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 23
Publication(Elsevier, 2013-04-10) Anginer, Deniz ; de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThe global financial crisis brought government guarantees to the forefront of the debate. Based on a review of frictions that hinder financial contracting, this paper concludes that the common justifications for government guarantees—i.e., principal-agent frictions or un-internalized externalities in an environment of risk neutrality—are flawed. Even where risk is purely idiosyncratic—and thus diversifiable in principle—government guarantees (typically granted via development banks/agencies) can be justified if private lenders are risk averse and because of the state’s comparative advantage over markets in resolving the collective action frictions that hinder risk spreading. To exploit this advantage while keeping moral hazard in check, however, development banks/agencies have to price their guarantees fairly, crowd in the private sector, and reduce their excessive risk aversion. The latter requires overcoming agency frictions between managers and owner (the state), which would entail a significant reshaping of development banks’ mandates, governance, and risk management systems.
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, 2013-08) de la Torre, Augusto ; Ize, AlainThis 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(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, 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, 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.