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Vanishing Growth in Latin America

The Late Twentieth Century Experience

Edited by Andrés Solimano

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.
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Chapter 3: Economic Growth in the Southern Countries

Juan S. Blyde and Eduardo Fernández-Arias


* Juan S. Blyde and Eduardo Fernández-Arias 3.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter examines the growth experiences of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay (in the rest of the chapter referred as ‘southern countries’). The analysis sheds light on the strengths and weaknesses of longrun growth of these countries by identifying similarities and differences with other countries and assesses their economic performance on that comparative basis. During the past four decades, the southern countries, like many other countries in Latin America, went through several episodes of economic crisis, political instability, external shocks and social unrest. In the same period, they also experienced episodes of economic stabilization, political reorganization and structural reforms. A cursory look at some basic development indicators suggests a positive net result (see Table 3.1). Generally speaking, income per capita increased as well as health and education indicators, while the underlying economic structure turned in a more integrated way to global trade and there were improvements in institutional quality and macroeconomic management (as measured by a composite index of institutions and inflation levels, respectively). However, how satisfactory are these achievements? In order to analyze how satisfactory the development process in the southern countries has been over the past 40 years it is important to make relevant comparisons with other countries. To tackle this issue, we focus on the per capita economic growth rate and its contributing factors, comparing the experience in southern countries with that of benchmark countries, namely a country typical of the rest of Latin America (LAC)...

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