LATEST OPINION PIECES
With a long history of recurrent and costly debt crises, Latin American governments have long sought to find a way to curb the fiscal deficits that stoke the debt problem. Those efforts gathered steam over the course of the 2000s when numerous governments in the region began adopting fiscal rules, which seek to curb politicians’ […]
The post Fiscal Rules for a Debt-Plagued Region appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Latin America and the Caribbean faces a punishing economic landscape. Fiscal deficits and debt levels have risen as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and with monetary policy tightening in the United States and Europe, the era of cheap and easy financing is over. In this ever more thorny […]
The post Persistent Fiscal Deficits May Lead to Disaster for Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
After significant efforts by Latin American and Caribbean governments to shore up businesses and households during the COVID-19 pandemic, the region in 2021 had a very high average fiscal deficit of 5% of GDP, more than two percentage points higher than before the pandemic. It also had a soaring average debt ratio of 70% of […]
The post Tackling Informality for Fiscal Health in the Post-Pandemic Period appeared first on Ideas Matter.
After a robust economic recovery last year from the lows of the pandemic, Latin America and the Caribbean faces strong headwinds from potential new coronavirus variants, inflation-fighting efforts in advanced economies, and the war between Russia and Ukraine that could depress world growth and even push the region into recession by 2023. Riding a […]
The post From Pandemic to Inflation and War: Challenges for Policymakers in Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
As COVID-19 struck in early 2020, governments across Latin America and the Caribbean moved decisively through transfers, credits and other means to shore up their economies and support families and firms. That swift governmental action did much to alleviate suffering. But in the midst of falling revenues, fiscal deficits increased substantially, rising on average from […]
The post Preserving Public Investment During Fiscal Adjustments appeared first on Ideas Matter.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted one the largest and most intricate economic disruptions in modern history. Latin America and the Caribbean, with 8% of the world’s population but more than 25% of its deaths, was particularly hard hit, and unfortunately, the war against the virus is far from over. Even before the health crisis subsides, […]
The post Productivity Growth at the Sectoral Level and the Road to Recovery from COVID-19 appeared first on Ideas Matter.
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.
Part of our “behind the scenes” series of posts for our 2020 flagship publication From Structures to Services: The Path to Better Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean Recent news items indicate that in 2020, Chile is experiencing one of the most significant droughts in its history; the province of Córdoba, one of Argentina’s […]
The post The False Choice of Renewable Energy appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Part of our “behind the scenes” series of posts for our 2020 flagship publication From Structures to Services: The Path to Better Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean By their very nature, disruptive technological changes are difficult to predict. However, there is a consensus that the efficiency gains linked to increased digitalization of infrastructure […]
The post Digitizing Infrastructure Services Brings More Inclusive Growth appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Part of our “behind the scenes” series of posts for our 2020 flagship publication From Structures to Services: The Path to Better Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean Improving the quality, efficiency, and productivity of water, power, and transportation could have significant benefits for economic growth and income distribution. In a recent blog, we […]
The post The Importance of Good Regulations: When Investing Well Is Not Enough appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Part of our “behind the scenes” series of posts for the 2020 flagship publication From Structures to Services: The Path to Better Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean When we think about infrastructure’s contribution to the region’s economies, we look at the direct effects’ investment in bridges, airports, and power grids have on growth. […]
The post How We Measure the Productivity and Efficiency Gains of Improving Infrastructure Services appeared first on Ideas Matter.
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.
Natural disasters are different from pandemics. They cause death, displacement, and destruction of physical capital, and unlike a pandemic, their effects are brief and confined to the areas affected. The literature shows that natural disasters impact growth in the short term. But how quickly do countries recover? The outcomes are surprising, and they show how […]
The post What Experiences with Natural Disasters Can Teach about Recovering from the Pandemic appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The Covid-19 pandemic is different both in nature and in magnitude from the financial crises that have afflicted the region repeatedly in the past. However, the experience of previous crises can provide lessons to help make the recovery from the pandemic more vigorous. Specifically, we should learn from the successes of the Brady Plan of […]
The post Baker or Brady: Lessons of Past Financial Crises for the Pandemic Recovery appeared first on Ideas Matter.
