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Volume 57 / Social Sciences


GUSTAVO ENRIQUE CAÑONERO, Consulting Economist, Argentina

THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE CONVERTIBILITY PLAN, albeit the critical period following the Mexican crises, has generated research with a longer horizon than before. Topics include the effect of trade liberalization on productive sectors and the environment, industrial policies, productivity and growth prospects, regional economies, labor market reform, poverty, and income distribution are now at the core of research activities in Argentina, replacing inflation, hyperinflation, stabilization plans, the international debt crisis and others.

The adjustment process to a more market-oriented environment in Argentina has attracted much attention; many papers discuss this transition process in the agriculture, services and other manufacturing sectors. The literature encompasses one essential topic: the role of industrial policy. Two studies on this topic are of particular interest: one describes and analyzes government industrial policy (item bi 96008458); the other, a study by a group of leading Argentine economists, analyzes the case of Argentina in light of existent international experiences (item bi 96019065).

Related to the country’s economic transformation, significant research efforts explore new prospects for economic growth. Specifically, productivity growth is the subject of an illuminating analysis presented at the 1994 meeting of Argentine private banks (item bi 96000857). Similarly, the prospects of an export-oriented strategy motivated a number of worthwhile studies. Two books provide a comprehensive view of the effect of trade openness on the manufacturing sector and its current and expected performance (items bi 96000883 and bi 96000920).

After being neglected for years, regional economies were the subject of intensive analysis. Three papers stand out for their depth and appeal. Two of the works provide a set of indicators on regional development in Argentina (items bi 96000979 and bi 96000914), and the third offers an overview of the challenges facing these regions (item bi 96022084).

Research has been devoted to remaining issues in the area of structural reforms, particularly the labor market and public administration. One highly recommended paper presents a comprehensive study of the Argentine labor market (item bi 96009960). Two studies presented at the 1994 meeting of Argentine private banks are fundamental to understanding the Argentine labor market and evaluating related policies: one typifies unemployment during 1990-94 and another examines education in the labor force (item bi 96000857). On reforming the central administration, there is a very enticing proposal for an integral reform in a book by the Consejo Empresario Argentino (item bi 97013617). Unfortunately, public administration reform in the provinces remains largely unexplored.

Existing studies on poverty and income distribution are worth mentioning as they contribute to understanding the social effect of the reform process. Three entries on this topic should be highlighted: one from the Secretary of Economic Programming containing basic data (item bi 96000939), another by Martinez Nogueira studying the government policies to combat poverty (item bi 96005729), and the third by Minujin providing an analytical view of the poverty issue (item bi 96019057).

Additionally, some basic references of economic research in Argentina include proceedings from three important conferences in economics in recent years: the 1994 Annual Conference of Private Banks (item bi 96000857), the 1995 Annual Meeting of the Argentine Association of Political Economy (item bi 97013743), and the 1996 First Meetings in Economic Research (item bi 97013744). These proceedings showcase research work representing the new agenda and exist alongside some pioneering and stimulating research. On the issue of regulation, the two reports by the World Bank on public utilities and transportation are noteworthy (items bi 97013648 and bi 97013649).

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