Latin America in the Twentieth Century: stagnation, then Collapse
Most Latin American countries experienced their last peak in output per capita relative to the United States’ between 1971 and 1982. Prior to this peak per capita output was rapidly catching up to the developed world. Twenty years after the peak the average country’s relative per capita output was 68% of its peak level. A growth accounting exercise shows that between 1960 and 1985 the contribution of physical capital to growth, at 74%, was more than twice the world’s average. There is an investment/productivity puzzle since capital accumulation was among the highest in the world and productivity growth one of the lowest. Import Substitution Industrialization and targeted investment subsidies may be the key to understanding Latin America’s lack of development.
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