Maximo Torero is an economist. Throughout his career at multilateral organizations and global research institutions, he has provided intellectual and strategic leadership to translate research into policy, fighting poverty.

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A prolific researcher, Torero has published scores of articles in top academic journals analyzing poverty, inequality and behavioral economics. At the country level, he has led multiple research and evaluation programs to enhance the role of infrastructure, institutions and technology in reducing poverty and inequality. Scroll down to learn more.


Maximo Torero is the chief economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy.

Before joining FAO in 2019, he served at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. as the executive director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Between 2006 – 2016, he led the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute also in Washington. He is a professor at the University of the Pacific, Peru (on leave) and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Bonn, Germany.

He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed academic articles analyzing poverty, inequality and behavioral economics in top journals – including in Quarterly Journal of EconomicsEconometric TheoryAmerican Economic Journal: Applied EconomicsReview of Economics and Statistics and Journal of Labor Economics. Specifically, he has studied the role of infrastructure, institutions and technology on poverty reduction, and the importance of geography, infrastructure access and assets in explaining poverty. He is the author of 14 books, including Food Price Volatility and its Implications for Food Security and Policy and Innovations for Inclusive Value Chain Development: Successes and Challenges.

He has led several research programs and impact evaluations. He led the impact evaluation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $450 million-investment in El Salvador’s Northern Transnational Highway and rural electrification to increase access to markets.

Torero received the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole from the French government for exceptional contribution to agriculture. The Global Development Network awarded him twice for outstanding research on development. His work has been cited in numerous media outlets, including CNN, BBC, The Economist and The New York Times. He has a Ph.D. in economics from University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.S. from University of the Pacific in Peru.

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Applied Research and Evaluation Programs

Torero’s work on applied research projects spans Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa (specifically, sub-Saharan Africa) and Asia in six areas: poverty alleviation, infrastructure, human capital, food systems, institutions, risks and uncertainties. He has a unique expertise on impact evaluation on initiatives linked to infrastructure, water and sanitation, electricity, information and communications technology, and public services delivery.

We Need a Post-War Playbook for a Post-COVID Recovery

The pandemic’s impact on major economies has been far worse than that of the 2008 global financial crisis, while entire sections of many developing economies have been wiped out. In just six months, the pandemic has erased a decade of progress in poverty reduction.

The global economy flourished after World War II because the Marshall Plan revived war-ravaged Western Europe. We face a comparable scenario today. Any policy intervention should treat the fight against COVID-19 like a war and the hardest-hit economies like conflict zones.

Torero’s policy recommendations to mitigate the risks of the pandemic on food security and boost post-COVID recovery can be found in his writings and interviews.