About us

The blog of the IDB’s Research Department shares ideas that matter on public policy and development in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Alejandro IzquierdoAlejandro Izquierdo

Alejandro Izquierdo is Principal Technical Leader of the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He previously held positions as interim Chief Economist and Manager of the Research Department, Regional Economic Advisor for Mexico and Central America, and Principal Economist across the IDB. Alejandro spearheaded the IDB’s Annual Macroeconomic Report for several years and is currently co-director of the Columbia University-IDB executive program on international financial issues in emerging markets. He has also led IDB’s flagship product, the Development in the Americas, on issues such as credit and public expenditure in Latin America. Before his career at the IDB, Alejandro worked at the World Bank in the Department of Economic Policy, and taught courses on macroeconomics and international finance at several Latin American universities. He has several publications in professional journals and edited volumes. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland, an M.S. from Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina, and a B.A. in Economics from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ana María RojasAna María Rojas

Ana María Rojas Méndez is a research fellow in Behavioral Economics in the Research Department. She received a Master in Public Administration in 2018 from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She holds a Master and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. She has six years of work experience in non-profit, intergovernmental and research organizations designing sustainable development policies in South America.

Andrew PowellAndrew Powell

Andrew Powell is the Principal Advisor in the Research Department (RES). He holds a Ba, MPhil. and DPhil. (PhD) from the University of Oxford. Through 1994 he dedicated himself to academia in the United Kingdom as Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and Associate Professor (Lecturer) at London University and the University of Warwick. In 1995, he joined the Central Bank of Argentina and was named Chief Economist in 1996. He represented Argentina as a G20/G22 deputy and as member of three G22 working groups (on crisis resolution, financial system strengthening and transparency) in the late 1990’s. In 2001, he returned to academia, joining the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires as Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in Finance. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the World Bank, IMF and Harvard University. He joined the IDB’s Research Department in 2005 as Lead Research Economist and in 2008 served as Regional Economic Advisor for the Caribbean Region until returning to the Research Department as the Principal Advisor. He has published numerous academic papers in leading economic journals in areas including commodity markets, risk management, the role of multilaterals, regulation, banking and international finance.

Bridget HoffmannBridget Hoffmann

Bridget Hoffmann is an economist in the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. Her research interests are applied microeconomics, development economics, and environmental economics. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University in 2015. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics and Mathematics from the University of Rochester.

Carlos ScartasciniCarlos Scartascini

Carlos Scartascini is Leader of the IDB Behavioral Economics Group and Principal Technical Leader at the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. He is currently focused on expanding the use of behavioral economics at the IDB and leading many field experiments with governments in Latin America and the Caribbean. His current research focuses on the role of messages and methods of communication to affect behavior and demand for public policy. In addition to Behavioral Economics, his areas of expertise include Political Economy and Public Finance. He has published seven books and more than 35 articles in edited volumes and specialized journals. He is Associate Editor of the academic journal Economía. A native of Argentina, Carlos holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Economics from George Mason University.

Eduardo CavalloEduardo Cavallo

Eduardo Cavallo es economista investigador principal en el Departamento de Investigación del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) en Washington DC. Antes de incorporarse al BID, Eduardo era vicepresidente y economista principal para América Latina de Goldman Sachs en Nueva York. Eduardo trabajó en el BID como economista de investigación entre 2006 y 2010. Anteriormente, se desempeñó como investigador en el Centro para el Desarrollo Internacional (CID), investigador visitante en el Banco de la Reserva Federal de Atlanta y miembro del cuerpo docente del programa de verano de la Escuela de Gobierno John F. Kennedy. En Argentina, fue cofundador de la Fundación Grupo Innova.
Sus intereses de investigación se centran en los campos de las finanzas internacionales y de la macroeconomía, con énfasis en América Latina. Ha publicado en varias revistas académicas y es coeditor de los libros: “La Hora del Crecimiento” (BID, 2018); “Ahorrar para Desarrollarse: como América Latina y el Caribe puede ahorrar más y mejor” (Palgrave, 2016) y “Dealing with an International Credit Crunch: Policy Responses to Sudden Stops in Latin America” (Lidiar con una restricción del crédito a nivel internacional: políticas de respuesta a paradas súbitas en América Latina). Tiene un doctorado (PhD) en Políticas Públicas, una maestría de la Universidad de Harvard en E.E.U.U, y una licenciatura en Economía (magna cum laude) de la Universidad de San Andrés (UdeSA), en Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ernesto SteinErnesto Stein

Ernesto Stein is Senior Advisor in the Research Department. He has also been the Regional Economic Advisor in the Country Department of Belize, Central America, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic at the IDB and a Growth Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Development. He has published five books and more than 30 articles in edited volumes and specialized journals, including, the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Development Economics, Economic Policy, Economics and Politics, and the American Economic Review (papers and proceedings). His areas of expertise include international trade and integration, foreign direct investment, productive development policies, institutional economics and political economy. In these last two areas, he coordinated a research team that produced the 2006 edition of the IDB Development in the Americas report, The Politics of Policies. A native of Argentina, Dr. Stein holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

João AyresJoão Ayres

João Ayres is a Research Economist in the Research Department at the Inter-American Development Bank. He received his B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Sao Paulo, his M.Sc. and D.Sc. in Economics from Getulio Vargas Foundation, and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota. During his studies, he held visiting positions at Columbia University, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and worked as a Research Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. His research focuses on international economics, macroeconomics, and public finance.

