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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 22
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Publication

Financial paradigms

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.

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The Conceptual Foundations of Macroprudential Policy : A Roadmap

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.

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Containing Systemic Risk : Are Regulatory Reform Proposals on the Right Track?

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.

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Financial Development in Latin America and the Caribbean : The Road Ahead

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.

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Financial Development : Structure and Dynamics

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.

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Benchmarking Financial Development

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.

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Should Latin America Save More to Grow Faster?

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.

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The Foundations of Macroprudential Regulation : A Conceptual Roadmap

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.

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Latin America’s Growth: Looking through the Demand Glass

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.

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Latin America and the Rising South: Changing World, Changing Priorities

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.