In Left Behind, Sebastian Edwards explains why the nations of Latin America have failed to share in the fruits of globalization and forcefully highlights the dangers of the recent turn to economic populism in the region. He begins by detailing the many ways Latin American governments have stifled economic development over the years through excessive regulation, currency manipulation, and thoroughgoing corruption. He then turns to the neoliberal reforms of the early 1990s, which called for the elimination of deficits, lowering of trade barriers, and privatization of inefficient public enterprises—and which, Edwards argues, held the promise of freeing Latin America from the burdens of the past. Flawed implementation, however, meant the promised gains of globalization were never felt by the mass of citizens, and growing frustration with stalled progress has led to a resurgence of populism throughout the region, exemplified by the economic policies of Venezuela’sHugo Chávez. But such measures, Edwards warns, are a recipe for disaster; instead, he argues, the way forward for Latin America lies in further market reforms, more honestly pursued and fairly implemented. As an example of the promise of that approach, Edwards points to Latin America's giant, Brazil, which under the successful administration of President Luis Inácio da Silva (Lula) has finally begun to show signs of reaching its true economic potential.
As the global financial crisis has reminded us, the risks posed by failing economies extend far beyond their national borders. Putting Latin America back on a path toward sustained growth is crucial not just for the region but for the world, and Left Behind offers a clear, concise blueprint for the way forward.
The volume, divided into four main sections, addresses: the role of exchange rates in stabilization programs and the adjustment process; the importance of exchange rate policy during liberalization reform in developing countries; exchange rate problems relevant and unique to developing countries, illustrated by case studies; and the problems defining, measuring, and identifying determinants of real exchange rates. Authors of individual papers examine the relation between commercial policies and exchange rates, the role of exchange rate policy in stabilization programs, the effectiveness of devaluations as a policy tool, and the interaction between exchange rate terms of trade an capital flow. This research will not only prove crucial to our understanding of the role of exchange rates in developing countries, but will clearly set the standard for future work in the field.
At the same time, other norms can reduce costs and raise productivity; they should be kept in place and their enforcement improved. For example, some occupational health and safety standards lower medical costs and save lives. One may also want to keep legislation aimed at providing a minimum social insurance for unemployment, old age, sickness, and disabilities.
In practice, the most common decision that governments confront is not whether to intervene but to choose among different forms of intervention. This volume provides analysts and policymakers with useful insights on this issue. Part I addresses labor market institutions in a broader context, such as collective bargaining arrangements, minimum wages and poverty, and optimal unemployment insurance schemes. Part II analyzes labor market performance in Latin America, the links between performance and labor market regulations, and the status of labor market reform in the region. These questions are addressed for the region as a whole and in great detail for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia. The book provides a comprehensive description of the existing labor institutions in Latin America, the problems they pose, and the trends in labor market reforms as well as the difficulties encountered by the reform process in specific cases.
In addition to the editors, the contributors are Edward Amadeo, Jose Marcio Camargo, Alejandra Cox Edwards, Rene Cortazar, Enrique Davila, Marta Lus Henao, Eduardo Lora, Hugo Hopenhayn, Darryl McLeod, Juan Pablo Nicolini, John Pencavel, and Carola Pessino.
Economists and political scientists from the United States and Latin America detail in this volume how and why such programs go wrong and what leads policymakers to repeatedly adopt these policies despite a history of failure. Authors examine this pattern in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru—and show how Colombia managed to avoid it. Despite differences in how each country implemented its policies, the macroeconomic consequences were remarkably similar.
Scholars of Latin America will find this work a valuable resource, offering a distinctive macroeconomic perspective on the continuing controversy over the dynamics of populism.
Among the questions addressed are: What are the requirements for a stabilization policy that reduces inflation in a reasonable amount of time at an acceptable cost? What are the effects of structural reforms, especially trade liberalization, deregulation, and privatization, on growth in the short and long runs? How do macroeconomic instability and adjustment policies affect income distribution and poverty? How does the specific design of structural adjustment efforts affect results?
In this companion to Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America, the authors confirm that macroeconomic stability has a positive effect on income distribution. The volume presents case studies that describe in detail the stabilization experiences in Brazil, Israel, Argentina, and Bolivia, and also includes discussion of Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Turkey.
Together these studies offer a new understanding of the empirical relationship between capital flows, international trade, and economic performance, and also afford key insights into realms of major policy concern.
Topics covered include exchange rate regimes, contagion (transmission of currency crises across countries), the current account of the balance of payments, the role of private sector investors and of speculators, the reaction of the official sector (including the multilaterals), capital controls, bank supervision and weaknesses, and the roles of cronyism, corruption, and large players (including hedge funds).
Ably balancing detailed case studies, cross-country comparisons, and theoretical concerns, this book will make a major contribution to ongoing efforts to understand and prevent international currency crises.
In the aftermath of the East Asian currency crises of 1997, the authors consider mechanisms that eight countries have used to control capital inflows and evaluate their effectiveness in altering the maturity of the resulting external debt and reducing macroeconomic vulnerability. This volume is essential reading for all those interested in emerging nations and the costs and benefits of restricting international capital flows.
A distinguished panel of experts argues here that slow growth, rampant protectionism, and rising inflation plagued Latin America for years, where corrupt institutions and political unrest undermined the financial outlook of already besieged economies. Tracing Latin America’s growth and decline through two centuries, this volume illustrates how a once-prosperous continent now lags behind. Of interest to scholars and policymakers alike, it offers new insight into the relationship between political systems and economic development.
A group of experts here examine rapidly globalizing financial markets with regard to capital flows and crises, domestic credit, international financial integration, and economic policy. Featuring detailed analyses and cross-national comparisons of countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Korea, this book will shape economists’ and policymakers’ understanding of the effectiveness of restrictions on capital mobility in the world’s most fragile economies.