Emilio Ocampo: The Economic Analysis of Populism

Uno de los temas políticos relevantes en Argentina, y también en Latino América, es el del populismo.

Emilio Ocampo tiene interestantes trabajos sobre este tema (por ejemplo aquí y aquí). Recientemente ha publicado un paper donde analiza la literatura económica que trata el tema del populismo.

El trabajo es muy completo e interesante, recomendable para quienes tengan interés es un análisis serio sobre este tema.


Although the application of the conceptual and analytical framework of economics to the study of populism is still in its infancy, great advances have been made in recent years. This paper reviews some key contributions behind this progress. When analyzing populism, economists face two methodological hurdles: lack of consensus and clarity about its definition and reconciling the populist vote with voter rationality. The former has plagued sociologists and political scientists for decades. As to the latter, it raises a conundrum: if populist policies are detrimental to economic growth, as most economists agree, the vote for a populist candidate suggests some irrationality or inefficiency in the political markets. The works reviewed in this paper propose alternative approaches to address both issues. The most promising line of research in the economic analysis of populism draws concepts from other social sciences such political theory, sociology, history and social psychology.

Acceder al paper en la página del CEMA.

WP: Why Did Inflation Targeting Fail in Argentina?

In 2016, the new Argentine government decides to implement an inflation targeting regime. In 26 months, said regime was abandoned. Argentina may be the only case of a country that abandoned this regime.

In this paper, with Federico Julian Ferrelli Mazza (ESEADE), we study why this regime failed in Argentina. We find that a main problem was an implementation inconsistency, which was accelerated (but not produced) by a credibility shock in December 28th, 2017.


Argentina’s experience with inflation targeting lasted only 26 months. In this paper, we study the reason why this regime failed in Argentina and the economic context of its implementation. We find that the main reason was an internal inconsistency in how inflation targeting was implemented, and that said inconsistency was accelerated by a negative credibility shock in December 2017. While other events, such as external shocks, also played a role, they are not enough to explain the shortcomings of the inflation targeting experience in Argentina.

Download from SSRN.

The Super-Alertness of Central Banks

This is a new paper with Alexander Salter (Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University) originally prepared for a conference co-organized between The Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies (University of Alberta) and the Mercatus Center (George Mason University).

This paper contributes to the Austrian literature. In particular, it applies Kirzner’s entrepreneurial alertness to the realm of policy-making and Koppl’s Big Players (such as a central bank).

This paper applies Kirzner’s theory of entrepreneurial alertness to central banking. As opposed to entrepreneurs operating within the market, central banks can operate outside the market by defining its structure and regulations. We label as “super-alertness” the particular type of Kirznerian alertness that central banks are required to have to successfully achieve stable monetary equilibrium.

Download paper from SSRN.

WP: The Grecian Horse II

Borrador, junto a “Alex” Padilla de The Grecian Horse. En esta serie de papers estudiamos si los inmigrantes importan “mala” instituciones a los Estados Unidos de sus países de origen.


In recent years, in response to an increasing literature pointing to the economic deadweight loss associated with immigration restrictions, a literature has emerged pointing to the negative economic repercussions on economic growth would increasing immigration from countries with poor institutions have on the quality of the host country’s institutions when these immigrants import their institutions into their host countries (Borjas, 2014, 2015). Since then economists have attempted to test whether immigrants have a negative impact on their host country’s institutions (Clark et al., 2015; Powell, Nowrasteh, and Clark, 2017; Padilla and Cachanosky, 2018). This paper builds on Padilla and Cachanosky (2018) and examines how immigrants grouped according to the Economic Freedom of the World quartile their country of origin was ranked at time of the census may impact the economic institutions of the states as measured by Economic Freedom of North America index. Our results show that, in the short run, we do observe that the relationship between migrants originating from countries with poor economic institutions and economic freedom is negative, but, in the longer run, that relationship becomes positive, particularly, in the area of labor market freedom. On the other hand, in the longer run, the relationship between migrants coming from most economically free countries and economic freedom is negative. Our results are robust to various specifications.

