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Ize, Alain

Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, The World Bank
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International finance, Macroeconomics, Monetary policy, Financial sector issues and regulation
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Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, The World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
Alain Ize is a senior consultant to the Chief Economist Unit of the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank. His research and publications cover issues of international finance and open macroeconomics (including exchange rate, monetary policy and financial dollarization issues), central banking and development banking, financial sector development and regulation, and fiscal policy. Prior to working for the World Bank, he was an Area Chief in the Financial Systems Department of the IMF. He worked previously for the Fiscal Affairs Departments of the IMF (as a senior economist), El Colegio de Mexico (as a professor and Chair of the Economics Department) and Banco de Mexico (as a researcher). He visited the University of California at Davis (1983-84) and Stanford University (1984).
Citations 23 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
  • Publication
    Financial paradigms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-11) Torre, Augusto de la; Ize, Alain
    What market and regulatory issues led to the subprime crisis? How should prudential regulation be fixed? The answers depend on the interpretative lenses or 'paradigms' through which one sees finance. The agency paradigm, which has dominated recent regulatory policy, seems to be influencing much of the emerging reform agenda. But collective welfare failures particularly externalities and collective cognition failures particularly mood swings were at least as important in driving the crisis. All three paradigms should therefore be integrated into a more balanced policy agenda. But doing so will be difficult because they often have inconsistent policy implications.
  • Publication
    Financial Development : Structure and Dynamics
    (Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2013-09) de la Torre, Augusto; Ize, Alain
    This paper analyzes the process of financial development over the last three to four decades from the perspective of the fundamental frictions (agency and collective) to which economic agents were exposed. A comprehensive statistical benchmarking analysis showed that financial development followed regular dynamics that can be largely explained by the underlying frictions. In particular, the sequencing, returns to scale, and shape of the developmental paths for various types of financial activities—including public debt, banking, insurance, asset management, and capital markets—broadly matched benchmark predictions. Reflecting financial innovation and the dynamic interaction between financial and economic development, financial development paths were also found to be strongly dependent on initial conditions. At the same time, policy differences, including the failure to improve the quality of the enabling environment and prevent financial crashes (the dark side of finance), were found to explain a sizable share of the deviations of individual country paths from the benchmarks.
  • Publication
    The Foundations of Macroprudential Regulation : A Conceptual Roadmap
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) de la Torre, Augusto; Ize, Alain
    This paper examines the conceptual foundations of macroprudential policy by reviewing the literature on financial frictions from a policy perspective that systematically links state interventions to market failures. The method consists in gradually incorporating into the Arrow-Debreu world a variety of frictions and sources of aggregate volatility and combining them along three basic dimensions: purely idiosyncratic vs. aggregate volatility, full vs. bounded rationality, and internalized vs. uninternalized externalities. The analysis thereby obtains eight "domains," four of which include aggregate volatility, hence call for macroprudential policy variants grounded on largely orthogonal rationales. Two of them emerge even assuming that externalities are internalized: one aims at offsetting the public moral hazard implications of (efficient but time inconsistent) post-crisis policy interventions, the other at maintaining principal-agent incentives continuously aligned along the cycle. Allowing for uninternalized externalities justifies two additional types of macroprudential policy, one aimed at aligning private and social interests, the other at tempering mood swings. Choosing a proper regulatory path is complicated by the fact that the relevance of frictions is likely to be state-dependent and that different frictions motivate different (and often conflicting) policies.
  • Publication
    The Conceptual Foundations of Macroprudential Policy : A Roadmap
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) de la Torre, Augusto; Ize, Alain
    This paper explores post-Lehman macroprudential regulation by interacting two types of market failures (principal-agent and collective action) with two cognition modes (unconstrained and constrained) in the context of aggregate risk. Four paradigms with orthogonal policy justifications are identified. In the first time consistency paradigm, regulation offsets the moral hazard implications of efficient but time inconsistent post-crisis bailouts. In the second dynamic alignment paradigm, it protects unsophisticated market participants by maintaining principal-agent incentives continuously aligned in the face of aggregate shocks. In the third collective action paradigm, regulation arises in response to the socially inefficient yet rational financial instability resulting from uninternalized externalities. The fourth collective cognition paradigm is grounded on the need to temper the mood swings that arise from bounded rationality or severe cognitive frictions in a rapidly changing, complex and uncertain world. These four rationales give rise to important tensions and trade-offs in the design of macroprudential policy.
  • Publication
    Benchmarking Financial Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) Beck, Thorsten; Ize, Alain
    Capitalizing on recent improvements in the availability of cross-country financial sector data, this paper proposes a standard methodology for benchmarking the policy component of financial development. Systematic controls are introduced to isolate main structural country characteristics and a principal components analysis is used to help identify a parsimonious set of ten "core" outcome indicators from a broader set of twenty seven potential indicators covering different dimensions of development in both financial institutions and financial markets. Such a broad-based approach helps reveal important determinants and regularities of the process of financial development. The paper also identifies some of the main data gaps that will need to be filled to allow further progress in financial benchmarking looking forward.
  • Publication
    Latin America’s Growth: Looking through the Demand Glass
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11) de la Torre, Augusto; Ize, Alain
    This paper revisits the historical roots of Latin America’s disappointing growth using a novel macro and trade-based growth decomposition and a simple model of industrialization in a commodities-exporting country with a large informal sector. The approach suggests the need to better qualify two opposite narratives: that the post-1982 (“neoliberal”) reforms have failed, and it is time to look back to the import substitution industrialization era for policy inspiration; and that the post-1982 reforms went in the right direction but must be completed to unleash significant productivity gains. Both can be misleading because they downplay the role of demand. The apparent “miracle” of import substitution industrialization does not provide a realistic point of comparison because it reflected an unsustainable, demand-induced boost in productivity. And the gains expected from Washington Consensus-style reforms alone can be overstated because they are derived from overly restrictive assumptions on demand. By allowing demand to play a more central role, the paper finds a close and revealing relationship between the growth patterns followed by Latin American countries, the quality of their macroeconomic policies, the nature of their trade, and the segmentation of their labor markets. Going forward, the policy agenda calls for an outwardly oriented growth strategy, supported by a more proactive role for the state that promotes not only efficiency in supply, but also the appeal to demand.
  • 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
    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.
  • Publication
    Should Latin America Save More to Grow Faster?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-08) de la Torre, Augusto; Ize, Alain
    Latin America’s historically low saving rates and sub-par growth performance raise the question of whether the region should save more to grow faster. Economists generally resist acknowledging a policy-exploitable causal connection going from saving to growth because domestic saving is perceived to be fully endogenous, optimally determined, or fully substitutable by foreign saving. However, to the extent that these three assumptions do not hold, three channels can be established through which higher domestic saving—by curbing persistent current account deficits—can promote medium-term growth. The channels are first, a real interest rate channel, whereby higher saving reduces the cost of capital and enhances macro sustainability; second, a real exchange rate channel, through which higher saving leads to a more competitive real exchange rate; and third, an endogenous saving channel, whereby saving follows growth and, hence, subsequently compounds the effect of the first two channels. Econometric evidence supports all three channels and suggests that the lower-saving countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially those with recurrently weak balance of payments and persistent domestic demand pressures on the non-tradable sector, would benefit the most from boosting their saving rates.
  • 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.