My recent research focuses on changes in global financial governance and developmental finance that have been induced by the global financial crisis. I have just completed a book on this subject, When Things Don’t Fall Apart: Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence (MIT Press, forthcoming in December 2017). In the book I reject the conventional wisdom that holds that nothing of significance has changed for emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) as a consequence of the global crisis. Against the dominant (and incorrect) narrative I show that the global crisis has had significant, though ad hoc, inconsistent, experimental, and uneven effects on global financial governance and developmental finance. The resulting incoherence is, in my view, productive of development since it expands possibilities for policy and institutional experimentation, policy space for economic and human development, financial stability and resilience, and financial inclusion. I cement my case for what I term “productive incoherence” through case studies that explore the effects of the global crisis (and the earlier East Asian crisis) on informal financial governance networks (such as the G-20 and the Financial Stability Board); the power, governance, and practice of the IMF (with particular emphasis on the institution’s relationships with EMDEs); institutional innovations in liquidity (i.e., crisis) support and project/infrastructure finance on the national, sub-regional, regional, and transregional levels; and the “rebranding” of capital controls as a macroprudential policy instrument. I have examined many of these issues in earlier papers. The book deepens and broadens my analysis, while also reading them through a theoretical and epistemic framework inspired by the work of an intellectual hero of mine, Albert O. Hirschman.
Prior to completing the book, I conducted research on the origins and consequences of the Mexican and East Asian financial crises of the 1990s; policies to mitigate financial instability and reduce the spillover effects of financial crises in EMDEs; on the political economy of capital control policies and international private capital flows (particularly, portfolio investment and remittances); the effects of financial liberalization on macroeconomic and distributional outcomes and on political voice; pro-poor financial policies (with Gerald Epstein); and on the negative developmental effects of independent central banks and currency boards. In addition to this work, I co-authored with Ha-Joon Chang the book, Reclaiming Development: An Alternative Economic Policy Manual (Zed Books/Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, reissued 2014). In Reclaiming Development Chang and I challenge the damaging and incorrect “There is no alternative” narrative, and make a case for a range of policies that can promote economic development that is robust, equitable, and stable. See my CV for further details on my research. Also see my books and selected journal articles and book chapters for details on my work.
My research has also benefitted from the numerous opportunities I’ve had to engage with policy makers working in and on behalf of EMDEs. I’ve worked, for example, as a consultant to the International Poverty Centre for Inclusive Growth of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)/G-24, United Nations University/World Institute for Development Economics Research, UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, and lectured at policy-oriented events sponsored by UNCTAD, Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Central Banks of Argentina and Costa Rica, and the Technical Commission for the New International Financial Architecture of the Ministry Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador. I have also been a member of the Task Force on Regulating Global Capital Flows for Long-Run Development (an initiative of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-range Future, Boston University) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of the European Parliament (2013-present). I have also enjoyed the opportunity to support the work of those in NGO community seeking to make the world a better place. In this connection I have been a consultant to Action Aid, the coalition “New Rules for Global Finance,” and an Expert Advisor to the Third World Network project on capital controls and free trade agreements. I am also connected to several research institutes. For instance, I am a Research Partner at the Centro de Estudios Financieros y Económicos de América del Norte at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (2012-present and a Research Scholar at the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2007-present).