Felipe Larraín Buscuñán served as Chile´s finance minister From March 2010 to March 2014, and as vice president of Chile in February 2014. Buscuñán earned his bachelor’s degree (1981) from Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) and his MA (1983) and PhD (1985) degrees in economics from Harvard University. He has vast experience as an international advisor, consultant, academician, editor, and author of 12 books and over 120 articles, published in Latin America, the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
As Chile's finance minister, Larraín is recognized for the creation of nearly 1 million new jobs during the period 2010–14. The unemployment rate in Chile decreased during this period, achieving the lowest value in almost 30 years at 5.7 percent. His period as finance minister is also distinct for the sustained expansion of GDP and a tax reform in 2012, which allowed the injection of around 1 billion USD to the annual education budget.
Larraín has contributed to the economic development, social development, and poverty alleviation of Chile and Latin America as a consultant of several governments and institutions. In 1986, he received an award from the Magisterio Nacional Boliviano for distinguished service as economic advisor to the president of Bolivia. Larraín has also received numerous illustrious finance awards in Latin America and was named alumnae of the year at the faculty of business and economics of UC (2002).
Since 1996, Larraín has been professor of economics at UC and is currently director of the Latin American Center for Economic and Social Policies at UC. From 1997 to 2002 he was affiliated with Harvard University, first as the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies, then as a faculty fellow. Since 1985 he has served as economic advisor to several governments throughout the Americas and is a consultant on macroeconomic issues to the UN, the World Bank, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
For his scholarship, Larraín received the Daniel Cosio Villegas award (1991) for one of the best three articles published in El Trimestre Económico during 1989–90. His book Macroeconomics in the Global Economy, coauthored with Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Prentice Hall 1993), has been translated into Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, and is currently in its third edition (2013).
Larraín has also contributed to business development in Chile as board member of important companies including Antarchile, ABN Amro Bank, Deutsche Bank, Empresas Conosur, Embotelladora Andina, and Empresas Iansa, among others. In October 2014 he joined—as a founding member—the World Bank´s Doing Business Advisory Board. He previously served as a board member of Chile´s Poverty Alleviation Foundation and in June 2014 became a member of the UN´s Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Larraín’s contributions to the economic welfare of not only Latin America but the world at large are evidenced by his highly distinguished career, endless research, and generous service to society.