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Argentinean Economic Crisis and Its Implications for Emerging Markets Topic of PEPM Conference

The case of Argentina is a pivotal one to study among emerging markets. For a period of time in the 1990s, many considered Argentina's economy a model for the developing world. Following major policy reforms in the early 1990s, Argentina's economic growth took off at an accelerated path. Income per-capita rose by an average of 4 percent each year between 1990 and 1998, a record matched in Latin America only by Chile. Inflation was cut from a rate of over 1,000 percent a year to less than 1 percent. And exchange rate instability was drastically reduced by means of a convertibility law that kept the peso-dollar exchange rate at a stable, fixed value of 1 peso per dollar throughout the decade.

By the late 1990s, however, the Argentinean economy was floundering. Economic growth had stopped. Unemployment was rampant. And the country became enveloped in one of the worst economic debacles in its history, one that continues to the present. Income per-capita has declined by close to one third of its value since 1998. Unemployment has risen to over 20 percent of the labor force in most parts of the country. And an additional 13 percent of the labor force is under-employed. Inflation has picked-up again, to double digits, the stock market crashed, and the peso has sharply depreciated in value, from one peso per dollar in December 2001 to 3.60 pesos per dollar at the present time.

What happened to Argentina?

Columbia University's Program in Economic Policy Management is sponsoring a research conference entitled "Argentinean Economic Crisis and Its Implications for Emerging Markets" to answer this question. The conference will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 18th and 19th, on the 15th floor of the International Affairs Building on the Columbia University campus. It is free and open to the public.

The conference seeks to investigate the causes of Argentina's economic crisis, the current situation in the country, the possible policy measures that can be undertaken to counteract it and the implications of the Argentinean experience for other emerging markets. Indeed, many developing economies have either implemented or have considered implementing policies of the type adopted by Argentina. There is, as a consequence, much concern about the Argentinean collapse.

"Argentinean Economic Crisis and Its Implications for Emerging Markets" covers topics ranging from macroeconomic issues and exchange rate economics to labor markets and income distribution. A broad set of experts on Argentinean and emerging market issues will participate, including: Mario Blejer, former president of the Central Bank of Argentina; Guillermo Calvo, chief economist at the Interamerican Development Bank; Domingo Cavallo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance and Minister of Economy of Argentina, currently at New York University; Juan Carlos de Pablo, professor of economics at the Universidad del CEMA in Buenos Aires; Albert Fishlow, professor of economics and international affairs at Columbia University; Miguel Kiguel, former Vice-Minister of Economy of Argentina; Jose Luis Machinea, former Minister of Economy of Argentina, and Segio Schmukler, Latin America expert at the World Bank, among others.

The conference is sponsored by the Program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM), School of International and Public Affairs and the Department of Economics. The PEPM program grants the M.P.A. degree. It was created in 1991 by the School of International and Public Affairs, the Department of Economics and the Graduate School of Business. Its mission is to impart to professionals and policy makers of demonstrated achievement and superior potential the skills required for the effective design and implementation of economic policy in market economies, with a strong emphasis on the economic problems of developing and formerly socialist economies

The conference program follows. For more details, please contact the PEPM program office at 212-854-6982.

Conference Schedule

Fri., Oct. 18
8:00 - 9:00Registration
9:00 - 9:15Welcome
Stephen Cameron, School of Intl. and Public Affairs, Columbia
Donald Davis, Chair, Dept. of Economics, Columbia
9:15 - 10:30Introduction: Argentina in the 1990s
Chair: Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, Columbia
Presenters: Domingo Cavallo, New York University;
Bernardo Kosacoff, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Buenos Aires
10:30 - 11:00Break
11:00 - 12:30The Crisis and Argentina's Financial System Chair: Ricardo Carciofi, Interamerican Development Bank
Presenters: Miguel Kiguel, Banco Hipotecario de Argentina, Buenos Aires;
Sergio Schmukler, The World Bank
12:30 - 2:00Lunch
2:00 - 3:30Macroeconomic Developments
Chair: Graciana del Castillo, Macroeconomic Advisory Group
Presenters: Jose Luis Machinea, Interamerican Development Bank;
Mario Blejer, Former President of the Central Bank of Agrentina
3:30 - 4:00Break
4:00 - 5:30The Exchange Rate Regime and International Linkages
Chair: Sara Calvo, The World Bank
Presenters: Alejandro Izquierdo, Interamerican Development Bank;
Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, Columbia
5:30 - 7:00Reception
Sat., Oct. 19
9:30 - 10:00Break
10:00 -11:15Macroeconomic Issues
Presenters: Daniel Heymann, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Buenos Aires;
Luis Rivera-Batiz, McGill University, Montreal
11:15 - 12:15Fiscal Policy, Debt and Country Risk
Presenters: Javier Alvaredo, Economic Consultant, Buenos Aires; Juan Pablo Jimenez, Columbia
12:15 - 1:00Lunch
1:00 - 2:30The Labor Market and Income Distribution
Chair: Hernan Lopez, Columbia
Presenters: Paolo Campanini, Italian Consulate in Argentina;
Mario Damill, Director, Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad, Buenos Aires
2:30 - 3:00Break
3:00-4:30Panel Discussion
Moderator: Miguel Kiguel, Banco Hipotecario de Argentina
Panelists: Guillermo Calvo, Interamerican Development Bank;
Juan Carlos de Pablo, Universidad de San Andres and Universidad del CEMA;
Albert Fishlow, Columbia

Published: Oct 17, 2002
Last modified: Oct 16, 2002


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