John Dunn SmithJohn Dunn Smith

John Dunn Smith is the Assistant Editor of the Research Department. His degrees include a BA in Latin American Studies from American University, an AM in the same area from the University of Chicago, and an MA in International Affairs from Carleton University in Ottawa. Writing as J.D. Smith, he has published collections of poetry, essays and humor as well as a children’s book.

Julián CristiáJulián Cristiá

Julián Cristiá, a citizen of Argentina, received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland at College Park.He is a research economist in the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Julián MessinaJulián Messina

Julián Messina is a Lead Research Economist at the research department of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Prior to joining the IDB, he worked at the World Bank and the European Central Bank, and he has taught at the Universities of Barcelona GSE, Georgetown, Girona, Frankfurt and Mainz. His research interests include labor economics, applied macroeconomics and the economics of education. He is author of three books, including two World Bank Latin American Flagship Reports. His work has been published in academic journals including the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Economic Journal, Journal of the European Economic Association and Labour Economics, and he is often featured in popular blogs and media outlets including The Economist. He has extensive experience advising governments in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Dr. Messina obtained his PhD. in Economics at the European University Institute in 2002.

Matías BussoMatías Busso

Matias Busso is a Senior Economist in the Research Department at the Inter-American Development Bank. He is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS) and a member of the executing committee of the Network of Inequality and Poverty of LACEA. His research uses empirical evidence and theory to inform the design of more effective public policies in areas related to labor, education, and productivity. Matias received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 2008. He has published articles in the American Economic Review and The Review of Economics and Statistics, among others.

Nina RapoportNina Rapoport

Nina Rapoport is a research fellow in Behavioral Economics in the Research Department of the IDB. She received a Master in Behavioral Economics in 2018 from University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and holds a double Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research focuses on prosocial behavior under uncertainty.

Patricio DomínguezPatricio Domínguez

Patricio Domínguez is a Research Economist in the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. He obtained his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also obtained a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy. Previously he worked for five years at Techo-Chile, where he served as National Director 2009-2011. He has been a Lecturer at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where he previously obtained the title of Civil Engineer in Transportation and a Master's Degree in Sociology. His research agenda focuses on the use of applied econometric techniques and the use of large administrative data to understand social policies. His areas of interest include problems associated with the evaluation of social programs, and more recently, topics related to economics of crime and criminal justice.

Razvan VlaicuRazvan Vlaicu

Razvan Vlaicu is a senior research economist at the Inter-American Development Bank's Research Department. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University in 2006. He previously taught economics at the University of Maryland, and held short-term positions at the Kellogg School of Management and the World Bank. His research interests are applied microeconomics, political economics, and public economics. His research has been published in academic journals including Review of Economic Studies, American Political Science Review, and Journal of Public Economics.

Samuel BerlinskiSamuel Berlinski

Samuel Berlinski is a Lead Economist at the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. Prior to joining the Bank in 2010, he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at University College London and previously held appointments at Universidad de San Andrés and the London School of Economics. His work has appeared in numerous journals including the Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Law and Economics and Economic Development and Cultural Change. His research at the Bank focuses on the evaluation of public policy, with particular emphasis on Education, Health and Labor Markets. He completed his undergraduate studies in Economics at Universidad de Buenos Aires and obtained a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Oxford, Nuffield College.

Steven AmbrusSteven Ambrus

Steven Ambrus worked as a correspondent for US and European media during two decades in Latin America, covering politics, education, the environment and other issues. He currently works in the communications and publications unit of the Research Department at the IDB.

Veronica FrisanchoVeronica Frisancho

Verónica Frisancho is a research economist in the Research Department. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Pennsylvania State University in 2012, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru.

Before pursuing her doctoral studies, Verónica worked at GRADE, a prestigious think tank in Peru, for almost six years. She also has several years of teaching experience in Peru and in the United States. She has taught Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis and Introductory and Intermediate Microeconomics, as well as Growth and Development and Advanced International Trade Theory and Policy.

Verónica’s work can best be described as applied microeconomics, and her main fields of specialization are Development and Labor Economics. Her research in these areas includes an emphasis on education, labor markets in developing countries, and microfinance. She is currently working on a series of articles on microfinance and on academic performance and learning. She has published in the Population Research and Policy Review and in The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, and currently has several articles under review.

Verónica is an active member of the Royal Economics Society. She has been a referee for the Journal of International Economics and The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Victoria NuguerVictoria Nuguer

Victoria Nuguer is a Research Economist in the Inter-American Development Bank’s Research Department. She holds a Ph.D. from École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne in Switzerland and a bachelor’s degree from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. Prior to joining the Bank in May 2017, she spent nearly three years as a Research Economist in the Bank of Mexico. Victoria’s main research agenda focuses on building dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models to explain key financial transmission mechanisms in closed and open economies. For closed economies, she has focused on the propagation of financial shocks from the housing sector to the rest of the economy. Regarding open economies, Victoria has studied the international transmission of financial shocks from advanced to emerging economies through the bank lending channel. Recently, she has been working on understanding the strategic interaction between monetary and macroprudential policies and on the role of trade credit when firms set prices in emerging economies.