A silver lining that has emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic is that CO2 emissions have decreased dramatically during the lockdowns. But that this is not necessarily good news for climate change. Emission levels are likely to return to previous levels once the lockdowns are lifted because there have not been any structural changes in climate-related […]
The post Climate Change is a Threat to Economic Growth and to Reducing Income Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Financial markets are in turmoil with the spread of COVID-19 and its consequences for the global economy. Emerging markets suffer particularly acutely in times of financial uncertainty, as global investment portfolios shift to safer asset classes. This means that the COVID-19 shock is creating a “sudden stop” in capital flows for emerging markets. The costs […]
The post Latin America has experienced sudden stops in the past. The coronavirus takes the challenge to a new level. appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The crash on the New York stock exchange in 1929 brought depression to the world. That is probably why when the global financial crisis broke in 2008, some observers thought the contagion originating in New York would again spread south, causing a collapse in Latin America and the Caribbean. But that didn’t happen. Why? The region’s internal situation in […]
The post How Can Latin America and the Caribbean Avoid the Next Financial Crisis? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Policymakers in Latin America and the Caribbean may be keenly aware that the region’s crumbling roads, inefficient energy systems, and inadequate water and sanitation hold their countries back. But efforts to improve these and other infrastructure services get the short end of the stick. When governments reduce fiscal deficits, they consistently shortchange capital spending on […]
The post When Improving Infrastructure Can’t Wait 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.
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, […]
The post Forthcoming IDB Report: A Mandate to Grow appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Policymakers in emerging economies have long suffered sudden stops, those paralyzing episodes in which foreign credit dries up. Such episodes can cause painful domestic adjustments that exact significant losses in GDP. But not all sudden stops are equal, and they do not all inflict the same amount of pain. Take the case of Latin America. […]
The post What Are the Antidotes to Sudden Stops? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
As Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean and the United States, leveling homes, crippling energy and water systems, and putting ports and airports out of commission, government officials looked ahead to the immense relief challenges that lay in store. First, they had to take stock: What sectors of the economy were most devastated? And where […]
The post Big Data and the Pursuit of Better Disaster Relief appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The lashing rains and 185-mile-per-hour winds pounding the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma; the toppled homes and flooded streets in Texas and Louisiana from Hurricane Harvey, with its tens of thousands of people made homeless and billions of dollars in property losses: it’s hard to imagine things getting much worse. Unfortunately, they almost surely will. If […]
The post Bracing for Impact: Preparing Nations for Natural Disasters appeared first on Ideas Matter.
They are like exhibits in a gallery of dread: the Tequila Crisis of 1994; the Asian and Russian crises of 1997 and 1998, and the global financial crisis of 2008. They represent moments when foreign investors pulled away from Latin America and the Caribbean; when foreign credit and investment were withdrawn and the region suffered. […]
The post Financial Integration: Friend or Foe of Low-Saving Countries? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Over the last three months, tens of thousands of demonstrators have poured into the streets of Brazil’s major cities, blocking roads, clashing with police, and bringing public transport to a halt in protests in which pensions loom large. But Brazil’s pension crisis, which has the government trying to raise the minimum retirement age and workers […]
The post When Poorly Designed Pensions Threaten the Future appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Taxation and savings are inextricably linked. While taxation puts more money in the government’s hands, it also decreases private savings by leaving people and firms with less income to save, invest, and grow the economy. Despite this clear relationship, the negative impact of taxation on private savings is often the blind spot when policymakers tackle […]
The post Rethinking Taxation to Protect Savings appeared first on Ideas Matter.