Acceder al paper en SSRN.

WP: A Panel Data Analysis of Latin American Populism

Nuevo working paper sobre populismo con Alexandre Padilla. En esta ocasión realizamos un análisis de panel sobre cinco países “populistas” en Latino América. Los resultados coinciden con los del control sintético de Grier y Maynard (2016) para Venezuela.

This paper studies the impact of 21st century populism in Latin America on income and human development. We find a significant economic cost of populism that is consistent with other studies using a different methodology than ours. Our sample consists of five Latin American countries representative of populist governments: Argentina (2003 – 2015), Bolivia (since 2006), Ecuador (since 2007), Nicaragua (since 2007), and Venezuela (since 1999).

Acceder al borrador en SSRN.

WP: Hayek’s Two Epistemologies: Economics and Sciences in General

Borrador con Gabriel Zanotti sobre las dos epistemologías de Hayek, la relacionada a la economía en particular y la relacionada a las ciencias en general.

This chapters explores Hayek’s two epistemologies; that of economics and science in general. We track how Hayek’s early work on economics epistemology ultimately evolved to his epistemology of sciences in general. In particular, we explore Hayek’s insights on knowledge and economic coordination and its connection to his theory of complex phenomena.

Acceder al paper en SSRN.

WP: Open Roads in Macroeconomics

Desde la crisis financiera del 2008 hace una década, un interesante debate se ha dado en el ámbito de la macroeconomia sobre el rol y eficiencia de los modelos formales. En particular en lo que respecta a los modelos DSGE.

Este paper resume el debate y plantea “puertas abiertas” en el campo de la macroeconomia que pueden beneficiarse de la literatura austriaca.

An ongoing debate has been going on since the 2008 crisis on the stance of macroeconomic modelling and what changes, if any, should the discipline take. Besides model improvements, the use of DSGE modeling in policy making continued unaltered. This situation has been defended and criticized by different scholars. This paper reviews the stance of the DSGE debate and discusses open roads in macroeconomic theory.

Acceder al paper en SSRN.

WP: Latin American Populism in the 21st Century

Junto a Alex Padilla estudiamos el impacto económico e institucional del populismo en cinco países latinoamericanos en el siglo 21.


This paper offers an economic and institutional assessment of 21st-century Latin American populism, particularly in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela. We find that populism fails to offer the significant economic and social improvements that leaders promise and voters hope for. Instead, it produces a marked deterioration of economic and political institutions.

Acceder al paper en SSRN.

WP: The Upper Turning Point in the Austrian Business Cycle Theory

Roger Garrison describe a la teoría austriaca del ciclo económico (ABCT) como una teoría de auge insostenible, en lugar de ser una teoría que explique (en detalle) la caída o crisis económica. Para mantener el efecto sobre producción y empleo, la autoridad monetaria debe incrementar el ritmo de expansión, lo cual es un camino insostenible.

Pero que sucede, se pregunta Jeffrey Hummel, si la expansión monetaria es constante en lugar de creciente. Debe, eventualmente, la economía caer en una crisis o es una situación estable (aunque no optima). O incluso, es posible que la economía se acomode a la expansión monetaria y este sea el nuevo “equilibrio”? De acuerdo al ABCT, debe toda expansión monetaria culminar en crisis?

Sigue leyendo

WP: Hayek’s Average Period of Production (A step forward and a missed opportunity)

Latest work with Peter Lewin, Hayek centered, for a forthcoming Hayek Companion edited volume by Rosolino Candela.

One of Hayek’s most important contributions is his work on capital theory and business cycles as presented in Prices and Production. Hayek made significant contributions in this field. Significant contribution, however, usually are not free of issues. In this chapter, we discuss the distinctive characteristics of Hayek’s work on capital theory and how the questions his treatment raised can be answered with modern financial calculations. We also discuss Hayek’s work on capital theory after Prices and Production.

Download from SSRN.