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Institute for International Economics

Who Lost Argentina? Lessons for Avoiding Future Financial Meltdowns

Four years after Argentina’s spectacular financial collapse set off a prolonged and severe economic, social and political crisis, the question of who was to blame continues to be hotly debated. How could a country that was perceived as the “poster child of the IMF” fall into such a profound economic crisis and social despair?

On March 18, 2005 the Center for Global Development hosted an event titled, Who Lost Argentina? Lessons for Avoiding Future Financial Meltdowns, bringing together keynote speakers Paul Blustein, Claudio Loser, and Liliana Rojas-Suarez to discuss this issue, which was moderated by Nancy Birdsall. The speakers presented various viewpoints on the events leading up to the crisis as well as the role and responsibility of international financial institutions such as the IMF.

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Speaker Bios:

Paul Blustein, a staff writer at the Washington Post, has covered business and economic issues for more than twenty-five years. He has also worked at Forbes Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. His work has won several prizes, including business journalism's most prestigious, the Gerald Loeb Award. In addition to And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) he is the author of The Chastening: Inside the Crisis that Rocked the Global Financial System and Humbled the IMF

Claudio M. Loser was head of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before and during the 2001 Argentine financial crisis. A native of Argentina, he is one of the premier economists working on Latin America. He currently focuses on financial, macroeconomic and trade issues as a visiting senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue.
View Claudio Loser's presentation slides

Liliana Rojas-Suarez is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Chair of the Latin American Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, which brings together former ministers of finance from across the region. From March 1998 to October 2000 she worked on Wall Street as Managing Director and Chief Economist for Latin America at Deutsche Bank. Previously she was Principal Advisor in the Office of Chief Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank. From 1984-1994 she worked at the IMF, most recently as Deputy Chief of the Capital Markets and Financial Studies Division of the Research Department.
View Liliana Rojas-Suarez's presentation slides

Nancy Birdsall is president of the Center for Global Development. From 1993-1998 she was Executive Vice-President of the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest of the regional development banks, where she oversaw a $30 billion public and private loan portfolio. Before joining the Inter-American Development Bank, Birdsall spent 14 years in research, policy, and management positions at the World Bank, most recently as Director of the Policy Research Department.

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