They are whipped by hurricanes, lashed by storms and crippled by earthquakes. A report compiled by the United Nations, taking into account exposure to natural events and a society’s response, found four nations of the region (Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua) to be among the world’s 15 nations most at risk from natural […]
The post Natural Disaster Insurance: Why Don’t More Countries Have It? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti in 2010, killing more than 220,000 people and leaving 1 million homeless, governments and multilateral organizations gathered in New York to pledge an unprecedented $10 billion in emergency aid and long-term reconstruction. “Our goal is not to rebuild. It is to build back better,” […]
The post Natural Disasters: How Nations Build Resilience appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Life is full of people who never save, spend like sailors, and find from one day to the next that they’ve maxed out on their credit cards and must cut back on their lifestyle and even long-term investments like their children’s education. Countries are similar. Nations that don’t save sufficiently and finance investment with borrowing […]
The post When Too Much External Borrowing to Finance Investment Gets Dangerous appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Investing in infrastructure is crucial for a country’s economic performance and growth prospects. In fact, it not only can make a difference in people’s everyday lives by providing better roads and schools, but it can actually save lives. During the last decade, Chile and Haiti provided two contrasting examples of this in the face of […]
The post What Does Saving Have to Do with Resilience to Natural Disasters? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Once again Chile has been hit by a natural disaster. A powerful earthquake measuring 8,4 on the Richter scale has caused panic, material losses, and irreparable loss of life among the Chilean population. It would seem, however, that so far the death toll and material losses have been relatively low considering the magnitude and duration […]
The post Fuerza Chile appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The destruction was colossal, the after-shocks harrowing. Nepal’s April 25th earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, leveled large parts of the country, reduced ancient city centers and mud-brick villages to rubble, and left much of the nation in chaos. More than 5,000 people died, more than 10,000 were injured, and tens of thousands lost […]
The post Foreign Aid for Disasters: Never Enough appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Is Greece poised to default on its debt? What happens when its bailout program expires at the end of the month? Will it pull out of the Eurozone? Analysts around the world are betting on a “Grexit,” including Former-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan who suggested “it’s just a matter of time” until the Eurozone countries, led […]
The post Tango Lessons for Greece? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
By Eduardo Cavallo, Eduardo Fernández-Arias and Andrew Powell This week, the IMF cut its growth forecasts for the Eurozone by 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points for 2015 and 2016, prompting it to cut its global economic growth forecasts by a similar magnitude. Clearly, economic expectations are turning increasingly pessimistic. The reasons that could explain this “economic pessimism” are broad […]
The post Latin America’s Advice to Europe: Be Decisive! appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The Welfare Gains from Macro-Insurance Against Natural Disasters. Co-authored with Eduardo Borensztein and Olivier Jeanne. Journal of Development Economics (forthcoming).
Price and Supply Disruptions during Natural Disasters. Co-authored with Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon. Review of Income and Wealth, Volume 60, Issue S2, November 2014, Pages: S449–S471
Catastrophic Natural Disasters and Economic Growth. Co-authored with Sebastián Galiani, Ilan Noy and Juan Pantano. The Review of Economics and Statistics, December 2013, Vol. 95, No. 5, Pages 1549-1561.
Estimating the Direct Economic Damages of the Earthquake in Haiti. Coauthored with Andrew Powell and Oscar Becerra. The Economic Journal, Volume 120, Issue 546, pages F298-F312.
Natural Disasters and the Economy — A Survey, Coauthored with Ilan Noy. International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics: Vol. 5:No 1, pp 63-102, 2011.
The Aftermath of Natural Disasters: Beyond Destruction. Co-authored with Ilan Noy. CESifo Forum 2/2010, pages 25-35.
Debt Sustainability under Catastrophic Risk: The Case for Government Budget Insurance. Coauthored with Eduardo Borensztein and Patricio Valenzuela. Risk Management and Insurance Review, 2009, Vol. 12, No. 2, pages 273-294.
Foreign Aid in the Aftermath of Large Natural Disasters. Co-authored with Ilan Noy and Oscar Becerra. Review of Development Economics, 18(3), 445-460, 2014.
Where is the Money? Post-Disaster Foreign Aid Flows Co-authored w/ Oscar Becerra and Ilan Noy. Environment and Development Economics, volume 20, issue 05, pp.561-586. ( web appendix ).
International Finance and Macroeconomics
Does Openness to Trade Make Countries More Vulnerable to External Crises, or Less? Using Gravity to Establish Causality. Coauthored with Jeffrey A. Frankel. Journal of International Money and Finance, Volume 27, Issue 8, December 2008, pages 1430-1452.
Openness to Trade and Output Volatility: a Reassessment. Economía (Journal of LACEA), Volume 9, Number 1, Fall 2008, pages 105-152.
Financial Development and TFP Growth: Cross Country and Industry Level Evidence. Coauthored with Francisco Arizala and Arturo Galindo. Applied Financial Economics, Vol 23 (6), pp. 443-448 (2013). Research Department Working Paper No. WP-682.
The Determinants of Corporate Spreads in Emerging Markets: An Option-Adjusted Spreads Analysis. Coauthored with Patricio Valenzuela. International Journal of Finance & Economics, Vol. 15, Issue 1, January 2010, pages 59–74.
Exchange Rate Policy and Liability Dollarization: What Does the Data Reveal About Causality. Coauthored with Pelin Berkmen. Review of International Economics, Volume 18, Issue 5, November 2010.
