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Universal Basic Income: Panacea or Waste of Resources?

Americas Society / Council of the Americas

May 21, 2020


(Image: The World Bank)

Across Latin America, policymakers are debating the use of a universal basic income (UBI) to attenuate the economic impact of COVID-19. But are UBIs effective in alleviating poverty? Can countries afford UBIs and, if so, are they here to stay? Join economists from Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia for this timely conversation.


  • Laura Carvalho, Associate Professor of Economics, Universidade de São Paulo @lauraabcarvalho
  • Marcela Eslava, Economics Professor, Dean of the School of Economics, Universidad de los Andes @uniandes
  • Eduardo Levy Yeyati, Dean of the School of Government, Universidad Torcuato di Tella @eduardoyeyati
  • Cecilia Tornaghi, Managing Editor, Americas Quarterly @ctornaghi (moderator)

The program will be livestreamed on this page on

Thursday, May 21, at 2 p.m. ET.

For questions about the event, please contact Leonie Rauls at

For press inquiries, please contact

Note: To watch the panel, come back to this page at the time of the event. You can submit a question during the event via Twitter tagging @ASCOA, as well as via YouTube or Livestream. No registration is required.

Laura Carvalho

Associate Professor of Economics, Universidade de São Paulo

Laura Carvalho is an associate professor of economics at Universidade de São Paulo. Carvalho published the best-selling book Valsa brasileira on the recent Brazilian economic crisis. Her academic research focuses on the relationship between economic growth and income distribution. Carvalho holds a PhD in economics from the New School for Social Research.

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Marcela Eslava

Economics Professor, Dean of the School of Economics, Universidad de los Andes

Marcela Eslava is a professor and dean of economics at Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá. She is also a research affiliate of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the Innovations for Poverty Action’s Small and Medium Enterprises Program. Eslava’s current research interests include the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the labor market and firms in developing economies, the relationship between firm dynamics and regulations, the relationship between business growth and the evolution of productivity vs.

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Eduardo Levy Yeyati

Dean, School of Government, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

Eduardo Levy Yeyati is the dean of the School of Government of Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and founder and academic director of its Center for Evidence-based Policy. He is also visiting professor of public policy at Harvard´s Kennedy School of Government and head researcher at Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET).

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Cecilia Tornaghi

Managing Editor, Americas Quarterly

Cecilia Tornaghi is the managing editor of Americas Quarterly. A Brazilian-American journalist, she has been covering Latin America for the last 20 years with a focus on policy, business and economics. She spent 13 years at Bloomberg, starting as a Nasdaq reporter, then as an anchor, news editor, deputy managing editor for Bloomberg Brasil TV and lastly as Latin America correspondent for Bloomberg TV interviewing heads of state, cabinet members, and C-suite executives from across the region.

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Video: Universal Basic Income - Panacea or Waste of Resources?

May 21, 2020

Economists from Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia discussed the possibilities for and primary questions about the novel public policy as part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis....