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 - 10 of 10
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, 2008-06) Beck, Thorsten ; Feyen, Erik ; Ize, Alain ; Moizeszowicz, FlorenciaCapitalizing 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Ize, Alain ; Pardo, Rafael ; Zekri, SarahThis paper uses a simple statistical approach to exploit some of the wealth of information contained in FSAP reports. The authors classify and count FSAP recommendations along a logical grid that reflects the fabric of financial activity and the ways in which states organize their policies in support of financial development. With some caveats reflecting the inherent limitations of the exercise, this analysis provides a simple monitoring tool to help understand the nature and evolution of the FSAP program. At the same time, it throws light on the nuts and bolts of the process of financial development and its inter-linkages with economic development. While many of the findings conform well to what one would expect, others are more surprising and also potentially more useful for understanding the inner workings of financial development.
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( 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( 2011-10-01) de la Torre, Augusto ; Feyen, Erik ; Ize, AlainThis paper analyzes the bright and dark sides of the financial development process through the lenses of the four fundamental frictions to which agents are exposed -- information asymmetry, enforcement, collective action, and collective cognition. Financial development is shaped by the efforts of market participants to grind down or circumvent these frictions, a process further spurred by financial innovation and scale and network effects. The analysis leads to broad predictions regarding the sequencing and convexity of the dynamic paths for a battery of financial development indicators. The method used also yields a robust way to benchmark the financial development paths followed by individual countries or regions. The paper explores the reasons for path deviations and gaps relative to the benchmark. Demand-related effects (past output growth), financial crashes, and supply-related effects (the quality of the enabling environment) all play an important role. Informational frictions are easier to overcome than contractual frictions, not least because of the transferability of financial innovation across borders.
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( 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.