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Javier Santiso

Javier Santiso is Professor of Economics at ESADE Business School, Spain, and Vice President of the ESADE Center for the Global Economy and Geopolitics (ESADEgeo). Previously he was the Chief Economist for Latin America and Emerging Markets at BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria) and Chief Development Economist and Director General of the OECD Development Centre. He studied in Paris at Sciences Po, at Oxford University, and at Harvard University, and he holds an MBA and a PhD. He is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. He is the author of Latin America's Political Economy of the Possible: Beyond Good Revolutionaries and Free-Marketeers (MIT Press, 2006).

Titles by This Author

Financial Markets and Elections in Emerging Countries

Politics matter for financial markets and financial markets matter for politics, and nowhere is this relationship more apparent than in emerging markets. In Banking on Democracy, Javier Santiso investigates the links between politics and finance in countries that have recently experienced both economic and democratic transitions. He focuses on elections, investigating whether there is a “democratic premium”—whether financial markets and investors tend to react positively to elections in emerging markets.

Santiso devotes special attention to Latin America, where over the last three decades many countries became democracies, with regular elections, just as they also became open economies dependent on foreign capital and dominated bond markets. Santiso’s analysis draws on a unique set of primary databases (developed during his years at the OECD Development Centre) covering an entire decade: more than 5,000 bank and fund manager portfolio recommendations on emerging markets.

Santiso examines the trajectory of Brazil, for example, through its presidential elections of 2002, 2006, and 2010 and finds a decoupling of financial and political cycles that occurred also in many other emerging economies. He charts this evolution through the behavior of brokers, analysts, fund managers, and bankers. Ironically, Santiso points out, while some emerging markets have decoupled politics and finance, in the wake of the 2008–2012 financial crisis many developed economies (Europe and the United States) have experienced a recoupling between finance and politics.

Beyond Good Revolutionaries and Free-Marketeers

Neither socialism nor free-market neoliberalism has been a very helpful model for Latin America, writes Javier Santiso in this witty and literate reading of that region's economic and political condition. Latin America must move beyond utopian schemes and rigid ideologies invented in other hemispheres and acknowledge its own social realities of inequality and poverty. And today some countries--notably Chile and Brazil, but also Mexico and Colombia--are doing just that: abandoning the economic "magic realism" that plots miraculous but impossible solutions and forging instead a pragmatic path of gradual reform. Many Latin American leaders are adopting an approach combining monetary and fiscal orthodoxies with progressive social policies. This, says Santiso, is "the silent arrival of the political economy of the possible," which offers hope to a region exhausted by economic reform programs entailing macroeconomic shocks and countershocks.Santiso describes the creation in Chile and Brazil of institutions and policies that are connected to social realities rather than to theories found in economics textbooks. Mexico too has created its own fiscal and monetary policies and institutions, and it has the additional benefit of being a party to NAFTA. Santiso outlines the development strategies unfolding in Latin America, from Chile and Brazil to Colombia and Uruguay, strategies anchored externally by treaties and trade agreements and internally by strong fiscal and monetary institutions and policies. And he charts the less successful trajectories of Argentina, Venezuela, and Bolivia, which are still in thrall to utopian but impossible miracle cures.Santiso's account of this emerging transformation describes Latin America at a crossroads. Beginning in 2006, elections in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere may signal whether Latin America will decisively choose the political economy of the possible over the political economy of the impossible.