Latin American Economic Outlook

OECD Development Centre

Frequency :
2072-5140 (online)
2072-5159 (print)
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The Latin American Economic Outlook is the OECD Development Centre’s annual analysis of economic developments in Latin America in partnership with UN ECLAC and CAF. Each edition includes a detailed macroeconomic overview as well as analysis on the dynamics shaping the region in the context of shifting wealth, particularly towards emerging economies. Each issue also includes an in-depth look at a special theme related to development in Latin America, taking into account the strategic challenges and opportunities the region will have in the future. Further information can be found on the website.

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Latin American Economic Outlook 2015

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Latin American Economic Outlook 2015

Education, Skills and Innovation for Development You do not have access to this content

OECD Development Centre

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09 Dec 2014
Pages :
9789264224957 (PDF) ; 9789264222427 (print)

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The Latin American Economic Outlook is the OECD Development Centre’s annual analysis of economic developments in Latin America. It is produced in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as well as CAF, the development bank of Latin America. Each edition includes a detailed macroeconomic overview as well as analysis of how the global context is shaping economic performance in the region. The Latin American Economic Outlook also takes an in-depth look at a special theme related to development in Latin America, taking into account future strategic challenges and opportunities. The 2015 edition focuses on the role of education, skills and innovation for development, taking stock of the current situation in the region, identifying the main challenges and opportunities in these fields, and presenting a series of policy areas where action is needed to impulse Latin America’s development.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements

    The Latin American Economic Outlook analyses issues related to Latin America’s economic and social development. Ever since the first edition was launched at the 17th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government in November 2007 in Santiago (Chile), the report has offered a comparison of Latin American performance with that of other countries and regions in the world, sharing experiences and good practices with the region’s public officials.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Editorial

    Latin America is continuing to experience the economic slowdown that began in 2010. Average growth has lost ground on that of the OECD countries. These developments are due to both internal factors and the less favourable external environment over the past five years, during which the slowdown in the Chinese economy has reduced demand for commodities and therefore brought down commodity prices. In addition, the United States has announced that it will tighten monetary conditions. Although the situation varies greatly from one country to another, the current context underlines the need for all Latin American countries to boost productivity and potential growth. Only then will the significant progress made over the past ten years in reducing poverty and inequality be consolidated.

  • Executive summary

    The pace of Latin American economic growth will be the slowest in the past five years. According to forecasts, the region’s economy will grow by 1.5-2% in 2014 (compared with 2.5% in 2013 and 2.9% in 2012), before recovering slightly in 2015 to 2.5-3%. External factors contribute to this slowdown, including lower commodity prices, mainly due to the economic slowdown in the People’s Republic of China, as well as the rising cost of external financing and more restrained capital inflow prospects. Although growth levels vary from one country to another, partly because of different economic management strategies, these projections signal the end of a ten-year period during which Latin America has seen higher growth than the OECD average.

  • Education, skills and innovation for a more dynamic, inclusive Latin America

    This chapter provides an overview of macroeconomic trends in Latin America and analyses the role of education, skills and innovation for development by looking at the current situation in the region and identifying the main challenges and opportunities in those areas.

  • Latin American macroeconomic outlook

    Latin America has moved away from the high rates of economic growth seen during the 2000s and towards more moderate rates of a range of 1.5-3%. Clearly it is good news that the region was able to deal with deteriorating external conditions without experiencing any crises. However, continuous downward revisions to mediumterm growth projections could be a symptom of potential output growth being less robust than expected, which could present a risk to recent social achievements. This chapter assesses Latin America’s growth prospects in a more challenging international environment and explores how vulnerable the region is to further blows to the international environment in the short term. It also analyses the historical impact of resource booms (from commodities and capital flows) on the trend and cyclical components of economic performance. The chapter ends with some proposals on economic policy in the short term, and especially in the long term. The region must take ambitious strides to raise productivity and continue to bring down inequality and poverty. To do so, it must improve the skills of current and future workers through traditional education and technical and vocational education and training, a subject that ties in with the rest of this report.

