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Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2003-2004

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2003-2004

This year's Survey, the fifty-sixth edition in this series, is divided into two parts. The first analyses the main features of the regional economy, while the second examines the situation in the individual countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. A summarized statistical appendix is supplemented by the more detailed information that is provided on the accompanying CD-ROM for ease of data processing.

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Economic policy

For a number of years now, fiscal policies in the region have focused on deficit reduction. More attention has been paid to the high levels of public debt and to shortterm financing than to the potential of fiscal policy to play a countercyclical role (see the descriptions of the different countries’ policies in Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2003). With respect to revenue, the authorities have made strenuous efforts to broaden the tax base and curb tax evasion (see the box on structural reforms and the chapters on the individual countries). In terms of public spending cuts, the rigidity of current expenditure has led most of the countries to trim spending mainly in the area of capital expenditure. This has tended to worsen the region’s already chronic infrastructure deficiencies and could undermine the economies’ long-term growth potential.

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