What challenges for development research in Latin America?

This post was written by Carolina Zuluaga, Assistant Editor Vox.LACEA

Is the Latin America and Caribbean region carrying out more research than in previous years? Are there more resources for research available in emerging countries? Is public policy more consequential with research results? The LACEA and LAMES 2013 invited session “Development Research Challenges”, sponsored by GDN, seeks to find the answers to these interrogations.

In order to make an outline of the challenges ahead for development research, globally and within Latin America, it is important to understand where we are now and what has been done in the last few years. In his intervention, Francois Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics) discusses how economic and development research has done a shift from a Macro to a Micro point of view in the last 15 years. Although Micro focused research brings unique elements to a given study such as access to micro data and to details of the behavior of agents, the universal perspective of things is lost. Hence we are losing analysis of Macro topics that are essential to economic research and that help us to pose better solutions to current problems. As a matter of example, in the case of education, we could say that we are educating more people through more effective programs, but deploying efforts in this direction does not mean we are creating more jobs for those people! In which case, it is not an all-inclusive solution to the problem but rather, we are just tackling one part of the problem. For Bourguignon, one of the main challenges for economic research is to go back to including the “big picture” in our analyses; combining thus the two lines of research, Micro and Macro.

Alan Winters (University of Sussex) highlights the impact that globalization has had on research topics in the last 10 years, going from migration and inequality to trade and investment. But recently, he says, another topic is becoming of great importance: Productivity. Future research needs to focus on productivity, especially on issues related to the environment, industrial policy and regulation, allocation of resources, infrastructure and the role of the government upon all these issues.

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Un shock de ingresos sin precedente: Lo aprovechamos?

This is a cross-post of a piece written by Gustavo Adler and Nicolás Magud (International Monetary Fund – IMF) and published on Vox LACEA

Entitled “Four Decades of Terms-of-Trade Booms: Saving-Investment Patterns and a New Metric of Income Windfall“, Adler and Magud’s paper was presented at the 18th Annual Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the 28th Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (LAMES), Mexico City October 31st – November 2nd, 2013. This post is available in Spanish.

Los fundamentos macroeconómicos de América Latina mejoraron marcadamente en la última década, ayudados por el boom de precios de materias primas que comenzó alrededor de 2002. Esto ha creado la sensación que, esta vez, los países de la región han hecho un manejo macroeconómico más prudente respecto a episodios anteriores de booms de términos de intercambio. Pero, ¿ha sido realmente así?

En un trabajo reciente, estudiamos el shock de términos de intercambio de la última década desde una perspectiva histórica, en especial comparándolo con el shock de los 1970s; y computamos una medida, muy ilustrativa, del shock de ingresos (‘ingresos extraordinarios’) asociado a estas mejoras de términos de intercambio. También documentamos los patrones de ahorro durante estos episodios y evaluamos el “esfuerzo” de los países por ahorrar dichos ingresos extraordinarios. De nuestro análisis se desprende que la magnitud de los ingresos extraordinarios derivados de este ultimo boom de términos de intercambio no tiene precedentes, al tiempo que el esfuerzo por ahorrarlo ha sido menor que en episodios anteriores.

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External Conditions and Debt Sustainability in Latin America

This is a cross-post of a piece written by Gustavo Adler and Sebastian Sosa (International Monetary Fund – IMF)

Did Latin America save the windfall?” is the title of one of the sessions that took place at the 18th Annual Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the 28th Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (LAMES), Mexico City October 31st – November 2nd, 2013. Sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the session was dedicated to discuss the following papers: “Four Decades of Terms-of-trade Booms: Saving-Investment Patterns and a New Metric of IncomeWindfall“, by Gustavo Adler and Nicolas E. Magud; “External Conditions and Debt Sustainability in Latin America“, by Gustavo Adler and Sebastian Sosa.

In a context of highly favorable external conditions, especially for commodity exporters, Latin America’s fiscal and external fundamentals improved markedly over the last decade. But, how dependent are these gains on a continuation of such conditions? To address this question, we develop a debt sustainability framework that integrates econometric estimates of the effect of global factors on the main domestic variables that drive debt dynamics, and use it to forecast debt trajectories under less favorable external scenarios.

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On macroeconomic performance, development, social and labor policies in Latin America

LACEA and LAMES 18th Annual Meeting

This post was written by Carolina Zuluaga, Assistant Editor Vox.LACEA

The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA)’s main contributions to the Latin American community of economists have been the strengthening of the interest for research and the creation of new ties with the academia of the developed world. Through annual meetings, thematic research networks and its academic journal – Economía – LACEA encourages research and teaching, and fosters dialogue among researchers and practitioners.

LACEA-LAMES Mexico City 2013

LACEA-LAMES Mexico City 2013

The 18th annual meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the 28th Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (LAMES) took place in Mexico City from October 31st – November 2nd, 2013, and was hosted by the Center for Economic Studies at El Colegio de México. With over 200 papers participating in the contributed sessions; more than 40 discussions taking place in the invited sessions and 3 feature presentations occurring in the plenary lectures, this conference gathered a concentration of talent hard to find in any other event.

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Research Network on Inequality and Poverty

Combating poverty and inequality is on the top of priorities for many development organizations. This is why the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA), the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank came together to launch their joint initiative “Network on Inequality and Poverty”. The objective of the initiative is to advance the state of knowledge and expertise regarding the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, and social exclusion, as well as the whole range of policies, institutions and social structures that influence their dynamics, and finally the impact of public action.

As every year, an NIP meeting took place prior to the LACEA Annual Conference, on October 31st. Discussions were held on women’s participation in the labor market, the impact of fields of specialization on the man/woman’s position in the labor market and the possible correlation between a woman’s participation in the labor market and her earning.

