De la Torre, Augusto

Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, The World Bank
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Macroeconomics, Financial development
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Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, The World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Augusto de la Torre, a national of Ecuador, is the Chief Economist for Latin American and the Caribbean. Since joining the World Bank in 1997, he has held the positions of Senior Advisor in the Financial Systems Department and Senior Financial Sector Advisor, both in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. From 1993 to 1997, Mr. de la Torre was the head of the Central Bank of Ecuador, and in November 1996 was chosen by Euromoney Magazine as the year’s "Best Latin Central Banker." From 1986 to 1992 he worked at the International Monetary Fund, where, among other positions, he was the IMF’s Resident Representative in Venezuela (1991-1992).  Mr. de la Torre has published extensively on a broad range of macroeconomic and financial development topics. He is a member of the Carnegie Network of Economic Reformers. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics at the University of Notre Dame and holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Ecuador.
Citations 23 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • Publication
    Inequality in a Lower Growth Latin America : LAC Semiannual Report, October 2014
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-10-10) de la Torre, Augusto; Beylis, Guillermo; Didier, Tatiana; Rodriguez Castelan, Carlos; Schmukler, Sergio L.
    As usual in this series, Chapter 1 reviews the configuration of global risks and assesses the outstanding short term opportunities and challenges facing the LAC region. We document the significant slowdown in economic activity across the region, and explore the possibility of this being the ‘new normal’. In Chapter 2 we assess if the major social gains achieved during the ‘Golden Decade’, in particular the decline in inequality, will hold in this less supportive environment, and discuss alternative policy responses to preserve and further the equity gains in the region.
  • Publication
    Latin America’s Deceleration and the Exchange Rate Buffer : LAC Semiannual Report, October 2013
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-10-09) de la Torre, Augusto; Pienknagura, Samuel
    This semiannual report examines the short and medium-term challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as the external factors that were instrumental in the region’s recent performance recede. In particular, we address the role of the exchange rate as a counter-cyclical policy tool to buffer adverse external shocks. As is customary in this series, Chapter 1 starts by providing an overview of the global economy and its implications for the short and medium-term prospects of the LAC region. It also examines the vulnerabilities of the region as tailwinds recede. Chapter 2 describes the new role of the exchange rate as a shock absorber in LAC amid the important transformations observed in the region in the past decade on the macro-financial front. Finally, Chapter 3 gives a detailed look at exchange rate-smoothing policy interventions.
  • Publication
    The Big Switch in Latin America: Restoring Growth through Trade
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-10-05) de la Torre, Augusto; Lederman, Daniel; Ize, Alain
    This report, produced by the Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) of the World Bank, examines LAC’s challenges as the global economy settles to an equilibrium with lower growth and lower commodity prices. Chapter 1 gives an overview of the world economy and how it affects LAC’s short and medium-term prospects. It argues that LAC suffered an external shock that shaped growth in recent years, and that the current global context is likely here to stay. Many LAC countries experienced significant depreciations which in principle should help adjust to the new equilibrium. The extent to which these depreciations facilitate a soft landing, however, depends on a number of factors. Chapter 2 explores the response of LAC’s trade to the recent depreciations and the role it could play in facilitating a recovery. It examines if there are early signs of an export recovery and whether the region’s increased dependence on commodity exports could hinder LAC’s recovery.
  • Publication
    Latin America and the Rising South: Changing World, Changing Priorities
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-05-19) de la Torre, Augusto; Didier, Tatiana; Ize, Alain; Lederman, Daniel; Schmukler, Sergio L.
    The world economy is not what it used to be twenty years ago. For most of the 20th century, the world economy was characterized by developed (North) countries acting as 'center' to a 'periphery' of developing (South) countries. However, the recent rise of developing economies suggests the need to go beyond this North-South dichotomy. This tectonic re-configuration of the global landscape has brought about significant changes to countries in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. The time is ripe for an in-depth analysis of the dynamics and nature of LAC's external connections. This latest volume in the World Bank Latin American and Caribbean Studies series will focus on the implications of these trends for the economic development of LAC countries. In particular, trade, financial, macroeconomic, and sectoral shifts, as well as labor-market aspects will be systematically analyzed.
  • Publication
    Stock Market Development under Globalization : Whither the Gains from Reforms?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-04) de la Torre, Augusto; Schmukler, Sergio L.
