Trade, Industrialization, and Integration in Twentieth-Century Central America

By Irma Tirado de Alonso | Go to book overview

2
A MACROECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF CENTRAL AMERICA

Irma T. de Alonso


INTRODUCTION

During the late 1970s and early 1980s many regions of the world experienced slow economic growth. In Central America, economic conditions were so severe that this ten year period has come to be known as Central America's lost decade. Along with the rest of the world, Central America suffered through double-digit rates of inflation and unemployment. At the same time, the region was also burdened with widespread social and political turmoil, not to mention the devastation left by several hurricanes and earthquakes. More specifically, the was civil unrest in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala; political instability throughout the region; deteriorating terms of trade; continuous trade deficits; recurrent budget deficits; massive capital flight; increasing external indebtedness; and shortages in international foreign currency reserves. These events have profoundly influenced the region's economic policies over the last two decades.

The purpose of this chapter is to evaluate Central America's economic performance during the period 1980 through 1990. While the focus is on this specific decade, comparisons are made with the two previous decades in order to identify the patterns and trends that preceded the era of the so-called lost decade. The chapter also provides an economic forecast, for Central America as a whole. The following section is a discussion of output growth and transformations in various sectors of the regional economy over the last 30 years. The third section looks at investment trends over this same period while the fourth discusses government revenue and expenditure patterns. The fifth and sixth sections deal with balance of payments and foreign debt, respectively. The seventh section provides a current profile of unemployment, inflation and real wages. Finally, the eighth section closes the chapter with a brief summary and overview. All the statistics used here were provided by the Interamerican Development Bank.

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Trade, Industrialization, and Integration in Twentieth-Century Central America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • PART I INTRODUCTION 1
  • 1: CENTRAL AMERICA: THE CHALLENGES OF TRADE, INDUSTRIALIZATION, and INTEGRATION IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY 3
  • 2: A MACROECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF CENTRAL AMERICA 15
  • SUMMARY AND OVERVIEW 36
  • Note 36
  • PART II TRADE IN CENTRAL AMERICA 39
  • 3: THE STRUCTURE OF TRADE IN CENTRAL AMERICA 41
  • SUMMARY 58
  • Notes 59
  • References 59
  • 4: IDUSTRIALIZATION and TRADE IN CENTRAL AMERICA 61
  • Notes 85
  • References 85
  • 5: MEXICO AS A POTENTIAL MARKET FOR CENTRAL AMERICAN and CARIBBEAN PRODUCTS 87
  • Notes 98
  • PART III INDUSTRIALIZATION AND INTEGRATION IN CENTRAL AMERICA 101
  • 6: THE INTENSITY OF CENTRAL AMERICAN ECONOMIC INTEGRATION 103
  • CONCLUSIONS 111
  • Notes 113
  • Notes 114
  • 7: ASSEMBLY OPERATIONS IN CENTRAL AMERICA 117
  • References 149
  • 8: PANAMA: ECONOMIC INTEGRATION ALTERNATIVES, IMPLICATIONS, and PERSPECTIVES 153
  • Notes 178
  • References 179
  • 9: THE CENTRAL AMERICAN COMMON MARKET: AN ANALYSIS Of WELFARE EFFECTS FROM 1970 TO 1984 183
  • Conclusion 202
  • Notes 203
  • Notes 204
  • PART IV SPECIAL ISSUES 207
  • 10: ECONOMIC PROSPECTS FOR CENTRAL AMERICA IN THE DECADE OF THE 1990S 209
  • Notes 220
  • REFFERENCES 220
  • 11: A REVIEW OF ECONOMIC POLICIES and STRATEGIES FOR TRADE and INDUSTRIALIZATION IN CENTRAL AMERICA 223
  • CONCLUSION: WHERE TO FROM HERE? 232
  • References 235
  • 12: THE DILEMMA OF EXPORT RIVIVAL: NICARAGUAN AGRICULTURE AT A TURNING POINT 237
  • Notes 251
  • References 251
  • 13: CHALLENGES and PROSPECTS FOR CENTRAL AMERICA IN A GLOBAL TRADE CONTEXT 253
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY 271
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 277
  • Index 279
  • ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS 289
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