News/Opinion

Understanding Venezuela's Collapse

February 12, 2019

Ricardo Hausmann - Harvard Gazette

Thousands of angry demonstrators in Venezuela took to the streets again this week to protest the government of President Nicolás Maduro, two weeks after he was sworn in for a second term following an election that many critics say was rigged. The protests were organized by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly, who has declared himself acting president.

Once one of the richest countries in Latin America with the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela has been in political, economic, and...

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How Not to Fight Income Inequality

November 14, 2018

Ricardo Hausmann - Project Syndicate

Trying to combat income inequality through mandated wage compression is not just an odd preference. It is a mistake, as Mexico's president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will find out in a few years, after much damage has been done.

Suppose two people hold different opinions about a policy issue. Is it possible to say that one is right and the other wrong, or do they just...

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The Albanian Miracle

September 27, 2018

Ricardo Hausmann - Project Syndicate

Five years ago, Albania faced a truly ominous situation. With Greece and Italy reeling from the euro crisis, remittances and capital inflows were falling and the economy suffered a severe slowdown. The fiscal deficit ballooned to over 7% of GDP, financed to a large extent by arrears, as access to external financial markets had collapsed and domestic interest rates were sky high.

In addition, the...

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The knowhow path to Sri Lankan development

September 5, 2018

Ricardo Hausmann - DailyFT

When Adam Smith wrote ‘The Wealth of Nations’ in 1776, the richest country in the world was four times richer than the poorest one. Today, Singapore is over 110 times richer than Burundi. What could possibly explain such an extreme divergence of the wealth of nations? 

Economists have shown that these differences are too large to be explained by differences in the availability of land or capital – including human capital. So, they ascribe it to differences in the productivity with which land and capital are used,...

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Nicolás Maduro will not reverse Venezuela’s economic collapse

August 23, 2018

Ricardo Hausmann - Financial Times

When presenting his economic stabilisation plan on August 17, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro proudly argued that no government has ever done it this way. He should have wondered why. Venezuela is undergoing an economic collapse without precedent outside of war or the fall of the Soviet Union.

This is accompanied by hyper-inflation. Annual inflation is running at over 80,000 per cent and the IMF has predicted it will hit 1m per cent this year. The price of the dollar has added three zeroes in 15 months.

Planet Money: The Indicator

Planet Money: The Measure Of A Tragedy

June 19, 2018

Ricardo Hausmann on NPR's Planet Money: The Indicator podcast

The Venezuelan economy has collapsed. Years of economic mismanagement and a deepening political crisis have led to a recession that has almost no parallel in recent memory.

But explaining just how bad things have gotten is also really hard because the normal economic indicators that we use to measure a country's economy have started to sound so so unfathomable — 25,000% inflation, for example — that it feels impossible to get our heads around them.

Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard-based...

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Venezuelans Deserve Refugee Status

May 30, 2018

Ricardo Hausmann - Project Syndicate

Venezuela is in the news again. Through unprecedented treachery, President Nicolás Maduro awarded himself victory in the presidential election on May 20. Given that the blatantly pro-government electoral council had delisted the three main opposition parties and disqualified two major political leaders, much of the opposition boycotted the process. The two other candidates who participated did not recognize the result, given the many violations that took place. Neither did the United States, Canada, the European Union and most...

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Immigration key catalyst for development

May 17, 2018

Daily FT

Reforming immigration law to allow free movement of people through progressive laws could tackle Sri Lanka’s chronic economic challenges of narrow exports, low Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and limited innovation, a top expert said yesterday, outlining many examples of countries that have experienced growth spurts by opening up their labour markets.   

Prof. Ricardo Hausmann is Director of Harvard’s Center for International Development and Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at the Kennedy School of Government. Delivering...

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