Robert Bates, John Coatsworth, and Jeffrey Williamson

The Journal of Economic History, December 2007


This paper analyzes Latin America performance in the period 2003-2013 period, in order to evaluate two ideas: whether or not the first decade of the 2000s constituted “Golden Years,” and whether or not the 2010s were likely to be a “Latin American Decade.” We compare the region’s 2003-2013 performance with that in the 1980s and 1990s, evaluate how it performed in the sub-periods 2003-2007 and 2008-2013, and compare the region’s 2003-2013 indicators with those of other developing regions during the same period. The paper concludes that the period 2003-2013 was a golden decade only when compared with the region’s own performance during the previous two decades but not when compared to other developing regions. Furthermore, the “Golden Years” were just the period 2003-2007, half a decade. Therefore, it concludes that there is no indication of a “Latin American Decade” in the past or in the forthcoming periods.
Keywords: Latin America; Economic Performance; Developing Regions.

View the paper here: Lost Decades: Postindependence Performance in Latin America and Africa