Do Credit Rating Agencies Add Value? Evidence from the Sovereign Rating Business. Co-authored with Andrew Powell and Roberto Rigobon. International Journal of Finance & Economics, 18: 240-265 (2013).
Public Investment in Developing Countries: A Blessing or a Curse? Coauthored with Christian Daude. Journal of Comparative Economics, Volume 39, Issue 1, March 2011.
The Role of Relative Price Volatility in the Efficiency of Investment Allocation. Co-authored with Alejandro Izquierdo, Arturo Galindo and John Jairo Leon. Journal of International Money and Finance, Volume 33 (2013) 1-18.
Coping with Financial Crises: Latin American Answers to European Questions. Co-authored with Eduardo Fernández-Arias. Revue internationale de politique de développement [En ligne], 4.1, 2013. URL: http://poldev.revues.org/1252; DOI : 10.4000/poldev.1252 Also available as IDB Policy Brief, No. IDB-PB-176. Inter-American Development Bank.
Is the Euro-zone on the Mend? Latin American Examples to Analyze the Euro Question.Co-authored with Eduardo Fernández-Arias and Andrew Powell. Journal of Banking and Finance. Volume 47, October 2014, Pages 243–257. Previous version available through IDB-WP-525.
A New Taxonomy of Sudden Stops: Which Sudden Stops should countries be most concerned about?, joint with Andrew Powell, Pilar Tavella and Mathieu Pedemonte. Journal of International Money and Finance, Volume 51, 2015, 47-70. Previous version available through IDB-WP-430.
Precautionary Strategies and Household Saving, joint with Joshua Aizenman and Ilan Noy. Open Economies Review, 2015, Digital Object Identifier(DOI) 10.1007/s11079-015-9351-2. Previous version available through NBER WP# 21019.
What is the relationship between national saving and investment in Latin America and the Caribbean . w/ Mathieu Pedemonte. Economía (Journal of LACEA), volume 16, issue 2, pp29-53, Spring 2016.
Is Business Saving Really None of Our Business?, joint with Ricardo Bebczuk. Applied Economics, volume 48, issue 24, 2016.
The Politics of Financial Development: The Role of Interest Groups and Government Capabilities. Coauthored with Carlos Scartascini and Oscar Becerra. Journal of Banking and Finance, Volume 36, Issue 3, March 2012, pages 626-643.
Are Crises Good for Long Term Growth? The Role of Political Insitutions. Coauthored with Alberto Cavallo. Journal of Macroeconomics 32 (3), September 2010, pages 838-857.
Argentina 2002: when the attempt to set the right prices destroyed property rights. Coauthored with Domingo F. Cavallo. (September 2002). Techniques Financières et Développement N°70, mars 2003.
Books and Chapters
"Building Opportunities for Growth in a Challenging World" 2019 Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report. Eduardo Cavallo and Andrew Powell, Coordinators. (En español: "Construir oportunidades para crecer en un mundo desafiante")
"A Mandate to Grow," 2018 Latin American and Caribbean Macroeconomic Report. Eduardo Cavallo and Andrew Powell, Coordinators. (En español: "La hora del crecimiento")
"Saving for Development: How Latin America and the Caribbean can Save More and Better," Development in the America's (DIA) 2016. Eduardo Cavallo and Tomas Serebrisky, Editors. Video of the presentation.
"Saving for Development: How Latin America and the Caribbean can Save More and Better," Development in the America's (DIA) 2016. Eduardo Cavallo and Tomas Serebrisky, Editors.
"Dealing with an International Credit Crunch: Policy Responses to Sudden Stops," Eduardo Cavallo and Alejandro Izquierdo, 2009. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank.
"Why Credit Matters for Productivity," co-authored with Arturo Galindo and Alejandro Izquierdo. In The Age of Productivity: Transforming Economies from the Bottom-Up, Carmen Pagés, Editor, Chap. 6, pp. 123-151. Washington, DC: 2010 IDB Report "Development in the Americas". Palgrave, Macmillan.
"Can Countries Rely on Foreign Saving for Investment and Economic Development?," co-authored with Barry Eichengreen and Ugo Panizza. HEID Economics Working Papers, 07-2016.
"Gone with the Wind: Demographic Transitions and Domestic Saving," co-authored with Gabriel Sánchez and Patricio Valenzuela. IDB Working Paper No. 688.
