Focus areas: Global economic governance with a focus on the global monetary and financial architecture, developing countries’ macroeconomic policies, particularly in Latin America, economic history of Latin America

José Antonio Ocampo is director of the Economic and Political Development Concentration in the School of International and Public Affairs, Member of the Committee on Global Thought and co-President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University. He is also the Chair of the Committee for Development Policy, an expert committee of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In 2012–2013 he chaired the panel created by the IMF Board to review the activities of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office; in 2008–2010, he served as co-director of the UNDP/OAS Project on “Agenda for a Citizens’ Democracy in Latin America”; and in 2009 a Member of the Commission of Experts of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System.

Prior to his appointment, Ocampo served in a number of positions in the United Nations and the Government of Colombia, most notably as United Nations Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs; Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Chairman of the Board of Banco del República (Central Bank of Colombia); Director of the National Planning Department (Minister of Planning); Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Executive Director of FEDESARROLLO.

Ocampo has published extensively on macroeconomic theory and policy, international financial issues, economic and social development, international trade, and Colombian and Latin American economic history.

Ocampo received his BA in economics and sociology from the University of Notre Dame in 1972 and his PhD in economics from Yale University in 1976. He served as Professor of Economics at Universidad de los Andes and of Economic History at the National University of Colombia, and Visiting Fellow at Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Yale. He has received a number of personal honors and distinctions, including the 2012 Jaume Vicens Vives Prize of the Spanish Association of Economic History for the best book on Spanish or Latin American economic history, the 2008 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought and the 1988 “Alejandro Angel Escobar” National Science Award of Colombia.

Research & Publications

October 2012|Columbia University Press|José Antonio Ocampo, José Antonio Alonso

Leading governments undertook extraordinary measures to offset the 2008 economic crisis, shoring up financial institutions, stimulating demand to reverse recession, and rebalancing budgets to alleviate sovereign debt. While productive in and of themselves, these solutions were effective because they were coordinated internationally and were matched with sweeping global financial reforms. Unfortunately, coordination has weakened after these initial steps, indicating one of the crisis’s adverse effects will be a significant reduction in development cooperation.

Urging advanced nations to improve their support for development, the contributors to this volume revisit the causes of the 2008 collapse and the ongoing effects of recession on global and developing economies. They reevaluate the international response to crisis and suggest more effective approaches to development cooperation. Experts on international aid join together to redesign the cooperation system and its governance, so it can accept new actors and better achieve the Millennial Development Goals of 2015 within the context of severe global crisis. In their introduction, José Antonio Alonso and José Antonio Ocampo summarize different chapters and the implications of their analyses, concluding with a frank assessment of global economic imbalance and the ability of increased cooperation to rectify these inequalities.

October 2012|Oxford University Press|José Antonio Ocampo, Luis Bértola

Latin America is attracting increasing interest due to the strong economic performance of the last decade and to the political changes that are taking place. This book gives a unique, comprehensive, and up to date view of Latin America economic development over the two centuries since Independence. It considers Latin American economies within the wider context of the international economy, and covers economic growth, international trade, capital flows, and trends in inequality and human development. With chapters that cover different eras, it traces the major developments of Latin American countries and offers a novel and coherent interpretation of the economic history of the region. It combines a wealth of original research, new perspectives, and empirical information to provide a synthesis of the growing literature that both complements and extends previous studies.

October 2011|Oxford University Press|José Antonio Ocampo, Jaime Ros

Latin America has been central to the main debates on development economics, ranging from the relationships between income inequality and economic growth, and the importance of geography versus institutions in development, to debates on the effects of trade, trade openness and protection on growth and income distribution. Despite increasing interest in the region there are few English language books on Latin American economics. This Handbook, organized into five parts, aims to fill this significant gap.

