Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
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 - 9 of 9
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThis 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-08) De Nicolo, Gianni ; Honohan, Patrick ; Ize, AlainDe Nicol� Honohan, and Ize assess the benefits and risks associated with dollarization of the banking system. The authors provide novel empirical evidence on the determinants of dollarization, its role in promoting financial development, and on whether dollarization is associated with financial instability. They find that: The credibility of macroeconomic policy and the quality of institutions are both key determinants of cross-country variations in dollarization. Dollarization is likely to promote financial deepening only in a high inflation environment. Financial instability is likely higher in dollarized economies. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for financial sector and monetary policies.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-11) Torre, Augusto de la ; Ize, AlainWhat 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-10) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThis 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(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( 2011-12-01) Anginer, Deniz ; de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThe global financial crisis brought public guarantees to the forefront of the policy debate. Based on a review of the theoretical foundations of public guarantees, this paper concludes that the commonly used justifications for public guarantees based solely on agency frictions (such as adverse selection or lack of collateral) and/or un-internalized externalities are flawed. When risk is idiosyncratic, it is highly unlikely that a case for guarantees can be made without risk aversion. When risk aversion is explicitly added to the picture, public guarantees may be justified by the state's natural advantage in dealing with collective action failures (providing public goods). The state can spread risk more finely across space and time because it can coordinate and pool atomistic agents that would otherwise not organize themselves to solve monitoring or commitment problems. Public guarantees may be transitory, until financial systems mature, or permanent, when risk is fat-tailed. In the case of aggregate (non-diversifiable) risk, permanent public guarantees may also be justified, but in this case the state adds value not by spreading risk but by coordinating agents. In addition to greater transparency in justifying public guarantees, the analysis calls for exploiting the natural complementarities between the state and the markets in bearing risk.
Publication( 2009-02-01) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThe 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.
Publication(World Bank, 2012) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, Alain ; Schmukler, Sergio L.The financial systems of the Latin America and the Caribbean region (LAC) are at a crucial juncture. After a history of recurrent instability and crisis (a trademark of the region), they now seem well poised for rapid expansion. Since the last wave of financial crises that swept through the region in the late 1990s and early 2000s, financial systems in LAC have continued to gain in soundness, depth, and diversity. The size of banking systems has increased, albeit from a low base; local currency bond markets have greatly developed, both in volumes and in reach over the yield curve; stock markets have expanded; and derivative markets particularly currency derivatives have grown and multiplied. Institutional investors have become more important relative to banks, making the financial system more complex and diversified. Importantly, much progress has been made in financial inclusion, particularly through the expansion of payments, savings, and credit services to lower income households and microenterprises. As evidence of their new soundness and resiliency, financial systems in the region, except in some Caribbean countries, weathered the recent global financial crisis remarkably well. The progress in financial development in LAC no doubt reflects substantial improvements in the enabling environment, lower macroeconomic volatility, more independent and better-anchored currencies, increased financial liberalization, lower currency mismatches and foreign debt exposures, enhanced effectiveness of regulation and supervision, and notable improvements in the underlying market infrastructures (for example, trading, payments, custody, clearing, and settlement). This regional flagship report aims at providing such a stocktaking and forward looking assessment of the region's financial development. Rather than going into detail about sector-specific issues, the report focuses on the main architectural issues, overall perspectives, and interconnections. The value added of the report thus hinges on its holistic view of the development process, its broad coverage of the financial services industry (not just banking), its emphasis on benchmarking, its systemic perspective, and its explicit effort to incorporate the lessons from the recent global financial crisis.
Publication( 2011-01-01) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainFinancial crises can happen for a variety of reasons: (a) nobody really understands what is going on (the collective cognition paradigm); (b) some understand better than others and take advantage of their knowledge (the asymmetric information paradigm); (c) everybody understands, but crises are a natural part of the financial landscape (the costly enforcement paradigm); or (d) everybody understands, yet no one acts because private and social interests do not coincide (the collective action paradigm). The four paradigms have different and often conflicting prudential policy implications. This paper proposes and discusses three sets of reforms that would give due weight to the insights from the collective action and collective cognition paradigms by redrawing the regulatory perimeter to internalize systemic risk without promoting dynamic regulatory arbitrage; introducing a truly systemic liquidity regulation that moves away from a purely idiosyncratic focus on maturity mismatches; and building up the supervisory function while avoiding the pitfalls of expanded official oversight.