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A challenger of the received wisdom

Financial talent is hard to come by these days, as any headhunter will confirm. And it can be even more difficult to keep. Case in point: Ricardo Hausmann, until recently the Inter-American Development Bank’s chief economist. Hausmann joins the Harvard faculty this month. But don’t expect him to be saying many good-byes. The international financial community seems bound to hear quite a bit more from this dynamic player. Hausmann shared some of his characteristic all-or-nothing views with Euromoney’s James Smalhout as he was packing his bags for Cambridge

Hausmann, a Venezuelan, is planning a very different public presence after leaving the IDB. He's deeply worried about events in his country, where he once was the minister of planning, and wants to speak about them publicly in ways that aren't possible at one of the multilateral development banks.

Hausmann: "We need to make sure that we are not part of the problem"

Hausmann's departure is clearly a major loss for the development community in Washington. "He was tremendously effective and basically put the research arm of the IDB on the map," says Sebastian Edwards who served as chief economist of the Latin American and Caribbean Department at the World Bank from 1993 to 1996. "The IDB had been producing research, some of it high quality, all along, but it was not being noticed."

Always provocative, Hausmann was known for looking into new areas and coming up with controversial solutions, but ones that obviously struck a chord in Latin American economics.

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