Part I looks at long-term issues, including the institutional roots of Latin America's underdevelopment, the political economy of policy making, the rise, decline and re-emergence of alternative paradigms, and the environmental sustainability of the development pattern. Part II considers macroeconomic topics, including the management of capital account booms and busts, the evolution and performance of exchange rate regimes, the advances and challenges of monetary policies and financial development, and the major fiscal policy issues confronting the region, including a comparison of Latin American fiscal accounts with those of the OECD. Part III analyzes the region's economies in global context, particularly the role of Latin America in the world trade system and the effects of dependence on natural resources (characteristic of many countries of the region) on growth and human development. It reviews the trends of foreign direct investment, the opportunities and challenges raised by the emergence of China as buyer of the region's commodities and competitor in the world market, and the transformation of the Latin America from a region of immigration to one of massive emigration. Part IV deals with matters of productive development. At the aggregate level it analyzes issues of technological catching up and divergence as well as different perspectives on the poor productivity and growth performance of the region during recent decades. At the sectoral level, it looks at agricultural policies and performance, the problems and prospects of the energy sector, and the effects on growth of lagging infrastructure development. Part V looks at the social dimensions of development; it analyzes the evolution of income inequality, poverty, and economic insecurity in the region, the evolution of labor markets and the performance of the educational sector, as well as the evolution of social assistance programs and social security reforms in the region.

The contributors are leading researchers that belong to different schools of economic thought and most come from countries throughout Latin America, representing a range of views and recognising the diversity of the region. This Handbook is a significant contribution to the field, and will be of interest to academics, graduate students and policy makers interested in economics, political economy, and public policy in Latin America and other developing economies.

March 2010|Oxford University Press|José Antonio Ocampo, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Stephany Griffith-Jones
October 2009|Columbia University Press|José Antonio Ocampo, Lance Taylor , Codrina Rada

Economic structuralists use a broad, systemwide approach to understanding development, and this textbook assumes a structuralist perspective in its investigation of why a host of developing countries have failed to grow at 2 percent or more since 1960. Sensitive to the wide range of factors that affect an economy's strength and stability, the authors identify the problems that have long frustrated growth in many parts of the developing world while suggesting new strategies and policies to help improve standards of living.

After a survey of structuralist methods and post-World War II trends of global economic growth, the authors discuss the role that patterns in productivity, production structures, and capital accumulation play in the growth dynamics of developing countries. Next, it outlines the evolution of trade patterns and the effect of the terms of trade on economic performance, especially for countries that depend on commodity exports.

The authors acknowledge the structural limits of macroeconomic policy, highlighting the negative effects of financial volatility and certain financial structures while recommending policies to better manage external shocks. These policies are then further developed through a discussion of growth and structural improvements, and are evaluated according to which policy options-macro, industrial, or commercial—best fit within different kinds of developing economies.

October 2009|Economía Exterior|José Antonio Ocampo
October 2009|Building an International Monetary and Financial System for the 21st Century: Agenda for Reform|José Antonio Ocampo
October 2009|José Antonio Ocampo, Barry Herman, Shari Spiegel
October 2009|Rethinking Foreign Investment for Sustainable Development: Lessons from Latin America|José Antonio Ocampo
October 2009|José Antonio Ocampo, Rob Vos
October 2009|Re-Defining the Global Economy|José Antonio Ocampo
October 2009|Revista de la CEPAL|José Antonio Ocampo
October 2009|The Financial Crisis and Its Impact on Developing Countries|José Antonio Ocampo, Stephany Griffith-Jones

This working paper has been commissioned by the Poverty Group, Bureau for Development Policy at UNDP, to identify the transmission mechanisms of the financial crisis from developed to developing countries and to provide broad policy recommendations at the national, global and regional level. The paper identifies three mechanisms that play a key role in spreading the consequences of the financial crisis to the developing world: remittances, capital flows and trade. The policy responses take MDG achievement and poverty reduction as the central policy concern. The paper indicates that a fair number of countries have policy space to protect vulnerable groups in the short run as well as to undertake investments to build resilience and reach these goals in the longer term. Other countries will need additional development assistance to protect development achievements. The authors point to a number of factors that need to be taken into account in determining what mix of policies to deploy including the macroeconomic, fiscal and policy stance of countries and their dynamics. The paper also proposes far-reaching reforms to address the global financial crisis, which would help to put the global macroeconomic, fiscal and financial coordination mechanisms on a firmer footing.

October 2008|Estudos Avançados|José Antonio Ocampo, Rubens Ricupero, Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira, Luis Nassif
October 2008|Pensamiento social estratégico Una nueva mirada a los desafíos sociales de América Latina|José Antonio Ocampo