Prospects for Post-COVID Economic Recovery in Latin America


Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 12:00pm to 1:20pm

For a recording of this event, please click here.

The economic toll of the Covid crisis on Latin America has been catastrophic. According to The Economist, whereas global GDP contracted by 3% last year, that of Latin America and the Caribbean fell on average by 7%, the worst of any region tracked by the IMF. Lengthy lockdowns have contributed to the exacerbation of poverty and inequality, and school closures threaten a looming crisis of human capital formation. Panelists review the reasons for the magnitude of the crisis, why Latin America’s recovery lags the rest of the world, and above all how Latin America will recover from the crisis.

Speakers: Jose Scheinkman, Professor of Economics, Columbia University; Adriana Camacho, Associate Professor of Economics, Universidad de los Andes; Santiago Levy, Senior Fellow - Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institute 
Moderated by: Frances Hagopian, Jorge Paulo Lemann Senior Lecturer on Government, Harvard University

José A. Scheinkman is the Charles and Lynn Zhang Professor of Economics at Columbia University, Theodore A. Wells ‘29 Professor of Economics (emeritus) at Princeton University and a Research Associate at the NBER. Previously, Scheinkman was the Alvin H. Baum Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, Blaise Pascal Research Professor (France), Visiting Professor at Collège de France, Vice President in the Financial Strategies Group of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and co-editor of the Journal of Political Economy. He has served as a consultant to several financial institutions and serves on the board of Cosan Limited, a NYSE listed company engaged in the production and distribution of sugar, ethanol and energy in Brazil. Scheinkman is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the American Finance Association, Fellow of the Econometric Society, Corresponding Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and received a “docteur honoris causa” from the Université Paris-Dauphine. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 2007 and the CME-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications in 2014. Scheinkman’s current research focuses on speculation in financial markets and on the effect of increases in liquidity on financial fragility.

Adriana Camacho received her PhD in Economics from Brown University in 2007. She is an Associate Professor at the Economics Department at the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). She is the academic advisor for several ongoing projects led by the Direction of Impact Evaluation and Policy Learning at CAF. She recently served for the Colombian Government as Director of Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policies at the Department of National Planning. She has held visiting research positions at Center for Global Development, World Bank- Latin America Chief Economist office and DIW (Berlin). She was editor of the Desarrollo y Sociedad Journal and now serves as invited editor for the Latin American Economic Review journal. She has carried out evaluation of social programs and their direct impacts on health and education, as well as its indirect effects on informality, political participation, and crime among others. She has studied the impact of the conflict on health and business activity. Her research has been published in international journals AER-pp, AEJ: Policy, WBER, EDCC, JCR, and The Lancet. It has been funded by the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, IADB, the World Bank, ESRC / DFID and National Planning Department.

Santiago Levy is a nonresident senior fellow with the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings and president of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association. From 2008 to 2018 he was the vice president for sectors and knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank. From 1994 to 2000, he served as the deputy minister at the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico. He has also held the following positions: general director, Mexican Social Security Institute: Dec 2000–Oct 2005; president, Federal Competition Commission: Jun 1993–Dec 1994; director for deregulation, Ministry of Industry and Trade: Feb 1992–Jun 1993; associate professor of economics (tenured), Boston University: Sept 1989–May 1993; director, Institute for Economic Development, Boston University: Sept 1989- Aug 1990; assistant professor of economics, Boston University: Sept 1983–Aug 1989; visiting researcher, Cambridge University: Jan-Dec 1981; economics professor, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México: Feb 1979-Dec 1982. Mr. Levy has received the following awards: first place, National Research Prize in Economics, granted by Banco Nacional de México for his article “Poverty in Mexico;” first place, Latin American Economics Prize, granted by El Trimestre Económico for his article “Multiple Exchange Rates and Foreign Exchange Rationing.” Mr. Levy has published six books, 24 articles in academic journals, and 20 book chapters on economic growth and productivity, social policy, informality, education, budgetary and tax policy, trade policy reform, rural and regional development, competition policy, labor markets, and policies for poverty alleviation. His latest book on economic growth in Mexico, “Under-Rewarded Efforts, The Elusive Quest for Prosperity in Mexico,” was published in 2018 by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Frances Hagopian is Jorge Paulo Lemann Senior Lecturer on Government. She specializes in the comparative politics of Latin America, with emphasis on democratization, political representation, political economy, and religion and politics. Hagopian is author of Reorganizing Representation in Latin America (2014, Cambridge University Press), editor of Religious Pluralism, Democracy, and the Catholic Church in Latin America (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), co-editor (with Scott Mainwaring) of The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America: Advances and Setbacks (Cambridge 2005), and author of Traditional Politics and Regime Change in Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her current work focuses on the establishment of a social welfare regime in Brazil, and the political economy of inequality in Latin America. She previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, where she was Director of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, as well as Tufts and Harvard Universities. She has also been a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an Associate Member of Nuffield College, Oxford.

Presented in collaboration with Weatherhead Center for International Affairs