According to Jaime Ruiz Tagle, Universidad de Chile, men and women interact based on the values they grew up on and the roles they see for each other. A conservative woman will commit to do her utmost in the household, participate in the labor market for shorter hours, and therefore will participate with less income in the household.

In this video, Virginia Robano, George Washington University, questions the possible correlation between working as a part-time and earnings. Educated females have the choice of working part-time or full time. According to her, two females with similar high education characteristics may opt for different options, which affects their respective earnings.

Hugo Rolando Ñopo, Inter-American Development Bank, explains that the decision men and women make regarding their respective fields of specialization affects their income once they join the labor market. The differences we see in the labor market are usually marked according to the decisions men and women make when choosing their field of specialization. In his view, one area that could be worked on today is the gender stereotyping in the labor market when it comes to skills and expertise.

LACEA 2012 Annual Meeting, Lima, Perú



The 17th Annual LACEA Meeting kicked off today in Lima, Perú. Hosted by Universidad del Pacifico (UP), the annual meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (Lames) will take place from November 1st – 3rd, 2012. As last year, 2012 LACEA and LAMES meetings will share a common program, under a single local organization.

Topics to be covered at the Meeting will include (but not limited to):

–          The shortage of safe assets

–          Knowledge growth and the allocation of time

–          Financial crises: Why they occur and what we can do about them

–          Economic mobility and the rise of the Latin American Middle Class

–          Room foe Development – Housing Markets in Latin America and the Carribbean

–          Eurozone spillovers and policy responses

–          Quality of education in Latin America and the Caribbean: The importance of teachers

–          Inequality in the world: Facts, perceptions and public policy

–          Launch of the World Development Report on Jobs

Read the daily blog on GDNet to catch up on plenaries and parallels discussions and listen to interviews from speakers and participants.

Follow @Connect2GDNet for live updates and comments on discussion ( #LACEA2012Lima  &  #LaceaLames2012 )

Sessions from the Meeting will be broadcasted on the web

The psychology of scarcity: A very different look at poverty

The fifth and last plenary session of the LACEA 16th Annual Meeting was dedicated to “The Psychology of Scarcity: A Very Different Look at Poverty”. Sendhill Mullainathan, Harvard University, delivered a thought provoking a new view on the cognitive capabilities of the poor. He argued that they might seem to be cognitive constrained not because they are poor, but because since they face scarcity their mind is more focused on their immediate problems and they do not excel at other tasks; their mind being fully loaded.

Sendhil Mullainathan - Plenary V

Sendhil Mullainathan, Harvard University

Steven Berry & Jean Tirole at the LACEA 16th Annual Meeting

“Inversion, Indices and Instruments: Identifying Differentiated Products Demand” was the topic of the third plenary at the LACEA 16th Annual Meeting. Steven Berry, Yale University, held a discussion on how the new economic thinking centered around differentiated products should be taken on and some of its implications.

Steven Berry - Plenary III

Steven Berry, Yale University

Jean Tirole, Toulouse School of Economics, addressed the “Commonality of Information, Tranching and Liquidity” at the fourth plenary. He developed a rigorous presentation of his robust econometric model to reach certain facts such as that if future illiquidity is expected, it will generate illiquidity today.

Jean Tirole - Plenary IV

Jean Tirole, Toulouse School of Economics

“Productive knowledge” and “the nature of liquidity provision” at the LACEA 16th Annual Meeting

Ricardo Hausmann - Plenary I

Ricardo Hausmann, Harvard University

The LACEA meeting started on Thursday 10th with LACEA’s Presidential Address. The first plenary was dedicated to Ricardo Hausmann, Harvard University, who made a presentation on how wealth and development are related to the ability of a country to make more products, which in turn is based on how many different types of knowledge the country has and how these can be put together.

Bengt Holmström - Plenary II

Bengt Holmström, MIT

“The Nature of Liquidity Provision: When Ignorance Is Bliss” was the topic discussed at the second plenary by Bengt HolmstromMassachusetts Institute of Technology.

LACEA 16th Annual Meeting – Santiago, Chile

With almost 40 key speakers and over 300 contributed papers in 101 sessions covering all areas of economics, the 16th Annual LACEA Meeting 2011 will be jointly organized with the 26th Annual Meeting of the Latin American Chapter of the Econometric Society (LAMES) in Santiago, Chile, from November 10th to 12th and will be hosted by Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez.

The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association or Asociación de Economía de América Latina y el Caribe (LACEA) is an international association of economists with common research interests in Latin America. Founded in 1992, LACEA aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas among economists and policymakers. Its purpose is to encourage greater professional interaction among economists concerned with Latin American and Caribbean policy and research problems, without regard to political, ideological or methodological orientation.

LACEA is generously supported by grants from the Global Development Network and the World Bank’s Development Grant Facility. LACEA’s funding has been used to reach out to minorities and economists of under-represented countries of the region, as well as to bring policy-makers closer to the Association’s activities under GDN´s objective of bridging research and policy.

A special GDNet-LACEA session will take place take place during the meeting. Entitled “Researchers and policymakers: Bridging the gap”, the session aims at motivating a debate around the factors that promote or hinder the transfer of knowledge from the academic/research field to the policy arena and what concrete actions could be implemented to further the interaction between both.

The specific objectives of the session will center on identifying:

  1. The main facilitators and barriers to improving the transfer of knowledge from research to policymaking, and to the generation of awareness and interest among decision makers on the importance of academic input into public policies
  2. Concrete actions that both researchers and policymakers can implement to promote agenda-harmonization between them
  3. Specific steps that organizations, such as GDN, could carry out to support the incorporation of policy research into policymaking

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