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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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Economic growth and stabilization in Central America and the Dominican Republicin 1990-2011

From 1950 until the end of the 1970s, the three most dynamic decades of the last century for the region’s development, the economies of Central America and the Dominican Republic expanded vigorously. The drivers of this growth were the increase in agricultural exports and industrialization, within the framework of a subregional integration strategy aimed at creating a common market. Central American governments pushed forward with this integration strategy, which played a key role in the expansion of both the domestic subregional market for locally produced consumer goods and exports of manufactures. Two of the most important instruments of this initiative were far-reaching liberalization of intraregional trade in industrialized products and the implementation of fiscal incentives and other promotion policies targeted on so-called integration industries.

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