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Why Latin American Nations Fail

Development Strategies in the Twenty-First Century

Matías Vernengo (Editor), Esteban Pérez Caldentey (Editor)


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The question of development is a major topic in courses across the social sciences and history, particularly those focused on Latin America. Many scholars and instructors have tried to pinpoint, explain, and define the problem of underdevelopment in the region. With new ideas have come new strategies that by and large have failed to explain or reduce income disparity and relieve poverty in the region. Why Latin American Nations Fail brings together leading Latin Americanists from several disciplines to address the topic of how and why contemporary development strategies have failed to curb rampant poverty and underdevelopment throughout the region. Given the dramatic political turns in contemporary Latin America, this book offers a much-needed explanation and analysis of the factors that are key to making sense of development today.

1. Introduction
Matías Vernengo and Esteban Pérez Caldentey


2. Industrialization, Trade, and Economic Growth
Carlos Aguiar de Medeiros

3. Institutions, Property Rights, and Why Nations Fail
Esteban Pérez Caldentey and Matías Vernengo

4. With the Best of Intentions: Types of Development Failure in Latin America
Miguel A. Centeno and Agustín E. Ferraro

5. What Makes an Institution “Developmental”? A Comparative Analysis
Alejandro Portes and Jean C. Nava


6. Latin America’s Mounting Development Challenges
José Antonio Ocampo

7. Economic Performance in Latin America in the 2000s: Recession, Recovery, and Resilience?
Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid and Stefanie Garry

8. South America after the Commodity Boom
Martín Abeles and Sebastián Valdecantos

9. China in Latin America: Social and Environmental Lessons for Institutions in a Commodity Boom
Rebecca Ray and Kevin P. Gallagher

10. Some Concluding Thoughts
Esteban Pérez Caldentey and Matías Vernengo

Matías Vernengo is Professor of Economics at Bucknell University. He previously taught at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Kalamazoo College, and the University of Utah. He was Senior Research Manager at the Central Bank of Argentina and external consultant to several United Nations organizations.
Esteban Pérez Caldentey is Chief of the Financing for Development Unit at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile. He teaches a course on alternative economic models with applications to Latin America at the University of Santiago de Chile. 
“Drawing on a range of exciting economists like Kaldor, Kalecki, and Prebisch, this volume constitutes a refreshing alternative to Why Nations Fail and provides a rich policy and research agenda for Latin America. Economic development does not depend on property rights but on building effective states and managing aggregate demand over the long run.”—Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, coauthor of The Quest for Universal Social Policy in the South: Actors, Ideas, and Architectures
“Rooted in CEPAL’s path-breaking structuralist theoretical and empirical interpretation of the retarding socioeconomic impacts of commodity-based export-led economies, this cutting-edge book constitutes a legitimate (and much-needed) challenge to the near-hegemony of entropic national economic strategies grounded in the decontextualized, pseudo-historical, ‘new institutionalist’ interpretations of Latin America’s circuitous economic trajectory.”—James M. Cypher, Professor of Economics, Doctoral Program in Development Studies, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, México

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