The failure of the Misiones on poverty reduction

November 14, 2016

José Ramón Morales, Douglas Barrios - Caracas Chronicles

Social policy planners in Venezuela today are like field doctors in a war zone: if they actually stopped to register emotionally the devastation all around them, they’d never be able to get any work done. Today, Venezuela is undergoing the most brutally painful economic and social calamities probably since the Federal War. Sitting around feeling horrible about it, though, is not a luxury policy planners can afford.

Venezuela - Project Syndicate

Restructuring Debt in the Dark

October 6, 2016

Ricardo Hausmann & Mark Walker - Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – As the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank begin in Washington, DC, one member country is conspicuously absent: Venezuela. Yet there is much to be discussed about the country’s finances. Indeed, a sovereign-debt crisis is inevitable.

What the world can learn from Argentina's holdout saga

What the world can learn from Argentina's holdout saga

May 26, 2016

Eduardo Levy Yeyati - Vox/CEPR

As Argentina’s protracted and litigious restructuring saga comes to an end, it is natural to ask what lessons the world can draw from this contentious process. While a close look reveals that Argentina’s ordeal has been fairly idiosyncratic, and hence less influential than most people think, the 15-year-long script yields important, albeit unexpected, lessons. Here’s a list.

Learning without Theory

Learning without Theory

March 30, 2016

Ricardo Hausmann - Project Syndicate

How can we improve the state of the world? How can we make countries more competitive, growth more sustainable and inclusive, and genders more equal?

One way is to have a correct theory of the relationship between actions and outcomes and then to implement actions that achieve our goals. But, in most of the situations we face, we lack such a theory, or if we have one, we are not sure that it is correct. So what can we do? Should we postpone action until we learn about what works? But how will we learn if we do not act? And if we act, how can we learn whether we did the right thing?

In Argentina's Economy, It Takes Three to Tango

February 26, 2016

Eduardo Levy-Yeyati for Bloomberg View

With inflation ticking up and strikes on the horizon, critics of Argentina's President Mauricio Macri are sharpening their attacks on his economic policies. The truth is, however, that the new president came into office with few good -- much less easy -- choices, and is so far making the best of them.

When Macri delivers his much-anticipated speech to launch the 2016 session of Congress on March 1, you can expect to hear a lot about "legacy" -- a buzzword that, in the Argentinean context, refers to the economic mess bequeathed to him by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The Kirchner legacy is indeed complex, encompassing important long-term factors such as a run-down infrastructure, a fat and ineffective public sector and lagging public education. But its short-term policy implications could be reduced to a simple trilemma: Correct the exchange rate, reduce inflation, and grow.

The Import of Exports

November 26, 2015

CAMBRIDGE – Should a country’s development strategy pay special attention to exports? After all, exports have nothing to do with satisfying their people’s basic needs, such as education, health care, housing, power, water, telecoms, security, the rule of law, and recreation. So why give precedence to satisfying the needs of distant foreign consumers?

Does Capitalism Cause Poverty?

August 21, 2015

Ricardo Hausmann - Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Capitalism gets blamed for many things nowadays: poverty, inequality, unemployment, even global warming. As Pope Francis said in a recent speech in Bolivia: “This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable.”

Back to Fundamentals in Emerging Markets

August 13, 2015

Dani Rodrik - Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Following 15 years of hype, a new conventional wisdom has taken hold: emerging markets are in deep trouble. Many analysts had extrapolated rapid growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and India into the indefinite future, calling them the new engines of the world economy. Now growth is down in almost all of them, and investors are pulling their money out – prompted in part by the expectation that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in September. Their currencies have tumbled, while corruption scandals and other political difficulties have overwhelmed the economic narrative in places like Brazil and Turkey.