    Over the past decades, many countries have implemented significant reforms to foster domestic capital market development. These reforms included stock market liberalization, privatization programs, and the establishment of regulatory and supervisory frameworks. Despite the intense reform efforts, the performance of capital markets in several countries has been disappointing. To study whether reforms have had the intended effects on capital markets, the authors analyze the impact of six capital market reforms on domestic stock market development and internationalization using event studies. They find that reforms tend to be followed by significant increases in domestic market capitalization, trading, and capital raising. Reforms are also followed by an increase in the share of activity in international equity markets, with potential negative spillover effects on domestic markets.
  • Publication
    Capital Market Development : Whither Latin America?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-03) de la Torre, Augusto; Schmukler, Sergio L.
    Over the past decades, many countries have implemented significant reforms to foster capital market development. Latin American countries were at the forefront of this process. The authors analyze where Latin American capital markets stand after these reforms. They find that despite the intense reform effort, capital markets in Latin America remain underdeveloped relative to markets in other regions. Furthermore, stock markets are below what can be expected, given Latin America's economic and institutional fundamentals. The authors discuss alternative ways of interpreting this evidence. They argue that it is difficult to pinpoint which policies Latin American countries should pursue to overcome their poor capital market development. Moreover, they argue that expectations about the outcome of the reform process may need to be revisited to take into account intrinsic characteristics of emerging economies. The latter may limit the scope for developing deep domestic capital markets in a context of international financial integration.
  • Publication
    Latin American Growth: A Trade Perspective
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) de la Torre, Augusto; Ize, Alain
    This paper reviews the determinants of Latin America's uneven growth based on an accounting decomposition that breaks down countries' growth (relative to the world) into three trade-related channels: (i) an export pull measuring the traction exerted by the country's exports, (ii) an external leverage measuring the impact of the country's use of external resources, and (iii) a domestic response measuring the impact of the country's imports on its domestic income. This decomposition brings to light three regional growth dynamics: the first is centered on commodities and South America, the second on manufactures and Mexico, and the third on services and Central America. The evidence points toward the need for a trade-oriented growth agenda that puts a premium on raising exports and making countries more attractive to people, not just capital. The latter in turn adds urgency to healing the region’s social fractures and dealing with its institutional weaknesses.
  • Publication
    The Basic Analytics of Access to Financial Services
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-10) Beck, Thorsten; de la Torre, Augusto
    Access to financial services, or rather the lack thereof, is often indiscriminately decried as a problem in many developing countries. The authors argue that the "problem of access" should rather be analyzed by identifying different demand and supply constraints. They use the concept of an access possibilities frontier, drawn for a given set of state variables, to distinguish between cases where a financial system settles below the constrained optimum, cases where this constrained optimum is too low, and-in credit services-cases where the observed outcome is excessively high. They distinguish between payment and savings services and fixed intermediation costs, on the one hand, and lending services and different sources of credit risk, on the other hand. The authors include both supply and demand side frictions that can lead to lower access. The analysis helps identify bankable and banked population, the binding constraint to close the gap between the two, and policies to prudently expand the bankable population. This new conceptual framework can inform the debate on adequate policies to expand access to financial services and can serve as the basis for an informed measurement of access.
  • Publication
    The Commodity Cycle in Latin America: Mirages and Dilemmas
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-04-12) de la Torre, Augusto; Ize, Alain
    This semiannual report – produced by the Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) of the World Bank – analyzes the economic and financial performance of LAC in light of the commodity price cycle. Chapter 1 covers short-term prospects, identifies the external factors affecting the economic slowdown, and focuses on the policy challenges faced by the region (South America in particular) in terms of the monetary, fiscal, external and social adjustments required to accommodate the new external environment. Chapter 2 reviews the region’s experience during the commodity cycle, links it with the external environment, and identifies low saving as a key determinant of both the macroeconomic performance during the cycle and the constrained policy space policy makers now face, in some countries more than others. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the policy choices the region now faces, both for the immediate future and for the longer run.
  • Publication
    International Flows to Latin America--Rocking the Boat? LAC Semiannual Report, April 2014
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-04-24) de la Torre, Augusto; Beylis, Guillermo
    As usual in this series, Chapter 1 reviews the configuration of global risks and assesses the outstanding short term opportunities and challenges facing the LAC region. A special focus is placed this time around on the difference between exposure and vulnerability to exogenous shocks, with the latter assessed by adjusting exposure for a country’s shock absorption policy capacity. Given the global context and associated concerns with capital flow volatility, in Chapter 2 we take a look at the comparatively more stable components of international flows: FDI and Remittances. The cyclicality and volatility, as well as the joint determinants of FDI and Remittances are reviewed.