FOUNDATIONS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN LATIN AMERICA
Barma, Naazneen H.
Darnton, Christopher N.
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Theory attempting to explain poverty and development is vast, varied, and, in many ways, inconclusive. In this thesis, I review core literature on the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Western Europe and the Asian Tigers, finding that their economic development rested on a cycle of three fundamental principles: rule of law, access to capital, and strong, yet restrained, bureaucratic capacity. With an emphasis on Latin America, I then conduct a two-step analysis to determine the universal applicability of these factors. First, I analyze the implementation and outcomes of import substitution industrialization, finding an ambiguous correlation between this landmark set of economic policies and economic outcomes. Second, I develop a case study of Mexico that demonstrates a strong correlation between economic development and the three underpinnings of rule of law, access to capital, and strong, yet restrained, bureaucratic capacity. The thesis concludes that these three factors are universally crucial for sustained growth and development. This research also finds that the institutions that provide for these principles can take vastly different forms, and, in doing so, it joins a growing body of scholarship that emphasizes the significance of institutional function over institutional form.
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