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Multiple crises in the Latin American past, including severe banking crises, have been accompanied by sharp and persistent devaluations. This time around, the impressively large currency depreciations (over 50 percent in some countries) resulting from the ongoing commodity price shock and volatile international capital markets have resulted in contraction in output growth (and even recession in Brazil), but no financial crisis.
Why not? And can Latin America muddle through this episode of adverse international conditions and avoid the severe financial crises that distinguished the region in the 1980s and 1990s? Or will cumulative shocks eventually expose domestic financial vulnerabilities and cause severe crises to ensue?
In a short report accompanying the event, CLAAF members will seek to answer these questions, as well as:
Will an eventual increase in the Fed’s rates be the straw that breaks the camel's back in the region or will the expected series of small Fed rate hikes calm markets and induce a renewal of inflows to Latin America?
Increased flexibility in exchange rates has certainly helped absorb external shocks in the region. But, as most Latin American countries lack strong institutional quality, has this policy unintentionally resulted in a false sense of security and fostered postponement of needed reforms in other key areas?
Is now the time for tight monetary/fiscal policies even if they are pro-cyclical?
Guillermo Calvo, Professor, Columbia University; former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank Carmen Reinhart, Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard Kennedy School Liliana Rojas-Suarez, President, CLAAF and Senior Fellow and Director, Latin America Initiative, Center for Global Development Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School; former Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica Pedro Carvalho de Mello, Professor, Universidade de Sao Paulo; former Commissioner, Comissao de Valores Mobiliarios, Brazil Roque Fernandez, Professor, Universidad del CEMA; former Minister of Finance, Argentina Pablo Guidotti Dean and Professor, School of Government, Universidad Torcuato di Tella; Former Vice-Minister of Finance, Argentina Enrique Mendoza, Presidential Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Penn Institute for Economic Research Guillermo Perry, Non-resident fellow, Center for Global Development; Professor, Universidad de los Andes; Former Minister of Finance, Colombia Ernesto Talvi, Director of the Brookings-CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative
The Birdsall House Conference Series on Women seeks to identify and bring attention to leading research and scholarly findings on women’s empowerment in the fields of development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy. On December 7th, academics, private sector representatives, and policymakers will turn to an issue that affects women in rich and poor countries alike: the ability to make informed, voluntary, and autonomous choices about childbearing, and the implications of reproductive choice as a lever to expand women’s economic and life prospects. Until recently, there has been a lack of rigorous empirical evidence on the links between contraceptive access and women’s economic empowerment in low- and middle-income countries. The 2017 Birdsall House Conference will feature new findings on this relationship alongside existing evidence from the United States.
What are the challenges and opportunities for growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region? In his presentation, Jihad Azour will present the IMF’s latest economic outlook for the MENAP region. He will argue that growth has not been fast enough and has not created sufficient opportunities to address high levels of unemployment. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on the main impediments to growth and highlight the policy priorities to durably increase it and make it more inclusive.
The terminology describing economic programs for women has changed: actions to ‘empower women economically’ have replaced efforts to ‘increase women’s productivity and incomes.’ But how can we actually measure ‘economic empowerment’? Last November, CGD, in collaboration with Data2X, IDRC and the World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab organized a panel discussion on possible measures and issues, drawing on evidence from the ExxonMobil Foundation-funded report Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Roadmap and its update, “Revisiting What Works.” Read the overview here. Since then, new research has been conducted which raises alternative perspectives on these measures.
Webcast of former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers' keynote at the Center for Global Development’s annual Global Development Changemaker Dinner. Summers’ speech, which coincides with President Trump’s first visit to China, will address the changing power dynamics among key global leaders and will discuss rethinking global development for the 21st Century.
The IMF Fiscal Affairs Department is launching a new book entitled Digital Revolutions in Public Finance. Offering the first detailed assessment of the impact of digital technology on fiscal policy, this publication is a landmark of a collaboration between the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It includes contributions from academics, former government officials and technologists, providing perspectives on how digitalization can revolutionize the design and implementation of fiscal policy—and on the risks and challenges that need to be faced.
The Center for Global Development—with Results for Development—is pleased to host this year's Philip A. Musgrove Memorial Lecture, to be delivered by Ricardo Bitran. Philip A. Musgrove worked on a broad set of topics in health economics and policy in developing countries. In each, he made major contributions thanks to his keenly analytical mind and implacable logic, along with his dry sense of humor. Setting priorities in health was among Philip’s preferred subjects. While at the World Bank he worked on the World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health. A main and controversial prescription from the Report was that low- and middle-income countries could tackle a substantive part of their burden of disease by delivering a health benefits package of prioritized, cost-effective interventions.
In many countries, it is difficult to raise taxes and therefore difficult to increase spending on health care. Nevertheless, many of the factors that determine population health—and how it is distributed among citizens—do not involve spending more on healthcare services, per se. Rather, the burden of many non-communicable diseases and external injuries can be influenced by creative reform of taxes and subsidies. Taxing tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages can reduce consumption of products which contribute to cardiovascular disease, traffic accidents, and diabetes. Subsidies for condoms, vaccines, and TB diagnostics can reduce the prevalence of many important infectious diseases. Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, will present findings from his research with Ian Parry at the International Monetary Fund on the potential for health gains from taxes and subsidies. This lunchtime talk will be moderated by William Savedoff, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Transactional sex (sex for money) is a common risk-coping behavior in sub-Saharan Africa and is believed to be a leading driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In her upcoming paper, Kelly Jones and her coauthors examine whether access to precautionary savings can mitigate the use of transactional sex as a response to negative shocks. In a field experiment in Kenya, half of the over 600 vulnerable women participants were randomly assigned a savings intervention that consists of opening a mobile banking savings account labeled for emergency expenses and individual goals. They find that the intervention led to an increase in total mobile savings, reductions in transactional sex as a risk-coping response to shocks, and a decrease in symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.