I arrived at the University of Oxford in 2008 after five years at the Institute for the Study of the Americas (University of London). I hold a joint appointment at OSGA and the Department of International Development and I am also a Fellow at St Antony’s College. I love Oxford’s commitment to multidisciplinary area studies and to a deeper understanding of the economic, political and social challenges in different parts of the developing world. It is a pleasure to work with colleagues who share the same enthusiasm both in my two departments.
I am a rare economist whose research is mainly based on qualitative comparative case studies. I am interested in how developing countries can promote equality and believe that this depends as much on the right policies than on the right political coalitions and institutions. My research on globalization, industrial policy and social policy has been published in different international journals including World Development, the Journal of Latin American Studies, Economy and Society and Latin American Research Review as well as in four books I have co-edited. I also do periodic consultancies on some of these issues for UNDP, ILO, Oxford Analytica and other organizations.
Together with Juliana Martinez Franzoni from the University of Costa Rica, I have published two monographs. Our first book Good Jobs and Social Services: How Costa Rica Achieved the Elusive Double Incorporation (Palgrave, 2013) explores Costa Rica’s success in incorporating people to the labour market with goods jobs while simultaneously providing social services. Our most recent book The Quest for Universal Social Policy in the South: Actors, Ideas and Architectures (CUP, 2016) studies the economic and political determinants of pro-equity universal social policies. Based on a comparative case study of Costa Rica, Mauritius, South Korea and Uruguay--four countries with similar commitment to social policy but different degrees of universalism--and a historical exploration of Costa Rica's experience, we highlight the key role of the policy architectures and of the state actors that (re) design them. We used insights of the book to prepare a background paper that contributed to shape UNDP's Human Development Report in 2016.
My current research--which I have begun as a one-year Kellogg Institute Fellow at the University of Notre Dame--explains why some Latin American countries are more unequal than others, trying to link political and economic factors. I am also trying to write other pieces on inequality--a fascinating intellectual topic and also one of the key policy challenges of our time. I am also enthusiastic about advancing multidisciplinary studies, something which I can partly do as co-editor of the Journal of Latin American Studies and associate editor of Development Policy Review.
I spend most of my spare time with my wife Rosa and my daughters Silvia and Maya. I would love to play more basketball, but end up spending more time reading spy and police books and thinking and discussing politics.