The paper stresses the evolutionary and adaptive experience of
Latin American growth between 1950 and 1980, and provides a synthetic view
by considering the sources of growth within a simple production framework.
Regressions use quinquennial panel data for 18 Latin American countries.
They provide an estimate of the net return to investment, of the elasticity
of output to labor and of the contribution of other variables with
influence on efficiency. The regressions show that Latin American growth
varied systematically with trade performance.
The paper provides information on the effects of inflation upon
per capita income growth in the region. There is a negative correlation: an
inflation rate of even 20 percent reduces the per capita growth rate by 0.4
percentage point, or almost 1.5 percent of the regional mean of 3 percent
growth between 1950 and 1980. This result does not hold, however, once high
inflation observations are excluded.
Finally we call attention to the persistent problems of income
distribution and poverty.
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