Economic Liberalization, Distribution and Poverty
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Economic Liberalization, Distribution and Poverty

Latin America in the 1990s

Edited by Rob Vos, Lance Taylor and Ricardo Paes de Barros

Since the late 1980s, almost all Latin American countries have undergone a series of far-reaching economic reforms, particularly in the areas of financial and capital account liberalization and trade. This book provides a comparative and analytical framework for assessing the impact of these reforms upon 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru.
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For some time now, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have engaged in carrying out comparative studies to obtain a better understanding of the interactions between economic reform policies and poverty and inequality. Most multilateral organizations are heavily engaged in studies and debates about the globalization process. Globalization is of course also of great interest to the institutions that sponsored the present study. In Latin America the globalization process is reshaping the economies of the region in a major way. Since the late 1980s, the countries of the region have engaged in drastic economic reforms of striking similarity. Most particularly there have been fairly uniform patterns of trade and capital account liberalization. These reforms were implemented in conjunction with other market reforms, such as deregulation of financial and labour markets, privatization of state-owned enterprises and tax reforms. The process of economic opening though is commonly seen to have produced the most significant change in redefining the environment in which the economic actors in the region have to operate. From the perspective of UNDP and ECLAC and their respective priority areas of activity, it was mandatory to raise the question how this process of balance of payments liberalization has affected income distribution and poverty. Previous economic policy regimes implemented throughout the region have been criticized for failing to achieve efficient and sustainable patterns of growth and, as such, being incapable to reduce poverty and inequality. Excessive...

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