Santiago Levy is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution and Senior Advisor to the United Nations Development Program. Prior to this, he was president of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association and spent a decade as the vice president for sectors and knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank. He also served as the Deputy Minister at Mexico’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit from 1994-2000 and was head of Mexico’s Social Security Institute between 2000 and 2005.
At the finance ministry, Santiago was the main architect of Progresa-Oportunidades, Mexico’s incentive-based health, nutrition and education program for the poor; managed the transition from generalized to targeted subsidies; promoted legal reforms to decentralize resources to states and municipalities; participated in the change of the pay-as-you-go to the capitalized pension system; promoted a regional plan to develop Mexico’s southern region; and drafted and negotiated six budgets with the Federal Congress. At the Social Security Institute, he promoted legal changes to reform pensions and extend coverage to rural workers; was responsible for the provision of health services to 45 million people, introducing preventive health programs and electronic medical records; managed pensions for 2.5 million people and day-care centres for 230,000 children; managed $8 billion in reserves; and collected annually $20 billion in social security contributions. In 1993, he led the drafting of Mexico’s first anti-trust legislation, and then served as the first president of the Federal Competition Commission.
Santiago has received the following awards: First Place, National Research Prize in Economics, granted by Banco Nacional de México for his article, Poverty in Mexico; First Place, Latin American Economics Prize, granted by El Trimestre Económico for his article Multiple Exchange Rates and Foreign Exchange Rationing.
Santiago has published six books, several articles in academic journals and many book chapters on economic growth and productivity, social policy, informality, education, budgetary and tax policy, trade policy reform, rural and regional development, competition policy, labour markets, and policies for poverty alleviation. His latest book on economic growth in Mexico, Under-Rewarded Efforts, The Elusive Quest for Prosperity in Mexico was published in 2018 by the Inter-American Development Bank.