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México’s Banamex Prize for Economics goes to Jorge Gallardo-García, economist at Bates White

December 15, 2006

Jorge Gallardo-García has been awarded México’s most distinguished award for economics, the Banamex Prize. Established in 1951, this annual international prize, open to all and administered by Banamex (the largest commercial bank in México), recognizes research that relates to the analysis and solution of economic problems in México. Gallardo-García works in the Environmental and Product Liability Practice at Bates White, LLC, an economic consulting firm based in Washington, DC.

Gallardo-García’s thesis, “El seguro popular de salud y su efecto en la salud infantil: Un análisis sobre empleo, fecundidad y cuidado prenatal en México,” (“The Universal Access Health Insurance and Its Effect on Infant Health: An Analysis of Employment, Fertility and Prenatal Care in México”) took first prize in the Research Level category of the competition.

In his paper, Gallardo-García analyzes how Méxican families make decisions about employment, health insurance, fertility, and prenatal care. He presents a model he developed to study the interplay between employment and insurance decisions and pregnancy outcomes and infant health. Such decisions have national economic implications for México, where a large proportion of the population has little or no access to medical services and where the incidence of low birth weight and infant mortality rate are relatively high. The lack of access to healthcare is mainly due to a large uncovered labor market sector, where workers are not eligible for government health benefits.

Judges for the Banamex Prize included the deans of several universities’ schools of economics, the President of Banamex, and Secretaries and Governors from the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance, and México’s Central Bank. An array of Méxican government and academic dignitaries attended the awards ceremony in México City on November 27, including Francisco Gil Díaz, Finance Minister of México and Manuel Medina Mora, President of Banamex. Gallardo-García received both a diploma and a monetary appreciation.

“I was competing with professors and others with more experience,” said Gallardo-García. “I didn’t think I was going to win the prize. But I did.”

An article about the event, “Necessaria, mayor inversión en salud,” (“Needed: more investment in health”), appeared in the Méxican newspaper, El Economista (November 30).

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