IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the Role of Productivity and Factor Accumulation in Economic Development in Latin America and the Caribbean


  • Christian Daude


  • Eduardo Fernández-Arias

    (Inter-American Development Bank)


This paper combines development and growth accounting exercises with economic theory to estimate the relative importance of total factor productivity and the accumulation of factors of production in the economic development performance of Latin America. The region’s development performance is assessed in contrast with various alternative benchmarks, both advanced countries and peer countries in other regions. We find that total factor productivity is the predominant factor: low and slow productivity, as opposed to impediments to factor accumulation, is the key to understand Latin America’s low income relative to developed economies and its stagnation relative to other developing countries that are catching up. While policies easing factor accumulation would help improving productivity somewhat, for the most part, closing the productivity gap requires productivity-specific policies. Afin d’estimer les rôles respectifs joués par la productivité totale des facteurs et l’accumulation des facteurs de production sur la performance de développement économique de l’Amérique latine, cet article combine des exercices comptables de développement et de croissance avec la théorie économique. La performance de la région est évaluée en comparaison avec différents benchmarks issus à la fois de pays riches et de pays en développement d’autres régions. Les résultats montrent que la productivité totale des facteurs est l’élément prédominant pour comprendre le faible revenu de l’Amérique latine par rapport à celui des pays développés, et sa stagnation par rapport à d’autres pays en développement qui sont en train de les rattraper. L’explication repose ainsi sur la faible productivité dans les économies de la région, et sa lente croissance,, et non sur l’existence d’un quelconque obstacle à l’accumulation de facteurs. Même si les politiques publiques facilitant l’accumulation de facteurs pourraient dans une certaine mesure améliorer la productivité globale, l’important est de s’orienter vers des politiques publiques centrées spécifiquement sur la productivité, et ce afin de diminuer les écarts de performance entre l’Amérique latine et les pays développés.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Daude & Eduardo Fernández-Arias, 2010. "On the Role of Productivity and Factor Accumulation in Economic Development in Latin America and the Caribbean," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 290, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:290-en

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Busso Matias & Madrigal Lucia & Pagés Carmen, 2013. "Productivity and resource misallocation in Latin America," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-30, June.
    2. Carolina Arteaga Cabrales, 2011. "Human Capital Externalities and Growth," Revista ESPE - ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 29(66), pages 12-47, December.
    3. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Sergio Rodríguez-Apolinar, 2016. "The Productivity Gap in Latin America: Lessons from 50 Years of Development," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 94097, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Matías Busso & Maria Victoria Fazio & Santiago Levy Algazi, 2012. "(In)Formal and (Un)Productive: The Productivity Costs of Excessive Informality in Mexico," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4047, Inter-American Development Bank.
    5. Eduardo Lora, 2013. "The Distance between Perception and Reality in the Social Domains of Life," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4608, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. Úbeda, Ricardo & Alsua, Carlos & Carrasco, Nelson, 2015. "Purchasing models and organizational performance: a study of key strategic tools," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 177-188.
    7. Jorge Thompson Araujo & Markus Brueckner & Mateo Clavijo & Ekaterina Vostroknutova & Konstantin M. Wacker, 2014. "Benchmarking the Determinants of Economic Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Other Operational Studies 21318, The World Bank.
    8. Christian Daude, 2012. "Development Accounting: Lessons for Latin America," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 313, OECD Publishing.
    9. Sebastián J. Miller & Sebastián Galiani & Omar O. Chisari, 2013. "Optimal Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change in Small Environmental Economies," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4668, Inter-American Development Bank.
    10. Jorge Thompson Araujo & Ekaterina Vostroknutova & Markus Brueckner & Mateo Clavijo & Konstantin M. Wacker, 2016. "Beyond Commodities," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 25321, December.
    11. Riana Razafimandimby Andrianjaka & Eric Rougier, 2017. "What difference does it make? Revue de littérature et analyse empirique des déterminants de la Trappe à Revenu Intermédiaire," Cahiers du GREThA 2017-16, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.

    More about this item


    Amérique latine; croissance économique; development; développement; economic growth; Latin America; productivité totale des facteurs; total factor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:290-en. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.