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


  • Luis Bértola

    (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Bértola, 2015. "Has Latin America changed tracks? Catching up: now and then. An essay," Documentos de trabajo 40, Programa de Historia Económica, FCS, Udelar.
  • Handle: RePEc:ude:doctra:40

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
    2. Bertola, Luis & Ocampo, Jose Antonio, 2012. "The Economic Development of Latin America since Independence," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199662142.
    3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Klinger, Bailey, 2006. "Structural Transformation and Patterns of Comparative Advantage in the Product Space," Working Paper Series rwp06-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Jos� Antonio Ocampo & Juliana Vallejo, 2012. "Economic Growth, Equity and Human Development in Latin America," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 107-133, February.
    5. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2012. "Commodity Prices over Two Centuries: Trends, Volatility, and Impact," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 185-206, August.
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