1. Please describe your (scientific) work/research in a short way.
I am currently researching regional integration initiatives in Latin America focusing in the Foreign Policies of Brazil and Mexico and its implications to regional economic development. Initially my research was focused in understanding the reasons why Brazil and Mexico did not have stronger economic and political ties since they are two of the most prominent economies in Latin America. Since then, my interest has shift to the economic dimension of international relations specifically international trade theory and regional integration politics.
At the moment I am starting a research project (which will be part of my second Doctorate, this time in Development Economics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil) regarding the feasibility of a currency union adoption in South America. The idea is to assess the degree in which economies are integrated, measuring Business Cycle Synchronization, and estimate possible effects on trade that currency union would bring along.
2. Which aspect of a sustainable life, work and research is especially relevant for you and why?
It should be commonly understood that economic development does not mean solely a preoccupation with growing metrics attainability. Development and sustainability are two well-tied ideas that cannot be maintained one without the other. Of course this is not always the case when it comes to policy makers, since they deal with different interests and this is highly important to a region that depends on natural resources extraction (so called commodities) to maintaining economic growth.
Nevertheless, global economy players and investors are much more concerned with good practices in the field of environmental protection and sustainability. The acronym “ESG” (Environment, Social and Governance) resumes the view of potential clients and investors not only in the level of individual agents (consumers) but it also reflects the view of politicians regarding environmental responsibility.
In a way, deepened integrated markets is the future of global economy. But economic development is not something you achieve through exceeding nature’s resources to its limits. Welfare and economic growth are two concepts that only make sense if they are intertwined in the same project sometimes resumed in the idea of “circular economy”. The same idea is valid to regional integration economic policies.
3. What would be your wish for the future (and why) with this regard?
I am convinced that sustainability is not an option or a choice, it is a mandatory path we have to take if we want to live in a peaceful, healthy and prosperous world. Indeed saying it’s much easier than doing but this is a challenge we must not decline. The signs of environmental change and its consequences to people’s lives and countries are and were there before Covid-19 appeared. On the other hand, the pandemics affected literally everyone in the world in such a way that it gave us a taste on how difficult it is to change habits and practices. But the effects were not the same in different parts of the world and vaccines will also not be equally distributed making it even more difficult to poor regions to regain traction in its economic cycles.
The good news is that, once again, science and knowledge can get us through these hard times and I wish that in the future, economy and sustainable practices came hand-in-hand to lower global inequalities, enhance productivity worldwide and transform the world into a safer and healthier place to live.
4. How is the Corona crisis affecting you in your every-day life and work?
When the Corona crisis outbreak happened I had started working in a different place in a new and bigger city. Being new to a job and new to a City was very hard in the beginning because I had to learn everything in distance but thankfully I had amazing colleagues that helped me every time I needed. Obviously this was new to everybody and, talking about changing practices again, we had to cope with these challenges. During that time I have learned a lot more about aspects of my professional life that I did not know I could bare. We got used to online meetings and conferences but I have to say that the lack of personal contact has affected me a lot. Social distancing is not something very easy to get used to specially when you are living in a different place where you do not know many people. It was tough getting through these times but fortunately my family and colleagues understood my situation.