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Assessing Latin American Neoliberalism: Introduction to a Debate

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2022

Kurt Weyland*
Affiliation:
University of Texas at Austin
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Abstract

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The present set of Research Notes, which were first presented at a forum on Latin America's market reforms held at the 2003 Latin American Studies Association Congress, investigates the economic and social repercussions of the neoliberal wave that swept across the region during the 1990s. Have market reforms brought greater economic stability and stimulated growth? How have they affected crucial social issues, such as unemployment, poverty, and inequality? After Weyland's introductory explication of these questions, the Research Notes by Evelyne Huber and Fred Solt and by Michael Walton advance divergent assessments of neoliberalism's successes and failures. Huber and Solt argue that overall, Latin America's market reforms have yielded disappointing results in terms of economic stability and growth, social equity, and the quality of democracy. In particular, countries that enacted more radical reforms or that took especially drastic steps towards change performed less well than nations that proceeded more cautiously and gradually. By contrast, Walton argues that market reforms have increased growth while not significantly exacerbating economic instability and social inequality. And to the extent that neoliberalism fell short of expectations, the problem did not emerge from market reforms as such, but from deficiencies in the institutional context in which these reforms were enacted.

Type
Research Reports and Notes
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by the University of Texas Press

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