Carmelo Mesa-Lago

Carmelo Mesa-Lago

Professor Emeritus of Economics and Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh


Carmelo holds a BA in Law form University of Havana (1956), a Doctorate in Law from University of Madrid, a MA in Economics from University of Miami (1965) and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Labor Relations (social security) from Cornell University (1968). He has been honored as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics and Latin American Studies University of Pittsburgh (1999-), a Distinguished Professor (1980-99), and Director Center for Latin American Studies (1974-86) as well as being named a Greenleaf Visiting Professor at Tulane University (2009), a Professor/Research Scholar at Florida International University (1999-02), a Emilio Bacardi Visiting Professor at the University of Miami (1994). He has also worked as a Visiting Professor at Oxford University, the Free University of Berlin, the Centro Latinoamericano de Economía Humana (Montevideo), the Centro Interamericano de Estudios de Seguridad Social (Mexico City), the Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset (Madrid), the Universidad de Salamanca.

Mesa-Lago has also worked as a Research Associate for the Max-Plank-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik in Munich and at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires. He has taught at universities in Havana and Madrid.

In 1980, he became President of the Latin American Studies Association LASA. Furthermore he is the author of 93 books/monographs and 300 articles/chapters in books on Latin America’s social security and health care, the Cuban economy and comparative economic systems, which are published in 7 languages in 34 countries. Recent books include: Market, Socialist and Mixed Economies: Comparative Policy and Performance—Chile, Cuba and Costa Rica (Johns Hopkins, 2000); Reassembling Social Security: A Survey of Pension and Health Care Reforms in Latin America (Oxford University Press, 2008, 2012); World Crisis Effects on Social Security in Latin America and the Caribbean: Lessons and Policies (University of London Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2010); Pensions in the Philippines: Diagnosis and Suggestions for Reform (Manila: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2011); Cuba en la era de Raúl Castro: Reformas económico-sociales y sus efectos (Madrid: Editorial Colibrí, 2012); Re-Reforms of Privatized Pensions in the World (Munich: ZIAS Max Planck Institut für Sozialrech und Sozialpolitik, 2012); Cuba Under Raul Castro: Assessing the Reforms, with J. Pérez-López (Lynne Reinner, 2013).

Mesa-Lago has served as the Regional Advisor on Social Security for ECLAC from 1983 to 1984, as a consultant for ILO, ISSA, World Bank, IADB, USAID, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNRISD, PAHO, Inter-American Foundation, Wharton Econometrics Forecasting, U.S. Department of State, GTZ, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. He has lectured in 40 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Mesa-Lago has been awarded the ILO International Prize on Decent Work for life work on social protection in 2007 (shared with Nelson Mandela), the Alexander Von Humbolt Stiftung Senior Prize for his outstanding social security research. He has also been awarded collaborative research grants in 1997 and 2002 as well as two Fulbright Senior Awards, University of Pittsburgh President’s Senior Research Prize (1994), the Distinguished Service Prize (1995), Choice outstanding book (1995, 2006), Annual Recognition Award from Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (1997), a Homage from OISS and CISS (2004, 2008) for his work on social security and the Institute of Cuban Studies/Journal Encuentro for his work on Cuba (2004). He also received the Arthur Whitaker Prize (best book, 1982), Hoover Institution Prize (best article, 1986), and the Prize to best Cuban-American educator (2013). He also was a finalist in Spain’s Prince of Asturias Prize on Social Sciences (2009).

Carmelo Mesa-Lago is a Member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and of the Editorial Board of International Social Security Review, and 7 other academic journals. He been awarded research grants from the Ford, Friedrich-Ebert, Heinz, Inter-American, Japan, Kellogg, Mellon, Reynolds, Rockefeller and Tinker Foundations. He also has been received grants from the SSRC, NSF and US-Spain Commission for Academic Exchange.