IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Economic reform or social development? the challenges of a period of reform in Latin America: case study of Mexico

  • Diana Alarcon
  • Eduardo Zepeda

>The paper argues that 20 years of development have produced very mixed results in the economies and societies of Latin America. While the region was successful in reversing the large macroeconomic disequilibria of the 1980s, economic volatility persists, mainly associated with greater integration to the world economy. More importantly, the social impact of the long period of reform remains controversial. Through a review of comparable economic and social data for the region, it is suggested in this paper that such inconsistency—between economic and social performance—may be the result of deep flaws in the design of development policies. Over-concern for macroeconomic stability, fast growth and rapid integration to the international economy has resulted in insufficient attention being given to the social cost of adjustment and structural change. Social policies have been mainly concerned with the administration of scarce resources and the creation of safety nets to counter the negative social impact of economic policy. Less attention has been given, however, to resolving long-entrenched inequalities in society, to improving the productivity of labour and broad-based access to productive capital. We illustrate one aspect of this discussion through a review of employment trends in the manufacturing sector in Mexico to show that, in spite of rapid job creation, lack of integration with the rest of the economy has generated overall poor employment results, partly a result of the failure of industrial policies to provide a timely response to the many challenges faced by opening up international competition. This case study helps us to support the claim that what is probably lacking in Latin America is a strategic approach to policy design to bring consistency between rapid changes in the economy and longer term development objectives, between the short and the long term, between stability and growth, and between rising productivity and improvement of welfare in the largest developmental sense.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1360081042000184129
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Oxford Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 32 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 59-86

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:32:y:2004:i:1:p:59-86
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CODS20

Order Information: Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CODS20

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:32:y:2004:i:1:p:59-86. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.