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 - 8 of 8
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    Capital Market Development : Whither Latin America?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-03) de la Torre, Augusto ; Gozzi, Juan Carlos ; 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.
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    Whither Latin American Capital Markets?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-04) de la Torre, Augusto ; Schmukler, Sergio L.
    "Whither Latin American Capital Markets?" a study published by the Latin America and Caribbean Region of the World Bank in June 2004, analyzes the status and prospects for capital market development in Latin America. It reviews the evolution of securities markets in the region and related reforms and the factors driving their development. Importantly, the study analyzes not just domestic market activity, but also global capital markets trends, the participation of developing countries in those markets, and interactions and feedback loops between local and international markets.
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    Containing Systemic Risk : Are Regulatory Reform Proposals on the Right Track?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-10) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, Alain
    This note questions two emerging views on ways to tackle systemic risk. As evidenced by the explosive growth of investment banks, which were regulated more lightly because they were assumed to be systemically less important, regulatory unevenness can trigger acutely destabilizing regulatory arbitrage. Hence, unless systemic footprints can be accurately measured and updated, something we think is unlikely, regulating differentially those institutions that are deemed to be the most systemically relevant looks like a perilous return to the past. Similarly, internalizing systemic liquidity risk by taxing maturity mismatches looks like a remnant of idiosyncratic thinking. Matching short liabilities with short assets can protect an individual intermediary's liquidity but at the expense of exacerbating systemic vulnerability.
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    The Seven Sins of Flawed Public-Private Partnerships
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015) de la Torre, Augusto ; Rudolph, Heinz
    There are three stakeholders in a public-private partnership (PPP), (a) the government in office, (b) private firms (financial and non-financial) and investors (individual and institutional), and (c) final beneficiaries (taxpayers or users, present and future). The raison detre of PPPs is threefold: (i) to crowd in private firms and investors into projects that they will otherwise not undertake; (ii) to transfer to the private sector a significant part of the risks and costs that the government would otherwise fully absorb; and (iii) to ensure that the projects efficiency/quality is at least equal to that obtained if the government alone carried all costs and risks. Important (yet often ignored) implications follow. First, outsourcing (e.g., construction and maintenance) to the private sector does not by itself constitute a PPP if all risks and costs are, in one way or another, still borne by the government. Second, a PPP does not reduce total risk; it simply distributes it differently, involving private sector firms and investors. Third, the total costs borne by the final beneficiaries would be lower under a PPP (compared to a project whose costs and risks rest completely in the governments balance sheet) only if the PPP achieves efficiency gains; otherwise, what beneficiaries save in taxes they will pay in user fees, although, under a PPP, more of the costs would be assigned to direct beneficiaries/users, than to taxpayers at large. Fourth, that a PPP can provide (cash) budget relief may be a welcome corollary for the government in office but it is not a core objective of a PPP.
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    The Washington Consensus : Assessing a Damaged Brand
    ( 2010-05-01) Birdsall, Nancy ; de la Torre, Augusto ; Caicedo, Felipe Valencia
    The authors analyze the Washington Consensus, which at its original formulation reflected views not only from Washington, but also from Latin America. Tracing the life of the Consensus from a Latin American perspective in terms of evolving economic development paradigms, they document the extensive implementation of Consensus-style reforms in the region as well as the mismatch between reformers expectations and actual outcomes, in terms of growth, poverty reduction, and inequality. They present an assessment of what went wrong with the Washington Consensus-style reform agenda, using a taxonomy of views that put the blame, alternatively, on (i) shortfalls in the implementation of reforms combined with impatience regarding their expected effects; (ii) fundamental flaws in either the design, sequencing, or basic premises of the reform agenda; and (iii) incompleteness of the agenda that left out crucial reform needs, such as volatility, technological innovation, institutional change and inequality.
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    Regulatory Reform : Integrating Paradigms
    ( 2009-02-01) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, Alain
    The Subprime crisis largely resulted from failures to internalize systemic risk evenly across financial intermediaries and recognize the implications of Knightian uncertainty and mood swings. A successful reform of prudential regulation will need to integrate more harmoniously the three paradigms of moral hazard, externalities, and uncertainty. This is a tall order because each paradigm leads to different and often inconsistent regulatory implications. Moreover, efforts to address the central problem under one paradigm can make the problems under the others worse. To avoid regulatory arbitrage and ensure that externalities are uniformly internalized, all prudentially regulated intermediaries should be subjected to the same capital adequacy requirements, and unregulated intermediaries should be financed only by regulated intermediaries. Reflecting the importance of uncertainty, the new regulatory architecture will also need to rely less on markets and more on "holistic" supervision, and incorporate countercyclical norms that can be adjusted in light of changing circumstances.
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    Emerging Capital Markets and Globalization : The Latin American Experience
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2007) de la Torre, Augusto ; Schmukler, Sergio L.
    The book should stimulate a vigorous discussion on how to best revise the reform agenda for capital market development in emerging economies going forward. This effort should involve not only country authorities but also academics and advisers from multilateral agencies such as the World Bank. The complexities highlighted in the book invite intellectual modesty, eclecticism, and constant attention to country specificity. While it does not provide detailed policy prescriptions, the book does point to issues that cannot be ignored and puts forward provocative questions for the policy debate. The policy discussion in the book is particularly interesting with respect to the following aspects: internationalization of stock markets and local currency debt markets. This paper contains the following headings: whither capital market development; developments in capital markets; factors behind the development and internationalization of capital markets; and whither the reform agenda.
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    Natural Resources in Latin America and the Caribbean : Beyond Booms and Busts?
    (World Bank, 2011) Sinnott, Emily ; Nash, John ; de la Torre, Augusto
    Throughout, the history of the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, natural resource wealth has been critical for its economies. Production of precious metals, sugar, rubber, grains, coffee, copper, and oil have at various periods of history made countries in Latin America-and their colonial powers-some of the most prosperous in the world. In some ways, these commodities may have changed the course of history in the world at large. Latin America produced around 80 percent of the world's silver in the 16th through 19th centuries, fueling the monetary systems of not only Europe, but China and India as well. The dramatic movements in commodity markets since the early 2000s, as well as the recent economic crisis, provide new data to analyze and also underscore the importance of a better understanding of issues related to boom-bust commodity cycles. The current pattern of global recovery has favored LAC so far. Countercyclical policies have supported domestic demand in the larger LAC economies, and external demand from fast-growing emerging markets has boosted exports and terms of trade for LAC's net commodity exporters. Prospects for LAC in the short term look good. Beyond the cyclical rebound, however, the region's major longer-run challenge going forward will be to craft a bold productivity agenda. With LAC coming out of this crisis relatively well positioned, this may well be possible, especially considering that the region's improved macro-financial resiliency gives greater assurance that future gains from growth will not be wiped out by financial crises. In addition, LAC has been making significant strides in the equity agenda and this could help mobilize consensus in favor of a long overdue growth-oriented reform agenda. But it remains to be seen whether the region will be able to seize the opportunity to boost long-run growth, especially considering the large gaps that LAC would need to close in such key areas as saving, human capital accumulation, physical infrastructure, and the ability to adopt and adapt new technologies.