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Volume 59 / Social Sciences

ECONOMICS: PARAGUAY AND URUGUAY


JUAN B. FLORIANI, Professor of Economics, Howard University


Paraguay

THE WORKS ANNOTATED IN THIS SECTION were published between 1995–97 and reflect mainly the economic and social effects of the 1991 Mercosur agreement (signed by Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay); the 1995 reform of the social security system; and the 1996 financial crisis. Issues such as agricultural production, exports, employment, and social security were particularly—and intensely—inter-related, so the majority of works reviewed here reflect that reality.

Works dealing with agricultural issues range from describing the unique characteristics of rural organizations (item #bi 98000721#) and the historical role of campesinos and the land tenure system (item #bi 98006036#), to describing the disadvantageous position Paraguayan agriculture faces in the context of Mercosur (item #bi 97011209#), and cautioning about environmental degradation caused by the spectacular expansion of cotton and soy planting as a response to export incentives (item #bi 97011208#). In addition, two thoroughly elaborated papers describe the evolution of the agrarian sector (item #bi 97011207#), including a history of international financial and technical assistance (item #bi 97011218#), while another explains the relationships between liberal and authoritarian regimes and the fluctuation of the international prices of agrarian exports (item #bi 98000735#). Finally, after surveying a large number of experts in positions of political and economic leadership, one presentation alerts the government to the lack of support policies for small farmers (item #bi 97011206#), estimated to be a quarter of a million strong.

Publications that reflect the concern caused by the changing employment conditions and the reform of the social security system analyze a wide range of cultural and social attitudes (item #bi 98000710#), women's participation in the rural and urban job markets (item #bi 98001708#), and the employment conditions during the massive program of international public works between 1972–92 (item #bi 97013329#). The 1995 social security system reforms are extensively discussed (items #bi 98004849# and #bi 97013250#).

The effects of Mercosur on Paraguayan exports are evaluated (item #bi 98001686#), and the conditions of the manufacturing export industry are described, analyzing the reasons for its developmental lag (item #bi 97011214#). Finally, a complete historical description of the banking system and of the different Paraguayan currencies is presented (item #bi 98006041#).

URUGUAY

After joining Mercosur in the early 1990s, the Uruguayan government introduced a financial reform in 1995 that included changes in the social security system. The items annotated in this section were published between 1994–97, which explains why the main issues analyzed are related to finance and banking, employment, industrial production and exports, and poverty.

Two works analyze the banking sector from the perspective of the new international open environment and its ability to compete successfully: one describes extensively its characteristics, evaluating the effects of governmental reforms (item #bi 97006903#), and another estimates the cost functions of a selected group of commercial banks (item #bi 97007801#). The unemployment issue is reviewed considering the effects of joining Mercosur (item #bi 98000628#), and the reactivation of labor unions in 1985, analyzing wages and demand for labor for the period 1983–91 (item #bi 97003604#).

The approach taken by the works dealing with export sectors is to analyze and evaluate its competitiveness. For that purpose, an extensive survey of economic and political leaders explores the subject and the results are included in item #bi 98001715#; another work examines the changes in the manufacturing industry in general (item #bi 97007795#), and others, more specifically, analyze and compare the textile industry with neighboring countries (item #bi 97006244#), review the competitiveness of the food processing industry (item #bi 97006902#), examine of a group of dairy products factories (item #bi 97007787#), and discuss rice production techniques used by producers (item #bi 97000874#). In addition, one work reviews inventory management and cost accounting techniques (item #bi 97006901#).

In other noteworthy works, interesting attempts are made to estimate the demand for electricity (item #bi 98000734#) and to describe the history of Uruguayan and monetary policies from 1860–1938 (item #bi 98001690#). Also, solutions are proposed to solve the lack of consumer liquidity (item #bi 97001739#), and poverty in Uruguay is analyzed for the period 1981–93 (item #bi 98001707#), and for the period 1984–94 (item #bi 98001707#) with different methodologies. Finally, social security system reforms are described and analyzed (item #bi 97017914#), and the effects of direct foreign investment in local industries are reviewed for two different periods (item #bi 97007793#).

ARGENTINA

The works annotated here date from 1993–96, and cover the period in which the effects of four processes of deep economic and financial changes are evident: the beginning of the privatization program of state-owned industries in 1990–91, the creation of the currency board system—known as Plan de Convertibilidad—in 1991, the enacting of the Mercosur agreement, and the reform of the social security system in 1993–94. Almost all of the works reviewed here cover these events, discussing the reasons, describing the effects, and proposing measures to reduce the combined short-term negative effects. Nevertheless, some works are independent of such recent political and economic events.

The first group of works deals with the reforms and their consequences in general: two works by former minister of economy, Domingo Cavallo (items #bi 98000720# and #bi 97016074#), analyze the conditions of the economy in 1989–90 and explain why the Plan de Convertibilidad was the best option (a position supported in item #bi 98006035#), and seven that review effects on the agricultural sector (item #bi 98000705#), regional economies (items #bi 98000724# and #bi 98001719#), the lower income classes (item #bi 98000626#), the banking system (item #bi 98003601#), and the largest industrial firms (item #bi 97011455#).

