Roberto Lavagna bigraphy, stories - Argentine economist and politician

Roberto Lavagna : biography

March 24, 1942 -

Roberto Lavagna (born March 24, 1942) is an Argentine economist and politician who was Minister of Economy and Production from April 27, 2002 until November 28, 2005.


Early life and career

Lavagna was born in the Saavedra section of Buenos Aires in 1942. His father, the owner of a linotype printing shop, relocated the family to the western suburb of Morón a few years later, and Lavagna enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires, where he graduated with a degree in political economy in 1967.

He then obtained a scholarship to study in Belgium, where he earned a graduate degree in econometrics and economic policy. At the university, he met Claudine Marechal, a student from Belgium whom he married in 1970, and with whom he had three children. Lavagna also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Concepción del Uruguay.

Following the election of Peronist candidate Héctor Cámpora in 1973, Lavagna was named National Director of Price Policy in the Commerce Secretariat, and was shortly afterwards named Director of Incomes Policy by the Economy Minister, José Ber Gelbard; as such he helped oversee a key policy initiative of Gelbard's "Social Pact," which sought to involve management in efforts to control inflation while raising stagnant median wages. Gelbard's resignation in November 1974 led to Lavagna's entry into the private sector following a stint at the Ministry of Public Works, becoming a member of the board of directors of La Cantábrica, a since closed Morón steelmaker, until 1976. He also co-founded Ecolatina, a think tank, in 1975, and was a member of the board of the Institute for Applied Economics and Society (IdEAS), from 1980 to 1990.

Lavagna reentered public service as President Raúl Alfonsín's Secretary of Industry and Foreign Commerce, between 1985 and 1987, during which he helped negotiate the preliminary trade accords with Brazil that later led to the establishment of the Mercosur trade region in 1991. He left the board of Ecolatina in 2000 to accept a post as Ambassador-at-large to international economic conferences, and to the European Union.

Economy Minister

Lavagna formed a front, UNA (Una Nacion Avanzada, "An Advanced Nation"), to run against the government's candidate, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in the October 2007 presidential elections. Senior members of the Radical Civic Union (UCR), Socialists and Peronist supporters of former President Duhalde voiced support for a coalition behind Lavagna's candidacy, although this proved controversial in all three parties. His plan for his first 100 days of government was based on improving security and employment and reducing poverty.

The UCR endorsed Lavagna in the first election since the party's establishment in 1892 that the UCR ran in a coalition rather than field its own candidate; Gerardo Morales, leader of the UCR, was named Lavagna's running mate (Mrs. Kirchner also had a Radical as her running mate, Mendoza Governor Julio Cobos). Lavagna and UNA came third with over 3 million votes and 17%, behind Fernández and Elisa Carrió, and won solely in Córdoba Province.

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