Friday, April 24, 2009

Latin America's Finance Minister of the Year

Velasco, 48, applied the lessons learned from decades of economic failure in Latin America -- ones he said could also help the U.S. The current crisis followed “a massive regulatory failure in many advanced financial markets over the last decade or so,” Velasco said in an interview April 21 in his office overlooking the presidential palace in downtown Santiago...

Velasco, who runs 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) a week, is the son and grandson of national politicians. He received his higher education while living in the U.S. after Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship exiled his father from Chile in 1976 for criticizing the regime. Velasco earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics in 1982 and a master’s in international relations in 1984 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, according to his resume. He received a doctorate in economics from Columbia University in New York in 1989....

Velasco taught economics for most of the 1990s at NYU, according to his resume. From 2000 to 2006 he was a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked with Lawrence Summers, now U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council director.

In this world, there are some people who are smart. There are some that are practical,” said Summers. “Andres Velasco is both.”...

Velasco “was always looking for the policy implications of what he was doing, which is very unique,” said Guillermo Calvo, a Columbia macroeconomist who hired Velasco as a teaching assistant. “He was one of the best, but you always sensed that he was going to eventually converge to politics.”

Summers, Calvo and Velasco will be panelists tomorrow at a seminar in Washington examining the effects of the global economic meltdown on Latin America.

-Harvard Peso Doctor Vindicated as Chile Evades Slump

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