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Economic Development and Social Equity: A Latin American Perspective

  • Oscar Altimir


Although the different phases of each country's development are far from being synchronous, in general Latin America's growth in the postwar period began to change pace and pattern around the mid- 1960s, then again following the oil crisis of 1973, which ushered in a slowdown of the world economy, only to plunge into crisis anew early in the 1980s.

As discussed in Altimir (1994a), during the 1950s and 1960s, growth — i.e., at substantial rates, greater than 2%per capita — was either unequal (as in Brazil or Chile in the 1960s) or else involved an increase in inequality in the 1950s that was followed by a phase of inequality that remained essentially unchanged throughout the 1960s (as in Argentina, Colombia or Mexico).



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Altimir, O. (1994a) “Cambios de la desigualdad y la pobreza en la América Latina.” El Trimestre Económico No. 241 [México] LXI, 1 (enero-marzo).
Altimir, O. (1994b) Income distribution and poverty through crisis and adjustment, CEPAL Review 52 (April).
Birdsall, N., Ross, D. and Sabot, R. (1995) “Inequality and growth reconsidered: lessons from East Asia.” The World Bank Economic Review 9, 3 (September).
Borensztein, E., Kahn, M., Reinhart, C. and Whickham, P. (1994) The behavior of non-oil commodity prices (Occasional Paper 112, August). Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) (1990) Changing production patterns with social equity (LC/G. 1601-P; March; UN publication: Sales E.90.II.G.6). Santiago de Chile: United Nations, ECLAC.
Krugman, P. (1994) “Competitiveness: A dangerous obsession.” Foreign Affairs 73, 2 (March/April): 2844.
Schiefelbein, E. (1995) “La reforma educativa en América Latina y el Caribe: un programa de acción.” Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the World Bank on “Development in Latin America and the Caribbean;” Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); 12-13 June 1995.


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