Economic growth in Latin America and the rise of material welfare has lagged behind that of more dynamic areas of the world economy. In a region prone to policy experiments, the policies of the Washington Consensus applied since the 1990s failed to bring sustained growth to most of Latin America. Andrés Solimano and an impressive set of contributors analyze the last 40 years in order to determine the role of economic reforms, external conditions, factor accumulation, income inequality, political instability and productivity in explaining GDP increases. The book also looks at cycles of growth, identifying periods of rapid growth and contrasting them with periods of stagnation and collapse.
Recent empirical evidence on the world economy in the later decades of the twentieth century shows that growth tends to be a volatile process with little correlation over time and virtually no discernible trend. This is particularly relevant to Latin America – a region traditionally exposed to external shocks – in which the absence of growth-oriented institutions, pervasive distributive conflicts and volatile politics contribute to make sustained growth an elusive policy goal. In separate chapters on sub-regions of Latin America comprising countries in the Southern Cone and Brazil, the Andean region, and Central America and Mexico, the contributors ascertain the main determinants of output growth, highlighting the factors that can boost growth and those that impede it. They explore the role of shocks, policies, and deeper social and institutional structures, as well as the impact of competitiveness, trade regimes, fiscal policy, education and political instability on growth performance.
This comprehensive analysis will be of interest to scholars of economic growth and development and policymakers in Latin America in search of clues on how to promote and maintain growth in a comparative perspective. This book will also be of interest to multilateral organizations and ministries of international cooperation and development in developed countries.