A second group deals with employment, social security, and poverty issues. These works describe pre-existing conditions and current forecasts, and propose ways to reduce the social effects of the reforms. Some deal with the reduction of unemployment levels (items #bi 97011459#, #bi 98000712#, #bi 98001721#, #bi 98001709#, and #bi 98000728#), review the Argentine job structure (item #bi 98006037#), compare job mobility between generations (item #bi 97017739#), revise the effects of illegal immigration (item #bi 97017788#), and discuss the relationship between unemployment and macroeconomic policies (item #bi 97013750#). Three of the contributions analyze the reforms to the social security systems (items #bi 98000700#, #bi 97015929#, and #bi 97017910#). Finally, two works relate poverty to the level of unemployment (items #bi 98000711# and #bi 97013321#), and two others offer a methodological contribution to measure geographical distribution and inequalities among the poor (items #bi 98001672# and #bi 97013748#).

A third group of works covers monetary, financial, and fiscal issues. They review the history and role of the central banking system in changing times (items #bi 97002935#, #bi 98000704#, and #bi 98000709#), monetary policies (items #bi 98001792# and #bi 98000731#), the conditions and expectations of the financial sector (item #bi 98000751#), federal and provincial budgets (item #bi 98000719#), the public investment process (item #bi 98000732#), the federal taxes allocation system among provinces (items #bi 98001676# and #bi 97002304#), comparative tax structure and efficiency (item #bi 98006024#), and a tax reform comparison with Mexico (item #bi 97004630#).

A fourth group of items examines and analyzes issues related to production and exports, such as the conditions and future prospects for small businesses (items #bi 98000701# and #bi 97002933#); the manufacturing sector (items #bi 98000736#, #bi 98000743#, #bi 98001673#, and #bi 98001691#); of specific industries: dairy (items #bi 98001670# and #bi 97016606#), auto parts (item #bi 97016672#), electric power generation (items #bi 98000739# and #bi 98003260#), telephone services (item #bi 97011732#), railroads (item #bi 98004191#), and mining (item #bi 98000740#); and of the need for the agricultural sector to adapt its strategies to new international markets conditions (items #bi 98001682#, #bi 98003879#, #bi 97006608#, #bi 97008118#, and #bi 97013468#).

A fifth group considers different economic and social aspects of regional life, specifically, the development of La Pampa (item #bi 98000730#) and Santiago del Estero provinces (item #bi 97013322#); the land tenure structure of Buenos Aires province (item #bi 97014636#); the production of eminently local crops like yerba mate in Misiones and Corrientes provinces (item #bi 98003258#), and pears and apples in Rio Negro and Neuquen provinces (item #bi 98000745#); problems of income distribution in Buenos Aires (item #bi 98001667#) and Rio Negro provinces (item #bi 97014630#); a new and more accurate methodology to compute exports by province (item #bi 98006030#); and a model to relate the process of urbanization with economic dynamism (item #bi 97013749#).

The sixth group is formed by a number of historical analysis contributions, some presented as a background to the profound changes faced by the Argentine society in the 1990s (items #bi 98000727#, #bi 98000737#, #bi 98000742#, #bi 98000750#, #bi 98001668#, #bi 98001687#, #bi 97009682#, #bi 97014635#, #bi 97015873#, and #bi 97017387#). Others analyze a longer period of Argentina's economy, focusing on their cycles or stages (items #bi 98000718# and #bi 98000749#) and on the changing political philosophy of their governments (items #bi 98000754#, #bi 98006033#, and #bi 97017791#).

MERCOSUR

This set of annotated works published between 1993–97 about the Mercado Común del Cono Sur, (Mercosur) can be grouped into historical background, description of the agreement, and review of the effects and results in the member countries at different points in time. Yet another group describes the conditions in the member countries of the dairy products industry (item #bi 98001685#), the food production industry in general, (item #bi 97008539#), and the rice production and technology (item #bi 97010875#). One work compares the four different social security systems, describing their diverse degree of institutional and financial development (item #bi 98004848#), as well as the different financial legislation and deregulation efforts (item #bi 97006972#).

In the group of works that describe the background framework of the agreement, two deal with aspects of public and private international law and jurisprudence (items #bi 98001678# and #bi 98001720#), one analyzes the economic cycles of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay from 1870–1990 (item #bi 97006435#), and another reviews the economic performance of the four member countries during the last 25 years (item #bi 98006538#). Finally, one paper reviews the history of the agreement itself and describes other Latin American experiences of integration (item #bi 97014939#), and another reviews the historical trade partnership between Argentina and Brazil (item #bi 97015758#) and explains that Mercosur is the natural evolution of that relationship.

Three works describe the agreement, its negotiations, its institutions, its organization, and future improvements (items #bi 98001677#, #bi 98006040#, and #bi 97008793#), and one work enumerates some environmental concerns (item #bi 98006043#); one discusses the effects in some regional economies of Argentina (item #bi 98001722#) and some municipalities along the border between Argentina and Uruguay (item #bi 97009342#). Three papers elaborate on the future of Mercosur (items #bi 98006039#, #bi 98006044#, and #bi 97013713#). Finally, two papers analyze the advantages and limitations of the increased trade among members (items #bi 97015451# and #bi 97016593#), and one discusses the different labor legislation and job markets (item #bi 98000629#).


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