Opinion

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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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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Can Venezuela Resurrect Its Economy?

July 26, 2017

Ricardo Hausmann is interviewed by the Council of Foreign Relations 

The misguided policies of President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, along with falling oil prices, have destabilized Venezuela’s economy and triggered shortages of vital supplies, says Ricardo Hausmann, a professor at Harvard Kennedy School and a former minister of planning in Venezuela.

Hausmann argues that it will almost certainly take new leadership in Caracas to introduce the market reforms and debt restructuring he says are needed. “A recovery would...

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The Hunger Bonds

May 26, 2017

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Investing often creates moral dilemmas over goals: Should we aim to do well or to do good? Is it appropriate to invest in tobacco companies? Or in companies that sell guns to drug gangs?

The recent popularity of so-called impact investment funds, which promise to deliver decent returns while advancing social or environmental goals, is based on this unease. Foundations often find that these investment vehicles help them to do good both with the money that they...

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Charting a path towards Lanka’s durable success

March 13, 2017

Ricardo Hausmann for Daily News

It is not just because I am from Venezuela that I see Sri Lanka with admiration and envy. The island has made more progress in human development than any other in South Asia. It has reduced poverty in a pretty dramatic way. It has many reasons to be proud of its achievements. But anything that is worth doing, is worth doing better. The Center for International Development at Harvard University is collaborating with the Government of Sri Lanka to work on a strategy to make progress faster, more sustainable and more inclusive.

In the...

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Refugees as Weapons of Mass Destruction

March 2, 2017

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – In the summer of 2015, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper looked set to win his fourth consecutive election, scheduled for that October. Instead, his Conservative Party won just 99 of the House of Commons’ 338 seats. The party did not win a single constituency in Toronto or the entire Atlantic seaboard. Instead, the Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, ended up obtaining the second-largest parliamentary majority in its history – 184 seats – despite having started the electoral campaign in third place.... Read more about Refugees as Weapons of Mass Destruction