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
Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, The World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
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).
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThis 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-08) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainLatin 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(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-10-05) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, Alain ; Beylis, Guillermo ; Lederman, DanielChapter 1 of the report covers the short-term prospects and provides an analysis of the external factors affecting the region's economic slowdown. The focus is on the adjustment challenges faced by those Latin American countries experiencing a major adverse terms of trade shock, which comes after an unprecedented (in magnitude and duration) period of terms of trade bonanza. Chapter 2 discusses the key topic of this semiannual report, that is, the implications of the slowdown for labor markets – on jobs and wages. We describe the broad labor market trends observed during the boom and contrast them with the patterns observed during the slowdown. We also describe the implications of the slowdown for inequality. A corollary of the observed labor market patterns during the slowdown is that some of the gains towards greater income equality achieved in the past decade or so may be reversed, at least in part, and that we may see a divergence between labor income inequality and household income inequality, whereby the latter may rise more than the former.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, Alain ; Pienknagura, SamuelThe April 2015 LAC Semiannual Report covers the short-term prospects and provides an analysis of the external factors affecting the region's economic performance. The first chapter expands on LAC's economic outlook paying special attention to the global context and its effect on LAC’s economic performance. In this first Chapter we argue that the region experienced an external shock that has shaped growth in recent years, and that this shock is likely here to stay. Chapter 2 discusses the policy space available for LAC countries as they try to accommodate to the current global context. In particular, the first part of the second Chapter discusses the rather limited monetary fiscal and monetary space currently present in the region. The second part of the Chapter argues part of this limited policy space is associated to LAC’s relatively low savings rate. Moreover, the Chapter shows that in addition to the potential positive effects that higher savings could have on policy space, it could also have a beneficial effect on long-term growth.
Publication(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(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-04-12) de la Torre, Augusto ; Filippini, Federico ; Ize, AlainThis 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThis 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(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-10-05) de la Torre, Augusto ; Lederman, Daniel ; Ize, Alain ; Bennett, Federico R. ; Sasson, MartinThis 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.