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Public Banks in Latin America: Myths and Realities

Agenda Summary

Date: 02/25/2005

Time: 8:15 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Location: Auditorium 2, 2nd Floor, 1330 New York Avenue

                 Washington, United States

Seminar Papers:


The conference aimed to encourage a dynamic exchange between academics, analysts, policymakers, public bank managers, and their private sector counterparts. Experts representing a wide range of viewpoints from around the world discussed the merits and problems of public banks in Latin America. The debate on the role of public banks in development is as controversial as it is passionate. Their advocates argue that, due to important externalities, public banks are essential because they provide financial services to sectors that are socially important but not attractive to private banks that make their decisions on a profit-maximization basis. Their opponents claim that public banks on the whole have done more harm than good, not only because they have not been effective contributors to growth and development, but also because they have been manipulated by governments for political rather than social objectives.

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