Robert Devlin

Robert Devlin

Adjunct Lecturer, Latin American Studies Program
Latin American Studies

Nitze 502

  • (202) 663-5734

Background and Education

Dr. Robert Devlin is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced Internal Studies in Washington, DC and Associate Director of the consulting firm Communiqué International, Dublin.  Previously he was Director of the Department for Effective Public Management of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) (2009-2012); Regional Advisor for the Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Santiago, Chile (2005-2009); Deputy Manager of the Integration and Regional Programs Department of the Inter-American Development Bank, directing the Sub-Department of Trade and Regional Integration(1994-2005); Economist in ECLAC Headquarters where his last position was Deputy Director of the Trade and Finance Division(1975-1993).

Professor Devlin holds a PhD in Economics from American University, Washington DC. He is on the advisory board of 5 development institutions/programs and two journals. He has published 11 books and over eighty articles on economic development. His most recent book (with G. Moguillansky) is Breeding Latin American Tigers: Operational Principles for Rehabilitating Industrial Policies (World Bank Publishers, 2011) and his most recent articles are “What’s New in the New Industrial Policy in Latin America?”(with G. Moguillansky), in Justin Lin and Joseph Stigliz (eds.), Industrial Policy Revolution (forthcoming Palgrave) and “Public-Private Strategic Policy Councils: Their Government Matters” (forthcoming IDB).

2015-03-09 00:00:00 
Spring 2018 
Why is Latin Am...
Why is Latin America lagging behind other developing regions? This course attempts to respond to this question by examining the political economy of Latin America’s insertion into the world economy from the 1950s until today. Emphasizes the nature of public policy, its swings over time and its impact on economic performance. Contrasts Latin America’s policies and performance with better-performing economies in Europe, Oceania and Asia---with China only the latest of several waves of developing countries that have leapfrogged Latin America in the growth charts over recent decades. Addresses the lack of strategic industrial policy fostering trade and innovation, one of the glaring differences between Latin America and these countries. In this context, gives special attention to public-private alliances to compete internationally as a key missing page in Latin America’s development agenda. Background or prior coursework in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics is recommended.
Spring 2018 
The Seminar wil...
The Seminar will explore some of the new global challenges and opportunities emerging for Latin American development. Likely topics include: Prospects for Negotiation of Mega Free Trade Agreements and Their Potential Impact on Latin Americas; The Pacific Alliance; Infrastructure and Competitiveness; Chinese Investment in Latin America; The Politics of Social Change in Chile; The Explosion of Social Violence in Central America. For many of the topics there will be invited speakers to lead the discussion. At times, the seminar will “travel” to one of the Washington policy institutions to meet with specialists. In addition to class participation, the course will require a series of short policy briefs and an oral examination at the end of the semester.
Spring 2017 
Since independe...
Since independence Latin America has been a laggard in economic growth and convergence with rich countries. Moreover, the region repeatedly has been leap-frogged by poorer countries, the most recent experience being in East Asia. The course will examine the comparative performance of the region, explore the reasons for underperformance, and point to new directions in public policy and organization that can promote the international competitiveness, innovation and economic upgrading needed for high and sustained rates of growth. The role of effective industrial policies will be highlighted by examining “how” governments of more successful countries in East Asia, Europe, and Oceania designed and executed their industrial policies. Particular attention will be given to why industrial policies were so important for addressing restrictions to accelerated growth and why past attempts at industrial policies in Latin America had disappointing results and led to a retreat of state market interventions during the era of the Washington Consensus. However, after the region’s poor growth performance in this latter era, there now is a renaissance in the deployment of strategic industrial policies in Latin America. These policies have new characteristics compared to the old industrial policies which offer more hope for success, but also still exhibit some bad habits of the past. Students will have an opportunity to select and research a Latin American country to examine and evaluate its new industrial polices.
Spring 2017 
Explores the ne...
Explores the new global challenges and opportunities emerging for Latin American development. Topics include: prospects for negotiation of mega free trade agreements and their potential impact on Latin America; The Pacific Alliance; infrastructure and competitiveness; Chinese investment in Latin America; the politics of social change in Chile; the explosion of violence in Central America.