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Structural Change and Growth in Central America and the Dominican Republic

An Overview of Two Decades, 1990-2011

image of Structural Change and Growth in Central America and the Dominican Republic

This publication looks at changes that have occurred with the production structure, trade and society in Central America and the Dominican Republic, and how they have influenced the countries’ growth trajectories. One of the conclusions it reaches is that the subregion overall has enjoyed faster economic growth than the rest of Latin America over the two decades examined, 1990-2011, which has helped to raise incomes and living standards. Yet this progress falls far short of what is needed, given the high levels of poverty and indigence and the glaring inequalities suffered by much of the population in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

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Reflections on a macroeconomic policy for development

The preceding chapters documented the progress made by Central America and the Dominican Republic over the past 21 years, which has primarily taken the recognized form of traditional macroeconomic stability, as reflected in lower inflation rates, small fiscal deficits and moderate economic growth. Despite these achievements, the subregion faces crucial challenges. Economic polarization persists at a level that has made it hard to close gaps in per capita GDP and labour productivity, or to attain higher growth rates in economic activity and in the creation of quality jobs. Furthermore, poverty and inequality have yet to be tackled in the meaningful way demanded by society. The benefits of economic growth must be translated into real gains for the well-being of the population and especially for the lowest income groups.

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