IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tor/tecipa/tecipa-432.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Latin American Development Problem

Author

Listed:
  • Diego Restuccia

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Diego Restuccia, 2011. "The Latin American Development Problem," Working Papers tecipa-432, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-432
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-432.pdf
    File Function: Main Text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James R. Tybout, 2000. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 11-44, March.
    2. Ananth Seshadri & Rodolfo Manuelli, 2005. "Human Capital and the Wealth of Nations," 2005 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Finn E. Kydland & Carlos E. J. M. Zarazaga, 2002. "Argentina's Lost Decade," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 152-165, January.
    4. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "How Important Is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1421-1449.
    5. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    6. Jeremy Greenwood & Juan M. Sanchez & Cheng Wang, 2010. "Financing Development: The Role of Information Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1875-1891, September.
    7. Nezih Guner & Gustavo Ventura & Xu Yi, 2008. "Macroeconomic Implications of Size-Dependent Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 721-744, October.
    8. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 129-173.
    9. 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.
    10. 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, January.
    11. Veracierto, Marcelo, 2001. "Employment Flows, Capital Mobility, and Policy Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 571-595, August.
    12. 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.
    13. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
    14. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian & Alvaro Riascos & James A. Schmitz, 2006. "Latin America in the rearview mirror," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sep.
    15. 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 541-563, July.
    16. Raphael Bergoeing & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe & Raimundo Soto, 2002. "A Decade Lost and Found: Mexico and Chile in the 1980s," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 166-205, January.
    17. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2007. "The structural transformation and aggregate productivity in Portugal," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 6(1), pages 23-46, April.
    18. 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.
    19. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2002. "Measuring Organization Capital," NBER Working Papers 8722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Bergoeing, Raphael & Loayza, Norman & Repetto, Andrea, 2004. "Slow recoveries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 473-506, December.
    21. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "Regulation and macroeconomic performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3469, The World Bank.
    22. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 707-720, October.
    24. 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 305-334, February.
    25. 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.
    26. Raphael Bergoeing & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe & Raimundo Soto, 2002. "A Decade Lost and Found: Mexico and Chile in the 1980s," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 166-205, January.
    27. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2006. "The productivity of nations," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 195-223.
    28. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-283, April.
    29. Restuccia, Diego & Urrutia, Carlos, 2001. "Relative prices and investment rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 93-121, February.
    30. Ariel T. Burstein & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2009. "Foreign Know-How, Firm Control, and the Income of Developing Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 149-195.
    31. Raphael Bergoeing & Patrick J. Kehoe & Timothy J. Kehoe & Raimundo Soto, 2002. "Decades lost and found: Mexico and Chile since 1980," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 3-30.
    32. 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.
    33. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    34. 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..
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    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. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-112 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. Carlos Gustavo Machicado & Paúl Estrada, 2012. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: a simulation analysis for Bolivia," Analítika, Analítika - Revista de Análisis Estadístico/Journal of Statistical Analysis, vol. 4(2), pages 57-79, Diciembre.
    6. Perez Caldentey, Esteban & Pineda, Ramon, 2010. "Does Latin America lag behind due to shaper recessions and/or slower recoveries?," MPRA Paper 25036, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Julio Cesar Leal Ordonez, 2014. "Tax collection, the informal sector, and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 262-286, April.
    8. Cubas, German, 2016. "Distortions, infrastructure, and female labor supply in developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 194-215.
    9. Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti & Pessôa, Samuel de Abreu & Veloso, Fernando A., 2010. "The evolution of TFP in Latin America: high productivity when distortions were high?," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 699, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    10. Claudia Sánchez-Vela & Jorge N. Valero-Gil, 2011. "The Effect of Firm-Size Dependent Policies on the Economy: The Case of the Repecos Law in Mexico," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4549, Inter-American Development Bank.
    11. Leal Ordóñez, Julio C., 2010. "Informal sector, productivity, and tax collection," MPRA Paper 26058, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2010.
    12. Rangel González, Erick & Torre Cepeda, Leonardo E., 2015. "Determinants of the cost of starting a business in Mexico," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 430-449.
    13. repec:eee:quaeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:294-301 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Dhritman Bhattacharya & Nezih Guner & Gustavo Ventura, 2013. "Distortions, Endogenous Managerial Skills and Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 11-25, January.
    15. Alain Gabler & Markus Poschke, 2013. "Experimentation by Firms, Distortions, and Aggregate Productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 26-38, January.
    16. repec:eee:jmacro:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:107-126 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti & Pessôa, Samuel de Abreu & Veloso, Fernando A., 2011. "On the evolution of TFP in Latin America," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 723, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    18. Gaaitzen J. Vries, 2014. "Productivity in a Distorted Market: The Case of Brazil's Retail Sector," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(3), pages 499-524, September.
    19. Daniel Chiquiar & Manuel Ramos Francia, 2009. "Competitiveness and Growth of the Mexican Economy," Working Papers 2009-11, Banco de México.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor productivity; capital; schooling; establishment heterogeneity; policy distortions;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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: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). 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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 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.