RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Res authors Detail

RESEARCH ECONOMIST
RAZVAN VLAICU
RAZVAN VLAICU

Razvan Vlaicu is a senior research economist at the Inter-American Development Bank's Research Department. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University in 2006. He previously taught economics at the University of Maryland, and held short-term positions at the Kellogg School of Management and the World Bank. His research interests are applied microeconomics, political economics, and public economics. His research has been published in academic journals including Review of Economic Studies, American Political Science Review, and Journal of Public Economics.

LATEST OPINION PIECES

Can Democracy Reduce Inequality?

Despite two decades of social policies targeting poverty and inequality, Latin America remains one of the most economically unequal regions in the world. Recurrent protests motivated by economic grievances have been a regular reminder of this reality. The ongoing health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately harmed already vulnerable populations, undoing some of […]

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Have Lockdowns Been Effective in Latin America?

As Latin America registers more than 5.5 million infections and more than 220,000 deaths from Covid-19 in mid-August – currently highest among the regions of world – it becomes important to ask why lockdowns there haven’t been more effective. After all, mobility restrictions have exacted a heavy economic toll, hurting businesses, eliminating jobs, and aggravating […]

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Boosting Urban Mobility in Latin America during COVID-19 Lockdowns

Daniel Delgado used to have a straightforward bus commute. But with Lima under lockdown due to COVID-19 and infection rates high on public transport, the bus he usually took seemed too risky and slow. As a “guachimán” (security guard) in a building in the San Isidro neighborhood, Daniel had to find an alternative. Working with […]

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Prospering After the Lockdown: A Matter of Trust

With the coronavirus pandemic threatening lives and well-being, most governments in Latin America and the Caribbean have imposed strict limits on social interactions to better manage the contagion. After two months under lockdown, however, the toll on the region’s economies is apparent. Nearly half of households report job losses and most businesses have either closed […]

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Covid-19: Threats and Opportunities for Democracy

The Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the globe will likely have a deep impact on many developing countries, hitting their economies even harder than those of advanced countries. Its toll, however, is likely to extend far beyond the economy. Developing countries, like those in Latin America and the Caribbean, apart from weaker economies, also have more fragile […]

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The Psychology of Support for Trade

Is free trade beneficial to Latin America and the Caribbean? Most economists believe it is. Free trade allows countries to specialize in what they do best, developing competitive advantages and leading to greater consumer choice and lower prices. Most citizens seem to agree. An IDB-commissioned poll, included in the cross-regional Latinobarómetro survey, finds popular support […]

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What Can Restore Latin Americans’ Faith in Democracy

Four decades ago, people in Latin America cheered as one after another dictatorship fell and gave way to democratic systems, with free elections, uncensored  expression, and increasingly independent institutions. That transition, a part of the third wave of democratization, transformed Latin America and the Caribbean from a place of oppressive military regimes into the most […]

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Does Happiness Sway Elections?

Economic performance has long been considered key to voter behavior. “It’s the economy, stupid,” said a campaign strategist for Bill Clinton, cementing a view that a government’s economic record is what voters care most about. But too much emphasis on the economy may be missing other, no less consequential, factors. A recent study by George Ward […]

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What Do Voters Want: Help or Skills?

Boosting skills is essential for entering the ranks of the richest nations. Better education and skills, most economists agree, generate the innovation and productivity that lift countries from middle-income to high-income levels such as those enjoyed by the United States and the wealthiest nations in Europe and Asia. Indeed, along with rule of law and […]

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Do Term Limits Benefit Voters?

When allies of President Horacio Cartes tried to force an amendment through Paraguay’s congress last year to allow him to run for a second term, rioters took to the streets and set fire to Congress, illustrating in particularly dramatic fashion the sharp divisions around term limits. Cartes eventually decided not to run again, but he […]

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How the Right to Vote Sparks Political Interest

Little more than half of the respondents captured in the latest regional survey of Chile-based Latinobarómetro thought democracy was the best form of government – a ten-year low that indicates weakness in Latin America’s democracies. But does this mean citizens are losing their interest in voting, democracy’s most sacred right? In a recently published study, […]

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The New Free-Market Fervor in Latin America

Latin American countries have a history of veering from left to right in economic affairs: from support for state-driven economic development to support for free markets. But a recent survey shows an upswing in ordinary citizens’ enthusiasm for capitalism. And it begs the question as to why and how long-lasting the phenomenon might be. The […]

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How Political Polarization Holds Latin America Back

There are countries where there is a great deal of consensus on issues of national importance, and countries where that consensus is lacking, where the population is divided, distrustful of political opponents, and unwilling to compromise. The latter are polarized societies, and their cleavages lead to worse outcomes in a whole gamut of areas, ranging […]

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Can Mandatory Voting Improve Democracy?

A healthy democracy requires widespread voting and an informed electorate. But by those standards many, if not most, democracies are ailing. In the United States, less than 60% of the voting age population turned out to vote in the 2016 presidential elections. Even so, many voters have little idea of the basics of the U.S. […]

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Why Do Politicians Buy Votes?

Since the first exchange of a drachma for a vote in Athens more than two-and-a-half thousand years ago, politicians have practiced the well-honed, if crude, art of vote buying. Today their inducements range from liquor, gas and cash in the United States to cash, grain, and washing machines in large parts of Africa, Asia, Latin […]

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