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Has Latin America changed tracks? Catching up: now and then. An essay

Luis Bertola

Documentos de trabajo from Programa de Historia Económica, FCS, Udelar

Abstract: The paper is intended to provide, firstly, a presentation of the long term development of Latin America in a comparative perspective, trying to identify general features as well as national and regional differences. Secondly, to introduce what I believe are the decisive long-term determinants of Latin American performance. Thirdly, it intends to discuss the current expansive cycle. The article concludes with some prospects for future development. The main argument is that Latin America has not yet been able to transform its structural features that explain its long-run divergent trend with the leaders of the world economy. While achievements in the consolidation of democratic institutions and the reduction of poverty and inequality may be a basis on which these transformations can be set in motion, there still exists a risk that with changing external conditions, these achievements could be reverted, or even contribute to a transition to a new phase of slow growth and relative backwardness.

Keywords: Latin America; convergence; structural change; welfare states; cycles; income distribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 22 pages
Date: 2015-09
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