Structural Reforms, Productivity and Technological Change in Latin America
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Structural Reforms, Productivity and Technological Change in Latin America

Profound structural reforms have moved Latin America and the Caribbean from closed, state-dominated economies to ones that are more market-oriented and open to the rest of the world. This publication looks at the effects of these reforms in an effort to determine whether such expectations as growth, increased productivity, the creation of new jobs and greater equity have been fulfilled. Focusing on technological change, the publication also examines the impact of the reforms on the process of innovation.

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Author(s):
Jorge M. Katz

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The discussion has thus far centred on a macro-to-micro interpretation of the economic, institutional and technological transformation that the Latin American economies (and industries) have been going through over the last two decades. The recent market-oriented structural reforms accelerated this transformation, but they did not actually trigger it. Countries (and industries) were catching up with or lagging behind international productivity standards well before the implementation of the reforms. History matters, and the accumulated technological capabilities that the different countries (and industries) managed to attain during the import substitution industrialization period represent a key factor in explaining the reactions of different industries, regions and countries to major changes in the macroeconomic policy and institutional framework.