News/Opinion

Opponents of more IMF lending may have blood on their hands

June 18, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for the Financial Times

Time is at a premium in a pandemic. China’s slow response to the coronavirus in December and January cost the world dearly. So did the slow response in Europe and the US in February and March. But the world may not have learnt the lesson: the mistake appears to be happening once again, this time at the IMF.  By historical standards, the IMF has responded quickly and massively. In early April, it announced during its spring meetings that a major economic downturn was coming. It hurriedly revamped its rapid financing instrument (RFI...

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What Should We Be Preparing For?

May 27, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Suppose you knew that a hurricane was coming, but meteorologists were uncertain if it would make landfall as a Category 2 or a Category 5 storm. Which scenario should you prepare for?

The problem you face reflects the costs of assuming that it is a Category 5 when it is only a Category 2 and vice versa. The latter scenario implies deaths and destruction that could have been avoided through evacuations, well-supplied shelters, and precautionary shutdowns. The first scenario implies unnecessary preventive costs. In the...

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Target R and Wait for the Vaccine

April 23, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Opening up the economy means allowing more human interaction and hence greater potential for new #COVID19 infections. Two numbers matter for deciding whether this can be done safely any time soon.

‘This Has Changed Everything’: Saudi Economy Shaken by Oil Crash

April 21, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann in Bloomberg

The meltdown in oil markets is turning back the economic clock for Saudi Arabia, putting it on track for the deepest contraction in two decades.

Already under lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s largest crude exporter is bracing for a second impact from the oil rout and unprecedented production cuts negotiated by OPEC and its allies. Both will slash government revenue, and in turn derail a fragile economic recovery. Brent crude traded at under $19 a barrel on Tuesday -- a quarter of the level...

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Sri Lanka’s economic recovery from coronavirus

April 17, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann in the Daily Mirror

The purpose of this article is to suggest how Sri Lanka can undertake significant structural reforms in the aftermath of this global pandemic and place herself in a position of increased economic strength.

Apart from the money the government will have to spend towards the medical management of the virus, it will have to spend a significant sum of money on social welfare and also support the corporate sector in the coming months. Economists are unable to estimate the sum of money that will be required for this purpose...

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Nature: How India is attempting to slow the coronavirus

April 10, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann in Nature

Like many nations, India does not have enough kits to test most of its population for the new coronavirus. The country is instead relying on people power: thousands of health-care workers are fanning out across the country to trace and quarantine people who might have had contact with those with COVID-19. People are typically only tested if they develop symptoms.

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However, further lockdowns could have dire consequences. Strict social-distancing measures mean that people must stay at home, so many cannot work —...

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BBC: Conseguir dinero toma tiempo y esfuerzo, así que centremos la discusión del manejo de esta crisis donde está el dinero: el FMI

April 6, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann interview in BBC

Así lo afirma el economista venezolano Ricardo Hausmann, director del Laboratorio de Crecimiento del Centro de Desarrollo Internacional de la Universidad de Harvard y docente de dicha institución.

"Los países que supuestamente han tenido éxitos iniciales en la lucha contra el coronavirus, como Dinamarca, Japón y Corea del Sur, deben preocuparse por qué tan exitosos han sido el resto de los países en controlar la pandemia", le dice a...

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Financial Times: Threat of catastrophe stalks developing world

April 3, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann in Financial Times

Governments are fighting to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay and their economies afloat

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Still, Ricardo Hausmann, a Venezuelan development economist at Harvard University, is not holding out great hope. “The situation in the advanced economies is likely to be much more benign than what developing countries are facing.”

Mr Hausmann says developing economies have been left in the lurch both in terms of their ability to fight the pandemic and to counter its economic impact. Even in the best of times...

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Business Day: Lockdowns are not sustainable, says economist Hausmann

April 2, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann in Business Day

A lockdown is not sustainable and can bankrupt economies, especially those without fiscal space, says renowned economist Ricardo Hausmann.

Fiscal space generally refers to the availability of budgetary room that enables a government to provide resources for a desired purpose without compromising its ability to finance its operations and other obligations such as debt servicing.

Coronavirus will be an even deadlier pandemic in developing countries

March 27, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann in Miami Herald

While we are all watching the news about the explosion of COVID-19 cases in the United States, Spain and Italy, we will soon face a bigger problem.

After talking with almost a dozen experts from some of the world’s leading universities, I’m much more worried about what might soon happen in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean than about the latest U.S. or European pandemic statistics.

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Harvard University professor Ricardo Hausmann, an expert in global development issues, told me that the United...

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