IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Latin American Development Problem

  • Diego Restuccia

By international standards, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Latin America is low: around one fourth of that of the United States. Moreover, in the last five decades, Latin America has failed to catch-up in wealth to the level of the United States while other countries at similar or even lower stages of development have been successful. The failure to attain higher levels of relative income represents what I call the development problem in Latin America. Using a development accounting framework, I find that the bulk of the difference in GDP per capita between Latin America and the United States is accounted for by low GDP per hour and, in particular, low total factor productivity (TFP) in Latin America. I calculate that to explain the difference in GDP per hour, TFP in Latin America must be around 60 percent of that in the United States. I then consider a model with heterogeneous production units where institutions and policy distortions lead to a 60 percent productivity ratio between Latin America and the United States. Removing the barriers to productivity can increase long-run GDP per hour in Latin America by a factor of 4 relative to that of the United States. This increase is equivalent to 70-years worth of U.S. post WW-II development.

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:
File Function: Main Text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-432.

in new window

Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 12 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-432
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 978-5283

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2009. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," Working Papers tecipa-348, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Sanchez, Juan M & Wang, Cheng, 2007. "Financing Development: The Role of Information Costs," Staff General Research Papers 12848, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  4. Galindo, Arturo & Schiantarelli, Fabio & Weiss, Andrew, 2007. "Does financial liberalization improve the allocation of investment?: Micro-evidence from developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 562-587, July.
  5. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "The Regulation of Entry," Working Paper Series rwp01-015, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. James Tybout, 1998. "Manufacturing Firms In Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, And Why?," Development and Comp Systems 9805004, EconWPA.
  7. Eric Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2013. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 305-34, February.
  8. Bergoeing, Raphael & Loayza, Norman & Repetto, Andrea, 2004. "Slow recoveries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 473-506, December.
  9. Stefano Scarpetta: & John Haltiwanger & Eric Bartelsman:, 2007. "Cross Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocative Efficiency," 2007 Meeting Papers 134, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Xu Yi & Nezih Guner & Gustavo Ventura, 2005. "Macroeconomic Implications of Size Dependent Policies," 2005 Meeting Papers 530, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Marcelo Veracierto, 2000. "Employment flows, capital mobility, and policy analysis," Working Paper Series WP-00-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  12. Ananth Seshadri & Rodolfo Manuelli, 2005. "Human Capital and the Wealth of Nations," 2005 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Finn E. Kydland & Carlos E.J.M. Zarazaga, 2001. "Argentina's lost decade," Center for Latin America Working Papers 0401, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  14. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2006. "The productivity of nations," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 195-223.
  15. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Working Papers tecipa-283, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  16. repec:oup:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:4:p:1421-1449 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Andres Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2009. "How Important is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Working Papers 09007, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2009.
  18. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian & Alvaro Riascos & James A. Schmitz, 2004. "Latin America in the rearview mirror," Staff Report 351, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Restuccia, Diego & Urrutia, Carlos, 2001. "Relative prices and investment rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 93-121, February.
  21. Raphael Bergoeing & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe & Raimundo Soto, 2001. "A Decade Lost and Found: Mexico and Chile in the 1980s," Documentos de Trabajo 110, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  22. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton & Fabio Kanczuk, 2009. "Plant-Size Distribution and Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2008, pages 243-272 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2006. "The Structural Transformation and Aggregate Productivity in Portugal," Working Papers tecipa-261, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  25. Finn E. Kydland & Carlos E. J. M. Zarazaga, 2002. "Online Appendix to Argentina's Lost Decade and the Subsequent Recovery Puzzle," Technical Appendices kydland02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  26. Atkenson, Andrew & Khan, Aubhik & Ohanian, Lee, 1996. "Are data on industry evolution and gross job turnover relevant for macroeconomics?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 215-239, June.
  27. Raphael Bergoeing & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe & Raimundo Soto, 2002. "Data Appendix to A Decade Lost and Found: Mexico and Chile in the 1980s," Technical Appendices bergoeing02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  28. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
  29. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2002. "Measuring Organization Capital," NBER Working Papers 8722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  31. Ariel Burstein & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2007. "Foreign Know-How, Firm Control, and the Income of Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 13073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Andrés Solimano & Raimundo Soto, 2004. "Latin American Economic Growth in the Late 20th. Century: Evidence and Interpretation," Documentos de Trabajo 276, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  33. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "Regulation and macroeconomic performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3469, The World Bank.
  34. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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:tor:tecipa:tecipa-432. 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: (RePEc Maintainer)

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.