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Fiscal Policy, Stabilization, and Growth

by Rodrigo Suescun Guillermo E. Perry Luis Serven

Fiscal policy in Latin America has been guided primarily by short-term liquidity targets whose observance was taken as the main exponent of fiscal prudence, with attention focused almost exclusively on the levels of public debt and the cash deficit. Very little attention was paid to the effects of fiscal policy on growth and on macroeconomic volatility over the cycle. Important issues such as the composition of public expenditures (and its effects on growth), the ability of fiscal policy to stabilize cyclical fluctuations, and the currency composition of public debt were largely neglected. As a result, fiscal policy has often amplified cyclical volatility and dampened growth. 'Fiscal Policy, Stabilization, and Growth' explores the conduct of fiscal policy in Latin America and its consequences for macroeconomic stability and long-term growth. In particular, the book highlights the procyclical and anti-investment biases embedded in the region's fiscal policies, explores their causes and macroeconomic consequences, and asesses their possible solutions.

Lessons from NAFTA: For Latin America and the Caribbean

by Daniel Lederman Luis Serven William F. Maloney

Analyzing the experience of Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Lessons from NAFTA aims to provide guidance to Latin American and Caribbean countries considering free trade agreements with the United States. The authors conclude that the treaty raised external trade and foreign investment inflows and had a modest effect on Mexico's average income per person. It is likely that the treaty also helped achieve a modest reduction in poverty and an improvement in job quality. This book will be of interest to scholars and policymakers interested in international trade and development.

The Limits of Stabilization: Infrastructure, Public Deficits and Growth in Latin America

by William Easterly Luis Serven

Over the 1980s and 1990s, most Latin American countries witnessed a retrenchment of the public sector from infrastructure provision and an opening up of infrastructure activities to the private sector. This book analyzes the consequences of these policy changes from two perspectives. First, it reviews in a comparative framework the major trends in infrastructure provision in Latin America over the last two decades. Second, it evaluates the implication of these trends for economic growth and public deficits in the region. The book shows that in most countries private participation did not fully offset the public sector retrenchment. The result was a slowdown in infrastructure accumulation, which entailed a significant growth cost and weakened the intended impact of the infrastructure spending cuts on public sector insolvency.

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