The Macroeconomics of the Latin American Economic Boom
Working Paper #138
This paper argues that the recent boom in the Latin American economies can be explained by the conjunction of two external factors not found together since the 1970s: strong commodity prices (more so for hydrocarbons and mining products than for agricultural commodities) and exceptional external financing conditions. Concerning the latter, the key development was the massive influx of capital during two periods of “exuberance” in international financial markets (between mid-2004 and April 2006, and between mid-2006 and mid-2007), particularly the second. It also argues for the importance of spreading and consolidating Latin America’s two great (and complementary) macroeconomic policy innovations of recent years: countercyclical fiscal management (still confined to just a few countries) and active intervention in currency markets. Such intervention needs to be based on a growing recognition that the real exchange rate ought to be an explicit goal of macroeconomic policy.
About the Author
José Antonio Ocampo
Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University and former Minister of Finance of Colombia
Jose Antonio Ocampo is a Professor of Professional Practice in the School of International and Public Affairs and former Minister of Finance of Colombia. He is also a Fellow of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. Prior to his appointment at Columbia, Professor Ocampo served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and head of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and has held a number of high-level posts in the Government of Colombia, including Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Director of the National Planning Department, and Minister of Agriculture . Professor Ocampo is author or editor of over 30 books and has published over 200 scholarly articles on macroeconomic theory and policy, international financial issues, economic development, international trade, and Colombian and Latin American economic history.