Opinion

Brazilian Debt Jitters

March 29, 2021

Frank Muci for Project Syndicate

Brazil seems determined to test the limits of financial markets' tolerance for debt accumulation. It is not hard to come up with scenarios in which the country's debt burden reaches 125% of GDP or more by 2025.

Lockdown fatigue: The declining effectiveness of lockdowns

March 30, 2021

Patricio Goldestein for VoxEU

Non-pharmaceutical interventions have been key to containing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This column examines whether the effectiveness of lockdowns on the virus’s spread and death toll has changed over the past year, using data from 152 countries from the onset of the pandemic through 31 December 2020. Initially, lockdowns are associated with a significant reduction in the spread of the virus and the number of related deaths, but this effect declines over time. Lockdown does not work as a continuous containment policy in the...

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8 Questions with Ricardo Hausmann

March 21, 2021

Ricardo Hausmann with Age of Economics

This interview series is aimed at addressing fundamental issues related to global capitalist civilization with 8 basic questions. The objectives of this project are to shed light on the most salient challenges facing human civilization, explore the role of economics and the inner workings of capitalism, and heighten people’s awareness of both the economic system in which they live and work, and the role of economics in understanding this ever-changing system.

El atlas que Pedro Sánchez debe consultar

February 24, 2021

The Atlas of Economic Complexity in El Mundo

Hay una herramienta económica que debería ocupar un lugar central en la definición de los proyectos que aspiren a los fondos europeos de recuperación y resiliencia que gestiona el Gobierno: el Atlas de Complejidad Económica, un proyecto de la Universidad de Harvard que coloca las capacidades industriales y los conocimientos técnicos de un país en el centro de sus perspectivas de crecimiento. Este mapa permitiría concentrar esfuerzos en sectores con alto potencial para el país.

The Missing Link in Economic Development

December 29, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Like the proverbial man with a hammer who sees every problem as a nail, economists study the world through the lens of incentives, and have developed a rich understanding of how market participants make decisions. But although incentives are important, developing countries must do more than institute the right ones.

Can Cheap Countries Catch Up?

February 1, 2021

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – Poor countries are cheap. In 2019, a dollar could buy more than twice as much in Argentina, Morocco, South Africa, and Thailand as it could in the United States. It could buy more than three times as much in Vietnam, India, and Ukraine, and more than four times as much in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Egypt. If a country is cheap, it should be more competitive and thus able to catch up with richer...

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Miami Trumps Biden

December 3, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann and José Morales-Arilla for Project Syndicate

Joe Biden achieved a decisive victory in the US presidential election, beating Donald Trump by over six million votes nationwide. Powered by suburban voters, especially women, the Democratic candidate took back Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which Trump won in 2016, flipped Arizona and Georgia, and garnered 306 of the 538 Electoral College votes.

But one key swing state where Trump performed better than he did four years ago was Florida – especially in its most heavily Hispanic sections...

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The Coming Equity Shortage

October 9, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Let’s be optimistic and assume that one or more of the 11 COVID-19 vaccines currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials are found to be safe and effective by early 2021. Let us also assume that production can be ramped up quickly, so that countries can vaccinate a significant part of their populations by late next year.

In this rosy scenario, the current “special period,” when social distancing severely restricts economic activities – from schools to universities, restaurants to airlines, concerts to sports events,...

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Exploring the Uncharted Export

November 30, 2016

Michele Coscia

Exporting goods is great for countries: it is a way to attract foreign currency. Exports are also fairly easy to analyze, since they are put in big crates and physically shipped through borders, where they are usually triple checked*. However, there is another way to attract foreign currency that escapes this analytical convenience. And it is a huge one. Tourism. When tourists get inside your country, you are effectively exporting something: anything that they buy. Finding out exactly what and how much you’re exporting is tricky. Some things are easy:...

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Do We Look Down on the Less Educated?

September 12, 2020

Eric Protzer - New York Times/Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Michael Sandel’s suspicion of meritocracy is misplaced. The working class in fact prizes success, wealth, status and fame. They want it for themselves and, more important, for their children and their children’s children.

What many members of the working class and increasingly also the middle class are furious about, and what politicians like Donald Trump have tapped into, is the broken promise of the American dream. Forty years of deeply unfair economic policy...

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After the Default: Argentina’s Unsustainable “20/80” Economy

September 10, 2020

Eduardo Levy Yeyati for Americas Quarterly

Argentina this week formally exited the ninth sovereign debt default in its history. The agreement with creditors took longer than expected, but was settled at reasonable levels, close to original projections, and just in time to avert another blow to the country’s suffering economy. Having reached a deal in the current, uncertain context and with no financial program in hand could be regarded as a success for the government.

The deal reduced Argentina’s debt payments by approximately 27% and — even more crucially...

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Planning for Crisis Resilience

September 10, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

When you throw a tennis ball to the ground, it bounces back up. But if you throw a wine glass, it shatters. Many countries’ economies are in free fall. Will they bounce back or shatter? What can be done to assure a strong recovery?

The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be obvious, as ongoing research with Sebastián Bustos on previous crises suggests. In the 2008 global financial crisis, among the least affected countries...

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Horrible trade-offs in a pandemic: Analysis and policy implications

August 29, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann and Ulrich Schetter for Vox EU

Countries all over the world are fighting COVID-19 by reducing social and economic interactions, measures that have proven effective in parts of the world but are extremely costly. We are in the midst of the deepest recession since the great depression, and World GDP is expected to fall by 4.9% in 2020, with two-digit declines in many countries (IMF 2020). A series of excellent papers suggest that the huge costs in terms of livelihoods are justified by the gains in terms of lives saved from the pandemic (e.g. Acemoglu et...

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Why Zoom Can’t Save the World

August 10, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

Before COVID-19, spending on business travel totaled $1.5 trillion a year (about 1.7% of world GDP). Now it is down to a trickle, as countries have closed their borders and social distancing has taken hold. Planes have been grounded, hotels are closed, and executives are not earning frequent flier miles. Many travel and hospitality jobs are feeling the consequences. But if this were all there was to it, the impact, however large, would probably be much smaller than the decline in general international tourism, and easily...

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The Road to COVID-19 Enlightenment

June 30, 2020

Ricardo Hausmann for Project Syndicate

 Certainty is like a rainbow: wonderful but relatively rare. More often than not, we know that we don’t know. We may seek to remedy this by talking to people who may know what we want to know. But how do we know that they know? If we cannot ascertain whether they actually do know, we must trust them.

Historically, we have bestowed our trust on the basis of science, experience, or divine inspiration. But what if the knowledge we seek does not yet exist, and even science knows that it does not know what is being...

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