The ‘Flying-Geese’ Theory of Tandem Growth and Regional Agglomeration
New Horizons in International Business series
Chapter 6: The Asian Model for Latin America? A Tale of Two Regions
LATIN AMERICAN DRAMA This chapter discusses the relevance of the Asian experiences for other developing regions by choosing Latin America as an example for comparative analysis. Latin American countries were once strongly influenced by Asia’s successful catch-up growth and quickly followed suit by adopting outward-oriented development policies in the late 1980s. Yet they have not really succeeded in sparking regional growth as vibrantly as their Asian counterparts. Chile, which opened up for trade in the late 1970s (much earlier than any others in the region), is clearly an exception in this chronicle. Yet its catch-up growth and industrial transformation have not been quite as stellar as its Asian brethren in the same period, say, South Korea’s or Taiwan’s. The most recent sudden spurt of Panama’s small economy is another outlier that registered a growth rate of 11 percent in 2007 (comparable to China’s), but the country is beset by sharp income inequality, corruption, and widespread poverty (among as much as 40 percent of the population).1 So is the Dominican Republic despite its relatively fast growth in the 1990s. Also, the same thing can be said about the region’s two largest economies, Mexico and Brazil, though they have no doubt made significant progress by their own past standards in economic development. True, Brazil’s $1.3 trillion economy is currently buoyed up by the commodity boom and is fast growing at an annual rate of 5 to 6 percent, which is, nevertheless, a mediocre rate by Asian standards. Furthermore, Latin America as...
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