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Brazil and Mexico - The political economy of poverty, equity, and growth, Volume 1
Author:Maddison, Angus; Collection Title:A World Bank comparative study
Country:Brazil; Mexico; Date Stored:2002/09/12
Document Date:1992/07/31Document Type:Publication
ISBN:ISBN 0-19-520874-9Language:English
Major Sector:(Historic)Economic PolicyRegion:Latin America & Caribbean
Report Number:11103Sub Sectors:(Historic)Macro/non-trade
SubTopics:Environmental Economics & Policies; Governance Indicators; Achieving Shared Growth; Economic Theory & Research; InequalityVolume No:1

Summary: Brazil and Mexico are two of the largest middle-income developing countries and they have long histories as independent nations. Both are rich in natural and human resources. From 1929 to the early 1980s they were among the world's fastest-growing economies. But both countries inherited patterns of extreme inequality in social relations, income, and education, and these problems were not substantially modified either by government policies or by the spontaneous processes unleased by economic growth. In the 1980s both economies faltered lamentably, in large part because of earlier recklessness in the pursuit of economic growth and because of neglect of social and political problems and goals. The author uses a common framework of analysis and statistics to explain the sources of growth in Brazil and Mexico. Drawing on a wide variety of data sources, he assesses the role of institutions, ideology, power elites, and interest groups in determining the patterns of growth. The author concludes that, although errors in policy did more to harm economic growth than did conflicts between interest groups, the initial distributions of power and political influence were the main forces that caused - and preserved - inequality. Capital accumulation and a rapidly growing labor supply were major sources of growth, and measures of efficiency of resource allocation were quite respectable by international standards from 1950 to 1980.

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