"The Mystery of Saving in Latin America", co-authored with Oscar Becerra and Ilan Noy. IDB Working Paper No. 615.
" Quid Pro Quo: sudden stops and commitment " Coauthored with Andrés Velasco and Roberto Chang.
" Debt Sustainability Fan Charts: Combining Multivariate Regression Analysis and External Forecasts." Draft for Comments. Coauthored with Francisco Arizala, Christian Castro and Andrew Powell.
Blog Posts and Press
Foreign savings: No gain, some pain, VoxEU.org, 8/8/2016.
Fixing the Saving Problem in Latin America and the Caribbean, VoxEu.org, 7/29/16.
El Ahorro como Política de Estado, CNN Chile, 14 de junio de 2016.
La economía de desastres naturales: Posibles escenarios financieros tras un terremoto, Ekos Negocios (Ecuador), 14 de junio de 2016.
What Does Saving Have to Do with Resilience to Natural Disasters?, IDEAS que Cuentan, 4/1/2016.
¿Qué tiene que ver el ahorro con la capacidad de recuperarse tras un desastre natural?, IDEAS que Cuentan, 4/1/2016.
Fuerza Chile , IDEAS que Cuentan, 9/18/2015.
Foreign Aid for Disasters: Never Enough, IDEAS que Cuentan, 4/30/2015.
¿Por que ahorramos?, IDEAS que Cuentan. 04/09/2015.
Precautionary strategies and household saving , Voxeu.org, 04/01/2015.
Tango Lessons for Greece?, IDEAS que Cuentan. 2/12/2015 .
Latin America's Advice to Europe: Be Decisive!, IDEAS que Cuentan. 1/22/2015.
A new taxonomy of Sudden Stops: Which Sudden Stops should countries be most concerned about?, VoxEu.org, 4/3/2013.
Save More to Improve Infraestructure in Latin America and the Caribbean, VoxEU.org, 4/3/2013.
Ahorrar mas para invertir en infraestructura, VoxLACEA.org, 3/22/2013: video
Atención con los Desastres Naturales..., VoxLACEA.org, 1/21/23.
Coping with Financial Crises: Latin American Answers to European Questions, VoxEU.org, 10/17/2012.
Interview with Radio Fisherton CNN Rosario, Natural Disasters and Growth (in spanish): Audio
Los grupos de interés y las capacidades gubernamentales importan para el desarrollo financiero, VoxLACEA.org, 09/06/2012.
What Matters for Financial Development?, VoxEU.org, 05/12/2012.
The Economics of Natural Disasters, IDEA Newsletter, volume 22. July 2010.
Interview with CNN en Español: February 27, 2010 Earthquake in Chile: video
Interview with CNN en Español: January 12, 2010 Earthquake in Haiti: video
Interview with "El Economista", Mexican newspaper (in spanish): "Productividad, amarrada al financiamiento". 07/19/2010.
Debt Management in Latin America: How Safe Is the New Debt Composition? IDB Policy Brief No. IDB-PB-109.
"How Safe is Latin America Debt?", VoxEU.org, 02/24/2010.
Interview with "Brasil Economico" (in portuguese): "Dívida da América Latina não é imune a choques externos". 03/07/2010. Also available in the printed version.
Dealing with an International Credit Crunch: Lessons from Latin America, RGE Global Monitor, April 1, 2009. Also in: Dealing with the crisis: Lessons from Latin America, VoxEU.org, March 29, 2009. Also in IDEA Newsletter, volume 18. April 2009.
The Case for Optimism amid the Crisis, RGE Global Monitor, Feb 21, 2009.
Do Ratings Matter? RGE Global Monitor. October 21, 2008.
Public Investment in Developing Countries: Blessing or Curse? RGE Global Economic Monitor, Latam Blog. July 02, 2008.
How to Spend $10 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean. RGE Global Economic Monitor, Latam Blog. November 6, 2007.
Getting Ready for the Next Catastrophe. RGE Global Economic Monitor, Latam Blog. August, 29 2007.
The Cost of Financing. RGE Global Economic Monitor, Latam Blog. August, 7 2007.
A Thought on Private Investment. RGE Global Economic Monitor, Latam Blog. July, 25 2007.
Seguro contra la próxima tormenta. El Financiero de Costa Rica, Lun 26 mar, 2007 - Dom 1 abr, 2007.
Promoting Financial Stability. IDEAS Express, IDB, October 2006.