Maximo Torero is the Division Director of the Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute, leader of the Global Research Program on Institutions and Infrastructure for Market Development and Director for Latin America. He has fifteen years of experience in applied research and in operational activities. In this capacity as director and research program leader, he directs the activities of an IFPRI unit that conducts research, with special emphasis on M&E of infrastructure and rural development interventions in urban and peri-urban areas through the use of randomized experimental design. Prior to joining IFPRI, he was a senior researcher and member of the executive committee at Group of Analysis for Development (GRADE). He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles, Department of Economics and held a postdoctoral fellow position at the UCLA Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR). He is also a professor on leave at the Universidad del Pacífico, and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at University of Bonn, Germany.
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Dr. Torero’s major research work lies mostly in analyzing poverty, inequality, importance of geography and assets (private or public) in explaining poverty, and in policies oriented towards poverty alleviation based on the role played by infrastructure, institutions, and on how technological breakthroughs (or discontinuities) can improve the welfare of households. He has won twice the World Award for Outstanding Research on Development given by the Global Development Network (GDN).
His experience extends to projects in Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa (East and West), and Asia. Dr. Torero has developed a unique expertise on impact evaluation on projects linked to water and sanitation, electricity, ICTs, roads, and in social and institutional aspects on the delivery of public services. He is currently working on water and sanitation in Tanzania and El Salvador. He has also country experience in India (Andrah Pradesh and Punjab), Vietnam, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Senegal, Zambia, Mozambique, Peru, Ecuador, and in Central America. In El Salvador, he is the chief of party of the impact evaluation of a $US 600 million investment by MCC in rural infrastructure with a significant component of water and sanitation in rural areas.
Dr. Torero has been involved in several projects to evaluate the impact of access to infrastructure and has developed and implemented pioneering designs in which an experimental approach is used to investigate the extent to which the cost barriers preventing poorer households from connecting to the different types of infrastructure can be addressed. These studies had led to several policy impacts, especially on the complementary effects of access to infrastructure. On property rights, Dr. Torero has worked intensively on urban and rural titling and crop choices as a result of titling projects (see for example the reference to his work in “The Mystery of Capital Deepens.” Economist, August 24, 2006). Finally, on market access, Dr. Torero has worked on impact evaluation of contract farming arrangements to access to dynamic markets for small commercial farmers, and the creation and sustainability of urban-rural market institutions. His work has also focus substantially on the impact of rural households to phones as an instrument to reduce their asymmetry of information when accessing to markets.