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  • Author: Thomas Andrew O'Keefe
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: Almost from the day it was launched on March 26, 1991, skeptics have predicted the imminent collapse of the Common Market of the South (Mercado Común del Sur — MERCOSUR), while some economists have fretted about the project's supposed protectionist designs to create a trade fortress. The most memorable example of the latter was a 1996 report written by a World Bank economist that relied on out-of-date trade statistics and attributed to MERCOSUR policies that were actually pre-existing national automotive regimes. More recent tirades have tried to blame Argentina's economic meltdown on its MERCOSUR membership. A well-known economist from a New York City investment bank has even gone as far as to proclaim MERCOSUR dead. Given all the invective directed against efforts to integrate South America's Southern Cone economically over the past decade, it is not surprising that MERCOSUR is misunderstood by many in North America.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Jerry Haar
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: The Latin American financial services sector has been profoundly affected by the sweeping economic, legal, and regulatory reforms of the 1990s. Conversely, the sector has extensively impacted the economic liberalization process that has been the hallmark of Latin American development from the late 1980s through the present. This paper highlights trends in the financial services sector; discusses the key drivers of change, both globally and regionally; illustrates how three of those drivers — mergers and acquisitions (M), technology, and customer demand — are revolutionizing this sector; and reviews the organizational and strategic responses by financial firms to an increasingly competitive environment.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Luigi Manzetti
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: In December 2001, Argentina recorded the world's largest default ever, as it failed to honor payments on its US$132 billion foreign debt. Since then, five presidents have been in power, the Argentine peso has been devalued by 120 percent, and the banking system has virtually collapsed, dragging the economy into a depression. The gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2002. Argentina's per capita income has become one of the worst in Latin America, and, as a result, more than one-third of its people live under the poverty line. 1 Argentines' confidence in their elected officials has disappeared. By most accounts, the country has literally imploded to a degree that has no precedent in Latin America's contemporary history. This is particularly bewildering, considering that only 10 years ago Argentina was hailed around the world as a model of successful economic reforms, with standards of living that were not only the highest in the region but comparable to those of some southern European countries. How could Argentina go from role model to international outcast so quickly? Some place the blame on external shocks created by the financial crises in Mexico (1995), Indonesia (1997), Thailand (1998), and Russia (1998). Others say the cause of the problem was misguided policy advice from the International Monetary Fund (Stiglitz 2002). Yet, most analyses ascribe much of the trouble to the Convertibility Law's fixed exchange rate policy adopted in 1991.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Indonesia, Argentina, South America, Latin America, Mexico, Thailand
  • Author: Patricio Korzeniewicz, William C. Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: This paper examines the politics of hemispheric integration exemplified by the Summits of the Americas held in Miami (1994), Santiago (1998), and Quebec (2001) and the negotiations over the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Our basic premise is that political and institutional arrangements articulating state, society, and economy in Latin America are currently in the midst of a process of reconfiguration unleashed by the acceleration of globalization and attendant crises of state-centered development strategies. More specifically, we believe the Americas are witnessing the emergence of an ensemble of new social and political actors, among the most salient of which are new social movements and civil society organizations (CSOs), organized in networks operating at the domestic, regional, and global levels.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, North America, Miami
  • Author: Jerry Haar, Thomas A. O'Keefe
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: A transformation of the automotive industry, particularly the segment involved in production of finished vehicles, has taken place in the Southern Common Market (Mercado Común del Sur/Mercado Comum do Sul—MERCOSUR/MER-COSUL) region of South America, at a time when MERCOSUR member states opened their economies to global competition and to participation in an ambitious subregional economic integration project. This Agenda Paper provides an overview of the factors that have contributed to this recent industry transformation. The paper also examines the factors involved in the formal incorporation of the automotive sector into the MERCOSUR project and discusses the impact this development is like-ly have on the subregional automobile industry,
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Fernando Masi
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates the costs and benefits of changes brought by the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) on special and differential treatment (S); shows how these changes affected the new regional integration processes in the American continent; and examines whether this issue is still a priority of developing countries' agendas. Large concessions offered by developing countries in exchange for access to markets automatically led to “trade graduation.” Thus, S has lost its former significance among developing countries. Moreover, nonreciprocal treatment was retained for least developed countries, which do not even enjoy this type of treatment under the so-called “new trade-related issues” of services, investment, and intellectual property rights.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Robert Grosse
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: The outcomes of regulatory policies and regimes in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico since 1990 in the telecommunications, electric power, and banking sectors are explored in this paper. How should governments regulate these oligopolistic industries, once ownership of the sectors has been passed to private hands? How can governments manage these relationships successfully and see that the greatest benefits accrue to the country? What institutional structures can best handle the problems that arise in these situations? The paper addresses these questions and concludes that, while privatizations in these sectors have been predominantly positive in the 1990s, there is still considerable room for more competition.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America, Mexico
  • Author: Carol Wise
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: This paper tackles the question of trade strategy and differential economic performance in Latin America, with a focus on the four countries -- Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico -- most important for the successful completion of a full Western Hemispheric integration scheme. The analysis distinguishes between a “standard” market strategy that assigns the task of economic adjustment to market forces and a “competitive” strategy that more actively employs a range of public policies to facilitate adjustment and correct for instances of market failure. The choices of strategy are explored against the backdrop of international pressures, government-business relations, and institutional reform within the state. Two main conclusions are drawn: first, the competitive strategy strongly correlates with more favorable macro-and microeconomic outcomes and, second, mediocre economic performance under a standard market strategy has undermined the spirit of collective action that will be necessary to forge ahead at the hemispheric level.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico, Chile
  • Author: Manuel Pastor, Carol Wise
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: Even as multilateral officials adamantly oppose the implementation of currency boards as a way of stabilizing exchange rates and inflation in the wake of the recent Asian financial crisis, Argentina remains committed to such an arrangement. This paper explores the political and economic conditions that prompted Argentine policymakers to adopt an economic management model in 1991 that is generally considered to be less flexible than other approaches now prevailing in Latin America. Short-term outcomes as well as longer-term patterns of economic restructuring now underway in Argentina are analyzed. The authors argue that, despite considerable success on the macro-stabilization front, policymakers still have their work cut out in terms of designing a set of second-phase measures to facilitate smoother adjustment at the microeconomic level.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Sidney Weintraub
  • Publication Date: 07-1997
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: On December 20, 1994, Mexican financial and monetary authorities raised the band within which the peso was permitted to fluctuate by 15 percent. They expected a short-lived shock, some economic adjustment, and then back to business as usual with a modestly devalued peso. Mexico, after all, had a history of currency devaluations, particularly during the transitions from one administration to another. Beyond that, Mexico was not a world monetary powerhouse and what it did would not normally attract great or sustained international attention.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico