Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and should not be taken as representative of the United Kingdom Department for International Development.
Another lost decade? The future of reform in Latin America†
Version of Record online: 19 SEP 2003
Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Public Administration and Development
Volume 23, Issue 4, pages 297–305, October 2003
How to Cite
Santiso, C. (2003), Another lost decade? The future of reform in Latin America. Public Admin. Dev., 23: 297–305. doi: 10.1002/pad.294
This article is based on a review of the following books: Barbara Stallings and Wilson Peres. Growth, Employment and Equity: The Impact of the Economic Reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean. Brookings Institution Press and United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean: Washington DC, 2000, xiv + 252 pp., US$22.95 (paperback). ISBN: 0-8157-8087-7; Jeffrey Stark (ed.). The Challenge of Change in Latin America and the Caribbean. University of Miami North South Centre Press: Miami, 2001, 276 pp., US$25.00 (paperback). ISBN 1-57454-076-9; Philip Oxhorn and Pamela Starr (eds). Markets and Democracy in Latin America: Conflict or Convergence? Lynne Rienner Publishers: Boulder London, 1999, 290 pp., US$27.00 (hardcover). ISBN 1-555-87716-8; Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Hilton L. Root (eds). Governing for Prosperity. Yale University Press: New Haven, 2000, 272 pp., US$18 (paperback) and US$35 (hardcover). ISBN: 0-30008-018-2 and ISBN 0-30008-017-4.
- Issue online: 19 SEP 2003
- Version of Record online: 19 SEP 2003
The 1990s ended equivocally in Latin America. What has gone wrong? Is economic failure the cause or the consequence of the democratic decay and the erosion of governance throughout the region? The review essay revisits the debate on the intricate links between politics and economics in the second stage of reform. Moving beyond standard typologies of regime type, it explores the interactions between the quality of democratic governance and the performance of economic policy under democratic auspices, in particular its credibility. It is now amply recognized that reforms have been hindered by inefficient unreliable and unaccountable government institutions. Furthermore, the manner in which market reforms have been implemented has undermined governance and accountability. The importance of policy credibility has essentially been neglected as a pivotal condition for effective economic reform. Consequently, policymakers propose a new round of reforms, centring on strengthening the institutions of governance and modifying the incentives shaping public policy. The essay argues that restoring the credibility of policy requires a fundamental redefinition of the state and reforming the methods of government and the styles of policymaking. The defining challenge of Latin American countries is to strengthen capacity to adequately implement policy and credibly commit to policy reform. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.