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Volume 51 / Social Sciences


JAMES W. FOLEY, Associate Dean, School of Business, University of Miami, Coral Gables

IN THE LAST VOLUME, I commented on the increasing use of modern mathematical and statistical techniques to examine various economic issues germane to Latin America. During this biennium this trend has continued, resulting in an increase in both the quality and sophistication of the literature.

It is not surprising that the debt crisis continues to absorb the attention of Latin American specialists. However, whereas past works on the subject were primarily concerned with the factors explaining debt accumulation and the immediate macro impact of the debt crisis, more recent literature has focused on: 1) the impact of the crisis and adjustment policies on various sectors and income groups of the economies affected; and 2) actual and potential use of various methods (e.g., debt cartels, debt swapping, restructuring agreements, etc.) to deal with the debt problem. Among the noteworthy works on the former topic are books edited by Thorp and Whitehead (item bi 89000165) and Canak (item bi 89000535). Concerning the latter issue, I was impressed with articles by Sloan (item bi 90006807), Hojman (item bi 90006806), Bird (item bi 90006900), and Bresser Pereira (item bi 90006908).

Recent literature also reflects the resurgence of generalized and rapid rates of inflation in the region. Accordingly, an entire issue of World Development (item bi 90006898) is devoted to an examination of this phenomenon. The inflation problem has also rekindled the debate as to the efficacy of the various types (Orthodox/IMF, neoconservative-liberalization, and heterodox-fiscal restraint-cum-incomes policy) of stabilization programs. Among the better pieces on this subject are those by Blejer and Cheasty (item bi 90006897), Lächler (item bi 90006896), Preusse (item bi 90006895), and Cardoso (item bi 90006909). On the somewhat related issue of appropriate growth strategies, (e.g., free market, planned, import substitution, export promotion, etc.) the reader should consult articles by Sheahan (item bi 90006811) and Hirschman (item bi 90006812) and two excellent books by Sheahan (item bi 89000164) and Hartlyn and Morley (item bi 88000635).

The determinants of income distribution and income inequality continue to generate interest. The review article by Berry (item bi 90006808), is an excellent survey of the issue, and the comparative study of Brazil and Mexico by Baer (item bi 90006819) is worth examining. The literature continues to reflect a paucity of studies on labor and labor markets. An exception is provided by PREALC, which continues to publish excellent studies on labor, an example of which is a monograph by Rodríguez (item bi 89001417). Similarly, agricultural issues have received scant attention during this biennium. Nevertheless, students of agriculture will want to peruse an interesting book by Astori (item bi 89000541) which compares the differing methodologies and policy recommendations of the structuralists, neoclassicists, and dependency theorists.

Three relatively "new" topics that have appeared in increasing volume relate to privatization, ecology, and feminist issues. The rationale for and against privatization of State enterprises, as well as case studies of privatizations, are provided in a valuable contribution by Glade (item bi 90006810). Concern about the region's environment and ecology are manifest in the books by Sunkel (item bi 88000643), Maguire and Brown (item bi 88000657), and CEPAL (item bi 88000640). The impact of modernization on women is discussed in a review article by Tiano (item bi 90006818), while sex-based wage discrimination is analyzed by Hojman (item bi 90007175).

Finally, a few comments about miscellaneous works which caught my attention. Lessard and Williamson (item bi 89000176) have produced the definitive work on capital flight, examining its causes, magnitude, and impact and the mechanisms for achieving it, including case studies. I also liked an article by Fishlow (item bi 88002849) which reviews the evolution of Latin American development theory and policy over the last 40 years, describing the basic tenets of structuralism, dependency theory, international monetarism, and export-led growth. Concerning foreign investment, I was impressed with a review article by Haggard (item bi 90006722). Finally, students of economic thought will want to examine a volume by Popescu (item bi 90006809) which exhaustively treats the history of Latin American economic thought with special emphasis on pre-20th century thought.

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