The Role of the Service Sector in Brazil, Mexico and the USA
Chapter 1: Introduction
This study presents a detailed analysis of the development and performance of the economies of Brazil, Mexico and the USA fiom 1950 to 1996. Particular attention is paid to the service sectors, for which a longer historical perspective is provided stretching back well into the nineteenth century. It begins with an analysis of the increased orientation of the three economies towards the service sector. This common process hides large differences between the two Latin American countries and the USA in terms of the types of service activities that gained importance, as well as the forces that have made them the dominant sector in all three countries. The study continues with an overview of the measurement of real output in services necessary to compare the performances between the three countries. Most of the remaining part deals with a number of service branches in detail, showing their development and performance over the long run, and the underlying causes of success or failure. The performance in the commodity sectors is also assessed, in particular in manufacturing. The study concludes by confi-ontingthe service and commodity sector performances to evaluate the benefits and costs of structural change. This study was undertaken as part of the research programme of the International Comparison of Output and Productivity (ICOP) project of the University of Groningen. Most ICOP studies focus on agriculture, mining and manufacturing. As the service sector has been the biggest sector in highand most middle-income economies for several decades, there was clearly an important gap to...