Why Lavagna was the only man for the job
Guillermo Nielsen, Argentina's former finance secretary, on Roberto Lavagna, former economy minister.
I first met Roberto Lavagna more than 25 years ago. When I finished my PhD at Boston University, I worked at FIEL, a small think-tank in Argentina. This was in 1979. I was working on a project aimed at calculating effective protection of the Argentine economy, a subject in vogue in our country at the time. Lavagna had been director of the national board of prices in the mid-1970s, where he put together econometric work essential for the calculations I was working on. I got in touch with him for some help. He was very open and helpful. That was the start of our relationship. We also met occasionally after I joined an association of economists, of which Lavagna was a board member.
In the 1980s I left Argentina for seven years to work for the government as a trade negotiator in Brussels and Geneva. Lavagna is married to a Belgian. He would visit Brussels occasionally and we would get together, go out to restaurants, exchange views.