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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Spring 2005

LAS 381 • PUBLIC POLICY IN LAT AMER: OLD AND NEW ISSUES

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38237 W
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
SRH 3.101
PAIVA

Course Description

The main transformations that Latin America has experienced in the last decades were the consolidation of the market mechanisms within the economic arena, and the consolidation of democratic regimes within the political arena. There is an increasing trend to reduce government interventions in the economic activities and the predominance of freedom in private initiatives. The state reforms aim in reducing government meddling in the economic activities allowing the government to concentrate on the more efficiently and effectively supply of public goods. There is also a trend for a deeper integration in international trade. The economic and social development recently in Latin America was built on the top of these two pillars, market and democracy. Nevertheless, the economic performance has been modest, at best, with wide variability in the GDP growth rates. There are important improvements in the social area as shown by the Human Development Indicators (HDI) produced by the United Nations Program for Development (UNPD). However, inequalities remain high and there is no evidence of significant reduction in the poverty indicators. Open unemployment and labor market informality showed an upward trend in the last decades. It seems that Latin America quest for development is still facing the old issues while new ones have arisen. The goal of this course is to promote the debate on the main issues related to economic and social development in Latin America. What are the impacts of structural reforms on Latin American economy? What factors affect the region’s economic growth? What are the main causes of poverty and why public policies have not been effective? What are the main impacts of trade liberalization on the economy and employment in the region? What are the challenges to promote economic growth with social equity? What is the role of institutions and public policies in promoting economic and social development? These themes will be discussed through the analysis of the main Latin American economic and social indicators as well as the analysis of public policies implemented in different countries. The main themes, which formed the basis for the structuralism approach of the 1960s and for the Washington Consensus of the 1990s, will be discussed as well. The course is divided in three parts. Part one sets the stage; part two looks at the economy; and part three deals with social and political challenges. The course is designed for students interested in both social and economic development in Latin America and public policies. This course does not require a deep technical economic knowledge, although familiarity with economic development issues will help the student to get more from the course. The bibliography will be mostly in English, however, knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese will give the student access to a broader bibliography Student Evaluation: Student evaluation will comprise three parts. First a short paper between 5 to 10 pages (maximum) defining a relevant issue on economic and social development in one Latin American country. This paper is due around the middle of the semester and accounts for 35% of the final grade. Second a co-organization of a class seminar, which will be defined in the second class of the course and distributed according to student’s interest in different themes listed under seminar). The co-organization of a seminar will account for 15% of the final grade. Third, students will deliver a final paper accounting for 50% of the total grade. For the short-paper students should clearly define an issue regarding a given Latin American country based on available indicators and referenced in the pertinent literature. For the organization of class seminars, the students, consulting the suggested bibliography, will choose one theme from the seminar list and make a presentation of an issue, raise the main questions related to the issue and coo

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