RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Res authors Detail

RESEARCH ECONOMIST
Matias Busso
MATIAS BUSSO

Matias Busso is a Lead Economist in the Research Department at the Inter-American Development Bank. He is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS) and a member of the executing committee of the Network of Inequality and Poverty of LACEA. His research uses empirical evidence and theory to inform the design of more effective public policies in areas related to labor, education, productivity and urban economics. Matias received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 2008. He has published articles in the American Economic Review and The Review of Economics and Statistics, among others.

LATEST OPINION PIECES

Ensuring Demand for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Nearly a million people have died of COVID-19 in Latin America so far, and the region is still struggling to get enough vaccine supply to protect the lives of its citizens. While Chile has fully vaccinated around 40% of its population, roughly comparable to the United States, only between 9% and 18% have received their […]

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Montesquieu’s Mistake, or Why Inequality Doesn’t Have to Be Part of the Latin American DNA

It is often noted that Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws is the book that sets forth the concept of branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. Through his influence on the French liberals, Montesquieu is one of the key figures of the 1789 French Revolution, whose cry was “Freedom, Equality, Fraternity.” There is, however, […]

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Not the Usual Recession: Why Inequality after Covid-19 May Get a Lot Worse

It is tempting to view the severe economic downturn of the Covid-19 pandemic through the same lens as other recessions that have struck Latin American and the Caribbean over the last three decades. Most of those previous events, after all, led to increases in poverty and unemployment, much as the current crisis has done. But […]

The post Not the Usual Recession: Why Inequality after Covid-19 May Get a Lot Worse appeared first on Ideas Matter.

Understanding Social Unrest in Latin America

The last quarter of 2019 shocked Latin America with massive demonstrations on the streets of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and other countries. Protesters had many demands, but there was a common theme: equal treatment, better opportunities for all, and a more level playing field. Why did these perfectly valid demands erupt like a volcano after two […]

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Combating Inequality in the Covid-19 Era

Latin America and the Caribbean is the world’s most unequal region, after sub-Saharan Africa, and income inequality there is getting worse as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the expected long-term effects of the pandemic, inequality is likely to continue worsening for many years to come if the right policies are not put […]

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Covid-19: The Challenge of Ensuring Assistance to Informal and Vulnerable Workers

Few measures could be more important during the current Covid-19 pandemic than ensuring that the poor and vulnerable can eat, buy medicine and pay for other basic needs as they endure a months-long shutdown essential to protecting public health. But in Latin America where about half the population works in the informal economy, that is […]

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Pandemic and Inequality: How Much Human Capital Is Lost When Schools Close?

Schools are closed in Latin America. Around 154 million children between the ages of 5 and 18 are at home instead of in class. It is not clear how long these closures will last, and there is a good reason for that: Schools provide a perfect environment for the spread of viruses. Students are typically […]

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Social Distancing, Informality, and the Problem of Inequality

With more than a million people infected and tens of thousands of deaths around the world, governments are taking extreme but necessary measures to contain the coronavirus, prioritizing in almost all cases some form of social isolation or distancing. But the economic costs for everyone are not the same. The disease lays bare societies’ inequalities, […]

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A Nobel Prize for Development: A Look From Inside the IDB

The awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer hits close to home for several reasons. First, in bringing “an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty,” as the Nobel committee said in its Oct. 14 announcement of the prize, these distinguished economists have changed the way we […]

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Promoting Competition to Boost Welfare Through Social Programs

Since the mid-1990s, governments in Latin America have used conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to reduce poverty, improve health, and boost school enrollment for tens of millions of people. But like any social program that increases income and hence demand, CCTs pose their own risks if they allow for goods and services to be purchased in […]

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When an Excess of Small Firms Hurts Productivity

Policymakers have long accepted the central role of innovation in spurring aggregate productivity and growth. They have looked at the arrival of new systems of organization and new technologies, from the steam engine to electricity and the internet, as catalysts to material progress in the modern age. But in doing so, they may have underestimated […]

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Latin America, the Caribbean and PISA: The Long Road Ahead

Over the last 25 years, Latin American and Caribbean nations have bet heavily on education as a route to more equitable and prosperous societies. Today, the region spends on average 3 percentage points more of its GDP on education than in the early 1990s, with spending fast approaching levels in the developed world. Enrollment in […]

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When Information on Higher Education Narrows the Skills Gap

Higher education in Latin America has achieved some impressive gains over the past quarter century. An elite system consisting of at most a few dozen traditional universities in each country has radically transformed to include hundreds of new professional institutes, technical and vocational schools. At the same time, enrollment has soared. Between 1992 and 2012, […]

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Keeping Kids in School

Over the last 25 years, Latin America has ramped up investment in education in a full-fledged effort to reduce poverty and spur economic growth. Today, primary school attendance is nearly universal, with three out of four children finishing primary school on time. At the secondary school level, meanwhile, the rate of on-time graduation has soared […]

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Take Obama’s Advice on Climate Change: Droughts Are Hurting Latin America

After his visit to Argentina last week, Barack Obama posted on Facebook a picture of a beautiful landscape in Patagonia where he went trekking along glacial lakes, as an example of what he called “exactly the kind of place we need to protect for our kids, and for their kids.” Climate change is high on […]

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Did You Get Your Shots? In Rural Communities in Guatemala a Simple Reminder Improved Health

By: Matias Busso and Julian Cristia  Take a moment to recall the last time you forgot someone’s birthday. When was the last time you were at the grocery store and forgot that one crucial ingredient for dinner? How many times have you been locked out in the past year? A good memory is undoubtedly important for […]

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How to Keep Kids in School

By Marina Bassi and Matias Busso Each year tens of thousands of young Latin Americans drop out of school to take low-skilled jobs. The low-level of graduation, with less than 50% of 24-year-olds having completed secondary school, is not only a stumbling block for individuals destined to lives of menial labor.  It is a drag on the region’s […]

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Publications