The Latin American Experience
Edited by Gabriela Dutrénit and Judith Sutz
Chapter 11: Economic growth, innovation and inequality in Latin America: improvements, setbacks and pending issues post-Washington Consensus
Both the theory and the evidence indicate that elevated economic growth is sustainable to the extent to which the value of exports, or more precisely their actual income, is increased in amounts that persistently cover the import bill. In order for this to happen, it is necessary that its productive structure be oriented, in a marked and progressive manner, towards the elaboration of tradable goods and services, with a growing incorporation of technology and added value in such a way as to enable it to gain a bigger participation in world trade, especially in the dynamic niches. The economies that manage to take advantage of their internal capabilities to transform their productive structure in order to successfully adapt to external conditions are inserted in virtuous growth cycles. These cycles are characterised by a growing participation in world trade of high-technology goods catering to markets of robust demand, a systematic increase of productivity and employment, and therefore an elevated and sustained expansion of output and national income. However, there is also a debate about whether this virtuous cycle necessarily tends to reduce concentration of personal income or if the application of fiscal and social policies oriented towards combating inequality is required. The evidence in this regard is mixed.
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