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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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The current global economic context: will the international financial crisis be surmounted or revisited?

The post-Bretton Woods economic system, characterized by the dominance of the dollar as the global reserve currency, was shaken because of the international financial crisis. The collapse of the United States mortgage market in 2008-2009, coming on top of growing regional imbalances in world trade and inadequate financial market regulation, resulted in a loss of momentum for developed-world production activity and global trade, with vast repercussions for emerging economies including those in Latin America. Three years on from the financial crisis, the imbalances in world trade and the international financial system that helped unleash it have yet to be corrected. Furthermore, indicators all pointed to a renewed weakening of the global economy in 2013.

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