord. Available here
“The World of Forking Paths: Latin America and the Caribbean Facing Global Economic Risks” 2012 IDB Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report. Coord. Available here
“Taxing commodities with the future in mind” with Gustavo Garcia and Osmel Manzano, Chapter 10 of More than Revenues, IDB 2013 DIA Flaghsip Report. Available here
“The Quality of Life in Latin American Cities: Markets and Perception ”, Ed. with Lora, E., P. Sanguinetti and B. van Praag, 2010 Latin American Development Forum. IDB/World Bank.
“Urban Quality of Life: More than Bricks and Mortar” with Eduardo Lora and Pablo Sanguinetti, Chapter 8 of Beyond Facts: Understanding Quality of Life, IDB 2008 DIA Flagship Report. Available here