|Minister of Finance of Chile|
11 March 2006 – 11 March 2010
|Preceded by||Nicolás Eyzaguirre|
|Succeeded by||Felipe Larraín|
30 August 1960 |
|Alma mater||Yale University
Andrés Velasco Brañes (born August 30, 1960) is an economist and professor. He served as the Finance Minister of Chile from March 2006 to March 2010, the whole of the first presidential period of Michelle Bachelet.
Early and personal life
The son of former radical politician Eugenio Velasco and lawyer Marta Brañes, Velasco was born in Santiago, where he lived until the age of 16. Following the exile of his father in 1977, the whole family moved to the US, first to Los Angeles and then to Boston. He finished his secondary school studies at Groton School. He holds a PhD in Economics from Columbia University. He took post-doctorate studies at Harvard University and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Earlier, he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Philosophy at Yale University, and a Master in International Relations at the same university. He is Sumitomo-FASID professor of Development and International Finance at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Velasco has received several distinctions, such as the Award for Excellence in Research granted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in recognition for his contributions to economic research, the design of policies, and the creation of research institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean (2006), "Latin America Finance Minister of the Year" by Emerging Markets magazine, published by Euromoney Institutional Investor plc during the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, based on the preferences of the most influential economists, investors and experts in the region (2008), and an award from "América Economía" magazine, which also considered him as "Finance Minister of the Year". In 2009, "Latin Trade" magazine gave him the price for the "Most Innovative Leader of the Year".
Velasco has been director of the New York University Center for Latin-American and Caribbean Studies and assistant professor at Columbia University Department of Economics and Public Affairs. He was Chile’s Ministry of Finance Chief of Staff between 1990 and 1992, International Finance coordinator between 1992 and 1994, and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiator in 1995.
Between 2001 and February 2006 Velasco was an associate researcher at the Corporation for Latin-American Research (Cieplán) and president of the board of Corporación Expansiva. He has also been a consultant for the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and for the governments of the Dominican Republic, Mexico and El Salvador.
Finance Minister of Chile
When the price of copper reached all-time highs in 2006, boosting government revenues, Velasco resisted intense political pressure from government workers and students to spend the windfall. Instead he opted to hold it in reserves equivalent to 30% of the country's GDP. After the copper price plummeted following the 2007-2010 global financial crisis, threatening the Chilean economy, Velasco then used these reserves on stimulus spending for subsidies and tax cuts  policies now being praised for their positive social impact  His popularity reversed from one of the most reviled politicians to one of the most admired.
- Trade, Development and the World Economy: Selected Essays of Carlos Díaz-Alejandro. A. Velasco, Editor. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988. 
- Vox Populi (novel). Santiago: Editorial Sudamericana, 1995.
- Lugares Comunes ("Common Places" / novel). Santiago: Editorial Planeta, 2003.
- Free Trade and Beyond: Prospects for Integration in the Americas. A. Estevaordal, D. Rodrik, A. Taylor and A. Velasco (eds.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.
- Official Site (Spanish)
- Faculty profile at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
- Publications at the National Bureau of Economic Research
- Column archive at Project Syndicate
- Works by or about Andrés Velasco in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Andrés Velasco collected news and commentary at The Guardian
|Minister of Finance