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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 13
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Publication

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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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.

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Latin American Growth: A Trade Perspective

2019-06, de la Torre, Augusto, Ize, Alain

This 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.

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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 Treads a Narrow Path to Growth: LAC Semiannual Report, April 2015

2015-04, de la Torre, Augusto, Ize, Alain, Pienknagura, Samuel

The 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.

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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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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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Dollarization of the Banking System : Good or Bad?

2003-08, De Nicolo, Gianni, Honohan, Patrick, Ize, Alain

De 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.