  • Skills in Latin America and the Caribbean amid shifting wealth

    This chapter analyses the influence of shifting wealth on skills and production development in Latin America. It proposes that an inadequate supply of skills (in terms of quantity and quality) explains their limited role in the Latin American development model. This situation has left the vast majority of countries in the region caught in the middle-income trap, which is particularly difficult to escape in the current context, in which shifting wealth is making it difficult to identify and acquire the necessary skills. More than in any other emerging region, Latin American companies are not seeing their demand for skills being met. This contrasts with the drop in returns to education in the region, reflecting the complexity of acquiring the skills needed in such a dynamic economic environment. The chapter also analyses the distribution of workers according to their level of skills and highlights the potential role of technical and vocational training in increasing the impact of training on employment.

  • Education and skills for inclusive growth in Latin America

    This chapter offers a recent overview of education systems in Latin America and their capacity to achieve inclusive growth. It begins by describing the achievements made in investment and enrolment rates at the various levels of education and identifying some of the challenges that lie ahead for the region. It then looks at changes in performance, especially in secondary education, and the schoolrelated and social factors behind those changes. The chapter looks at inequality patterns in the education systems related to socio-economic income, geographical location and gender. There is also a discussion of recent changes to education policies in the region, with an overview of the experiences of OECD countries in implementing such policies. The chapter concludes by making policy recommendations based on this analysis.

  • Innovation for Development in Latin America

    Latin America has significantly improved its macroeconomic stability and some aspects of its population’s well-being. However, greater efforts are needed to raise productivity levels, create goodquality jobs and reduce the size of the informal economy. Policies therefore need to be geared towards making the production system more diverse and more sophisticated. This chapter analyses the relationship between skills development and innovation processes in the production system, focusing on the impact of the stock of skills on long-term productivity and growth. Various indicators are used to measure the knowledge intensity of the production structure and to estimate the knowledge-based capital of the economy. The chapter also discusses certain indicators of the contribution made by foreign direct investment to skills development. Finally, looking at certain case studies, it discusses the relationship between skills, innovation and productivity increases at the firm level.

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    • Argentina

      Argentina ranks among the biggest investors in education in Latin America, allocating public funds equivalent to 6.3% of GDP to education, more than both the regional and OECD averages. The proportions of public (86.5%) and private (13.5%) investment in Argentina are similar to those found in the OECD countries (83.9% and 16.1% respectively).

    • Brazil

      Brazil increased its public spending in education from 4.0% of GDP in 2000 to 5.8% in 2010, taking it above the country averages for Latin America (5.0%) and the OECD (5.6%).

    • Chile

      In 2012, government expenditure on education in Chile was below the regional and OECD averages. Chile has a higher proportion of private funding for education than any other OECD member country, with 40.1% of education spending coming from private sources (16.1% average for OECD countries).

    • Colombia

      Colombia invests 4.4% of GDP in education, a lower proportion than the Latin American and OECD averages. The private sector provides 34.9% of total expenditure, twice as much as the average in the OECD countries (16.1%).

    • Costa Rica

      Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of public investment in education in Latin America, at 6.3% of GDP.

    • Dominican Republic

      Although enrolment in pre-primary and secondary education is low compared with the Latin American average, the gap has been closing. In the region as a whole, the net secondaryschool enrolment rate increased by 20% between 2000 and 2012, but in the Dominican Republic it increased by more than 50% during the same period (see graphic). This was mainly thanks to the improved net enrolment rate for boys, which grew by more than 60%.

    • Mexico

      Mexico spends 5.2% of GDP on public education, a figure close to the Latin American and OECD averages. The balance between public and private funding is also similar to the OECD average, with the public sector providing 80.3% of funding and the private sector 19.7% (vs. OECD averages of 83.9% and 16.1%).

    • Panama

      Government expenditure on education in Panama was 3.5% of GDP in 2011, below the regional average.

    • Peru

      Peru spends 2.8% of GDP on education, one of the lowest percentages in the region.

    • Uruguay

      Enrolment rates are generally higher than the regional averages, except the secondary-school rate, which is slightly lower. Enrolment in tertiary education has grown remarkably, increasing by nearly 30 percentage points in the 2000s. Government expenditure on education (4.5% of GDP) is below the regional average.

    • Methodological note: Definition of variables used
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