On November 19, 2023 Argentina held general elections. Libertarian Javier Milei topped his Peronist opponent Sergio Massa with 56% of the public’s vote. Some experts believe Milei won because of the desperate economic situation as Argentines face triple-digit inflation and increasing poverty rates. Milei, a self-described “anarcho capitalist,” had vouched to get rid of the central bank, dollarize the economy and cut public spending with a chainsaw. How will the president-elect’s administration deal with the worsening economic crisis and runaway inflation? What policies and outcomes are expected as part of Milei’s “economic shock therapy”? The Georgetown Americas Institute welcomed Nora Lustig, GAI fellow and professor at Tulane University; Alejandro Werner, GAI founding director; José María Fanelli of Universidad de San Andrés; Ramiro Albrieu of Center for State and Society Studies (CEDES) and Red Sur; and Lourdes Rodríguez of the World Bank to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Argentina under the Milei administration.
This conversation took place in Spanish with English interpretation.
Jose María Fanelli has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Buenos Aires. He is emeritus professor at Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina, and former director of the Economics Department at the University of Buenos Aires. He is currently a member of the National Academy of Economics in Argentina. He has been actively involved in the establishment of research networks in the Latin American region and has worked as a consultant for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, the G-24, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Global Development Network (GDN), and International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He has published extensively on macroeconomic and financial problems in Latin America and works on market reforms and the relationship between demographics and the macroeconomy in developing countries.
Ramiro Albrieu is associate professor of macroeconomics and finance at the Universidad of Buenos Aires and senior researcher at the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC). He is also the director of the research program Natural Resources and Sustainable Development in Latin America of the South American Network of Empirical Economics (Red Sur), associate researcher of the Center for State and Society Studies (CEDES), and associate research for the Commitment to Equity Institute at Tulane University.
Lourdes Rodríguez is a senior economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice at the World Bank, where she has worked in the Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and Caribbean regional units. Her work focuses on applied microeconomics, labor markets, political economy of development, and gender. Lourdes led the World Bank Gender Innovation Lab for the LAC region from 2019 to 2021. Before joining the World Bank, she worked at the Inter-American Development Bank, the George Washington University, and the government of Mexico. She has published several articles and reports on poverty measurement, gender gaps in the labor market, poverty impacts of climate shocks, and distributive effects of government investments. She co-authored the book Cashing in on Education: Women, Childcare and Prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). Lourdes holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Alejandro Werner is the founding director of the Georgetown Americas Institute and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He recently completed almost nine years as director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that appointment, he was undersecretary of finance and public credit in Mexico’s Finance Ministry and held several positions in that ministry and the Central Bank. He also taught at leading universities in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in economics from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).
Nora Lustig is a resident fellow with the Georgetown Americas Institute and Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics and the founding director of the Commitment to Equity Institute (CEQ) at Tulane University. She is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, the Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue. Lustig’s research is on economic development, inequality and social policies with emphasis on Latin America. She is the editor of Commitment to Equity Handbook: Estimating the Impact of Fiscal Policy on Inequality and Poverty (2018), a step-by-step guide to assessing the impact of taxation and social spending on inequality and poverty in developing countries. Lustig is president of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ) and a founding member and president emeritus of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA). She received her doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.