Causes of Latin America’s Dismal Growth Record: In Light of History, Culture, and Institutions

Por Hugo J. Faria & Hugo Moises Montesinos-Yufa

Why is Latin America’s income per capita equivalent to 21 percent of the U.S., while Hong Kong and Singapore, without natural resources amid a subtropical and tropical zone, achieved an income per capita similar to or greater than the U.S.? Why, on a scale from zero to one, does the quality of Latin American democracies score 0.49, while the average of high-income countries is 0.77? Are political and economic development intertwined in Latin America?

Moreover, why are Latin American governments owners of productive assets? Why is the wealth of affluent families generated through political connections? Why are hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans fleeing their home countries, risking their lives attempting to cross illegally the U.S. south border? Furthermore, why is the rule of law frequently violated in Latin America, and why have so many constitutions been enacted during the last 200 years?

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