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1999 Documento de Trabajo #66

Economic Growth in Latin America: Sources and Prospects

This paper examines the growth experience of Latin America and discusses future prospects. For this purpose we use alternative approaches. We first perform growth decompositions to look at the behavior of total factor productivity and examine differences across regions of the world and within Latin America. Then, we use cross-country growth regressions to compare the relative performance of Latin American countries vis-à-vis the rest of the world. This approach allows us to go beyond the traditional, and perhaps misleading, straightjacket of attributing growth to productivity or investment. It highlights the role of human resources, and institutional and policy factors. With this framework we show high inflation and inward looking development strategy are the main reason for the low growth of Latin America. But, as reforms have advanced within the region, growth prospects have improved.

José De Gregorio
Jong-Wha Lee

Keywords: Economic growth; total factor productivity; Latin America.