RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Res authors Detail

PRINCIPAL ADVISOR
ANDREW POWELL
ANDREW POWELL

Andrew Powell is the Principal Advisor in the Research Department (RES). He holds a Ba, MPhil. and DPhil. (PhD) from the University of Oxford. Through 1994 he dedicated himself to academia in the United Kingdom as Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and Associate Professor (Lecturer) at London University and the University of Warwick. In 1995, he joined the Central Bank of Argentina and was named Chief Economist in 1996. He represented Argentina as a G20/G22 deputy and as member of three G22 working groups (on crisis resolution, financial system strengthening and transparency) in the late 1990’s. In 2001, he returned to academia, joining the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires as Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in Finance. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the World Bank, IMF and Harvard University. He joined the IDB’s Research Department in 2005 as Lead Research Economist in 2008 and served as Regional Economic Advisor for the Caribbean Region until returning to the Research Department as the Principal Advisor. He has published numerous academic papers in leading economic journals in areas including commodity markets, risk management, the role of multilaterals, regulation, banking and international finance. Current projects include new papers on capital flows and corporate balance sheets, on sovereign debt restructuring and on the preferred creditor status of multilateral development banks.

LATEST OPINION PIECES

On the Macroeconomics of Covid-19 and the Risks That Will Be Left in its Wake

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.

Avoiding a New Lost Decade for Latin America and the Caribbean

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.

Ensuring Financial Stability in the Battle against COVID-19

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.

Amidst the Pandemic, A Battle for Inclusion

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 […]

The post Amidst the Pandemic, A Battle for Inclusion appeared first on Ideas Matter.

From Structures to Services: A New Vision for Infrastructure

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.

Covid-19 and the Deglobalization of Banking

The Financial Times recently reported a sharp drop of lending from US banks to European countries.[1] 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 […]

The post Covid-19 and the Deglobalization of Banking appeared first on Ideas Matter.

Negative Oil: What Is behind the Negative Oil Price?

“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.

What Can Central Banks Do to Mitigate the Effects of the Coronavirus?

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.

Policies and Projections for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Time of Covid-19

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.

Towards Inclusive Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean

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.

Basel III and Financial Reforms: What Should Emerging Economies Do?

The 1988 Basel I Accord created a level playing field for international banks in terms of a minimum recommended amount of capital.[1]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.

Putting Latin America and the Caribbean’s 2019 Growth Prospects in Perspective

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.

Banks and the Global Financial Crisis 10 Years On: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean

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.

Latin America Needs Greater Investment and Productivity. This Is Why

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.

Boosting Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean

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 […]

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Forthcoming IDB Report: A Mandate to Grow

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, […]

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The Big Adjustment: Fiscal Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean

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.

Rethinking Inflation Targeting: What Do the UK and Latin America Have in Common?

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.

Macroeconomic Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean

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 […]

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Interest Rates are Falling, But Not So Fast

By Andrés Fernández, Daniel Hernaiz and Andrew Powell Most of the largest economies in Latin America have adopted inflation targeting [1]. 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 […]

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A New Trade World: Routes for Latin America and the Caribbean to Grow

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.

Trade: Winners and Losers in the North and South

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 […]

The post Trade: Winners and Losers in the North and South appeared first on Ideas Matter.

Living in the Age of Uncertainty

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 […]

The post Living in the Age of Uncertainty appeared first on Ideas Matter.

How to Adjust: 10 Priorities for Emerging Economies

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 […]

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BREXIT: What Does It Mean for Latin America and the Caribbean?

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 […]

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The Policy Conundrum in Latin America and the Caribbean: Let’s Revisit the Trade Agenda!

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.

Time to Act: Macroeconomic Report 2016

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 […]

The post Time to Act: Macroeconomic Report 2016 appeared first on Ideas Matter.

Commodity Prices (Again): Permanent or Temporary Shocks?

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 […]

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MDBs: Constraining Times

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 […]

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Latin American and Caribbean Macro: Secular Stagflation or (Just) a Painful Transition?

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.[1] Some argue that advanced economies have entered a […]

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The Geography of Development: IDB Annual Development Lecture

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 […]

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Debt and Money: Tales from Greece, Argentina and Puerto Rico and the Danger of Delay

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.

Boring Banks, Safe Economies?

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 […]

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Commodity Prices: over 100 Years of Booms and Busts…

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 […]

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Joseph and the Seven Cows: A Parable for Latin America and the Caribbean

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 […]

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Time to Adjust: But How, and When?

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 […]

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The Great Suppression: What should LAC Expect in the New Year?

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.

On VOX.EU

          Higher growth needed: The case of Latin America and the Caribbean Apr. 2018, with Eduardo Cavallo.

          Inflation targeting and interest rate procyclicality in the UK and in Latin America Nov. 2017.

          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

PUBLICATIONS BY TOPIC

SOVEREIGN DEBT, FISCAL POLICY, RATINGS AND RISK

CAPITAL FLOWS

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.

BANKING

  • “MONETARY POLICY AND ANTI‐CYCLICAL BANK CAPITAL REGULATION” with Roger Aliaga‐Díaz and María Pía Olivero Andrew Powell. Economic Inquiry Volume 56, Issue 2 April 2018 Pages 837-858. Paper here

  • “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.

COMMODITY MARKETS

INSTITUTIONAL PUBLICATIONS

  • “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