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LSE-IDB Annual Conference on Latin America and the Caribbean - Better Spending for Better Lives

Hosted by the Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC)

TW2.9.04, Tower 2, United Kingdom


Laura Abramovsky,

Laura Abramovsky,

Research Associate, Institute of Fiscal Studies,

Alejandro Izquierdo

Alejandro Izquierdo

Chief Economist and General Manager a.i., Research Department, IDB

Professor Peter Kingstone

Professor Peter Kingstone

Department of International Development, King’s College London

Dr Mariana Llanos

Dr Mariana Llanos

Lead Research Fellow, GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies

Carola Pessino

Carola Pessino

Fiscal and Municipal Management Principal Specialist, IDB


Gareth A. Jones

Gareth A. Jones

Director, Latin America and Caribbean Centre

The role and size of government has increased around the world in recent decades, with public spending to gross domestic product growing steadily during the commodity price boom of the 2000s. But has this increase in public spending come at the expense of fiscal sustainability when slow growth in many countries and recession in others has resulted, in many cases, in large and growing fiscal deficits? With dwindling resources governments are now faced with a dilemma, how to “keep economies growing and their citizens happy in a fiscally sustainable manner”.

Given that governments in Latin America and the Caribbean have historically invested less in capital than other regions of the world, it is little surprise that many have decided to maintain current expenditures while devoting the same or fewer resources to infrastructure. Such an approach risks locking-in low economic growth and citizen expectations that current expenditures will continue in the future - ideal conditions for populism.

Prompted by the release of the IDB 2018 Flagship report, Better Spending for Better Lives: how Latin America and the Caribbean Can do more with Less, the conference will address how governments can do more with less. How can governments enhance fiscal responsibility without cutting expenditure? What is the enthusiasm and capacity for efficiency measures? What trust do citizens have in public institutions?  And, what will be the role for political institutions in what may be a difficult decade ahead? 

The conference will be followed by an evening lecture with Alejandro Izquierdo (Chief economist and General Manager a.i. of the Research Department, IDB), Professor Jean-Paul Faguet (Department of International Development, LSE), Irene Mia (Economist Intelligence Unit), Carola Pessino (Fiscal and Municipal Management Principal Specialist, IDB) and Professor Andrés Velasco (Dean, School of Public Policy, LSE). 

Please note that booking for the evening lecture is separate, please follow this link. 


Panel I: Budget Responsibility, Government Effectiveness:

Laura Abramovsky (@TheIFS) is currently an independent economic researcher and consultant. She is also a Research Associate of the IFS (London), and an associate consultant with MacroConsulting (Argentina).  Laura’s work involves high-impact and academic research in empirical microeconomics and public policy. Her current work focuses on tax, subsidies and social protection policy, water and sanitation, and public policy and programme evaluation in developing countries. 

Mark Miller (@ODIdev) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. His work focuses on how the international community engages on public finance matters to promote development and how it could play that role more effectively in future.

Dr Joana Naritomi (@LSE_ID) is an Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics, International Development Department. She is a Research Affiliate in the CEPR Public Economics programme, an Institute for Fiscal Studies Research Associate, an IGC Research Affiliate, a CESifo Public Sector Economics Affiliate, and a Lemann Fellow.

Carola Pessino (@CarolaPessino) is the Fiscal & Municipal Management Principal Specialist at the IDB. Carola's research and publications have focused on social policies, poverty and inequality, and the relationships among fiscal policy, education, and labour markets. 

Panel II: Infrastructure and Trust in Institutions:

Alejandro Izquierdo (@IDB_Research) is the interim Chief Economist and Manager of the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (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.

Professor Peter Kingstone (@KingsIntDev) received his BA in Political Science and Ancient History from Swarthmore College in 1986. After graduating, he worked in Canadian politics as Parliamentary Advisor to the Hon. Jean Charest. He then returned to academia, earning a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley in 1994.

Dr. Mariana Llanos (@GIGA_Institute) is a political scientist, Lead Research Fellow at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Institute of Latin American Studies, in Hamburg, Germany, and the head of the Accountability and Participation research program at the same institution.

Professor Vidal Romero (@vidalromero_) is a newly appointed Visiting Fellow at the Latin America and Caribbean Centre. He holds a BA in Law from the Universidad de Guadalajara, a Master’s in Public Policy from ITAM, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.

Fabrizio Scrollini (@Fscrollini) is the Executive Director of the Latin American Open Data Initiative. He co-founded of Abrelatam and the Open Data Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, and is one of the Lead Stewards of the International Charter of Open Data. 



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