Not your typical economist

Bloomberg news has a profile of one of Chile’s finance minister, Andres Velasco. He was my microeconomics lecturer when he taught at Harvard in 2001. A unique guy.

Thousands of government workers marched on downtown Santiago last November, burning an effigy of Chilean Finance Minister Andres Velasco and calling him “disgusting” as a strike for higher wages paralyzed public services.

Five months later, polls show that Velasco is President Michelle Bachelet’s most popular minister. During a three-year copper boom he and central bank President Jose De Gregorio set aside $48.6 billion, more than 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, that he is now using for tax cuts, subsidies and cash handouts to poor families. …

Velasco, who runs 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) a week, is the son and grandson of national politicians. He received his higher education while living in the U.S. after Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship exiled his father from Chile in 1976 for criticizing the regime. Velasco earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics in 1982 and a master’s in international relations in 1984 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, according to his resume. He received a doctorate in economics from Columbia University in New York in 1989.

His publications include two books on free trade, and two romance novels.

(HT: David Lynch)

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