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The Impact of COVID-19 in Latin America

May 19, 2020

Virtual Seminar and Conversation

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  • This seminar will address the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin American economies with lessons for other emerging economies. Ignacio Briones, Minister of Finance of Chile, will offer a brief introduction. Then, prominent academics and former Ministers of Finance from the region will share their views on how the crisis is affecting key macroeconomic variables, including fiscal space, debt capacity, inflation expectations, and growth. The panel will also discuss the optimal policy responses to soften the effects of the sustained shock on households and firms, particularly given the social pressures to ease the lockdown, the risk of new waves of infection, and limited economic tools available in the region.

    This seminar is being jointly sponsored by the World Bank Group Research and Development Center in Chile and the Center for Business Finance at the Business School of Universidad Adolfo Ibañez.

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    Laura Alfaro

    Professor, Harvard Business School; Former Minister of Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica

    Laura Alfaro is the Warren Alpert Professor of Business Administration. She is also a Faculty Research Associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research's International Finance and Macroeconomics Program and the International Trade and Investment Program, member of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Economic Advisory Board, the Latin-American Financial Regulatory Committee (CLAAF), Faculty Associate at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and member of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies’ (DRCLAS) policy committee, among others.

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    Ignacio Briones

    Minister of Finance, Chile

    Mr. Ignacio Briones Rojas is the Minister of Finance of the Government of Chile under the administration of President Sebastián Piñera. Ignacio Briones holds an BA in Economics as well as Master in Economics and Political Science from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and PhD in Economics from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Sciences-po in Paris, France. He assumed the position of Minister of Finance of Chile on October 28, 2019. Until his appointment, he served as Dean of the School of Government of the Adolfo Ibáñez University, a position he held since June 2014.

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    Guillermo Calvo

    Professor, Columbia University; Former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank

    Guillermo Calvo is Professor of Economics, International and Public Affairs, and Director of the MPA in Economic Policy Management (MPA-EPM) at Columbia University since January 2007. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He is the former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank (2001-2006), President of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association, LACEA, 2000-2001, and President of the International Economic Association, IEA, 2005-2008. He graduated with a Ph.D. from Yale in 1974.

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    Mauricio Cárdenas

    Senior Research Scholar, Columbia University; Former Minister of Finance, Colombia

    Mauricio Cardenas is a recognized Latin American economist with vast academic and policymaking experience. As Colombia’s finance minister between 2012 and 2018 he handled the oil shock (which caused a 40% reduction in Colombia’s exports), implementing a successful adjustment program that preserved high investment rates and sharp reductions in poverty and inequality. Prior to the shock he had led a fiscal reform that cut payroll taxes, triggering an unprecedented increase in formal jobs. In addition to Finance, has been a minister in four other portfolios: Economic Development (Industry and Housing), Transport, Planning, Mines and Energy, and recently Finance.

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    Martín Rama

    Chief Economist, Latin America and Caribbean Region

    Martín Rama is the World Bank Chief Economist for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. Rama’s top priorities are to provide intellectual leadership on development issues facing LAC, to promote high-quality analytical work about the region, and to advisce the regional management team on development issues. From 2013 to 2018, Rama was the Chief Economist for the South Asia region of the World Bank, based in Delhi, India.

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    Andrés Velasco

    Dean, School of Public Policy, London School of Economics; Former Minister of Finance, Chile

    Andrés Velasco is the Dean of the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2017-18 he was a member of the G20 Eminent Persons Group. During 2015-16 he co-chaired the Global Panel on the Future of the Multilateral Lending Institutions. In 2013-16 he was a member of the Global Oceans Commission. Mr. Velasco was a presidential candidate in Chile in 2013. He also was the Minister of Finance of Chile between March 2006 and March 2010. During his tenure he was recognized as Latin American Finance Minister of the Year by several international publications. His work to save Chile´s copper windfall and create a rainy-day fund was highlighted in the Financial Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, among many others.

  • Panelists

    Chair:

    Martin Rama, Chief Economist, Latin America and Caribbean Region

    Welcome:Julio Riutort, Assistant Professor of Finance, School of Business of Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
    Sergio Schmukler, Lead Economist, Development Research Group

    Opening Remarks:

    Ignacio Briones, Minister of Finance, Chile

    Speakers:

    Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School; Former Minister of Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica | Presentation
    Guillermo Calvo, Professor, Columbia University; Former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank | Presentation
    Mauricio Cárdenas, Senior Research Scholar, Columbia University; Former Minister of Finance, Colombia
    Andrés Velasco, Dean, School of Public Policy, London School of Economics; Former Minister of Finance, Chile

    Additional Materials:

    Column: Emerging Economies Need New Finance, Not Moratoriums

    Column: Latin America Needs to Protect Itself From the Virus of Populism

Event Details

  • Date: May 19
  • Time: 11:30am - 1:00pm (ET/Washington, D.C. Time)
  • CONTACT: Michelle Chester
  • mchester@worldbank.org
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