MERCOSUR in Transition: Macroeconomic Perspectives
Daniel Heymann y Adrián Ramos
The recovery of the economies of MERCOSUR, and the disturbances that the recent crises generated in the region have motivated reconsideration of the medium term prospects of the integration project. This paper tries to contribute to this activity with a brief analysis of regional macroeconomic interactions, and a discussion in broad terms of incentives and restrictions for macroeconomic cooperation in the specific conditions of the region. The themes that play through the discussion are that (i) the lack of a shared concrete perspective about the role of MERCOSUR for the growth of the national economies has limited the perception of the integration project as a valuable and "permanent" economic undertaking, which would place individual policies in a context of repeated interactions within a partnership; (ii) macroeconomic spillovers in the region have mainly originated in large fluctuations in national economies associated with crises where the sustainability of past observed trends was put into question; (iii) on several occasions, the countries of MERCOSUR have shown substantial differences in their approach to economic policies, including prominently the management of key macroeconomic instruments; (iv) uncertainties about how (and why) the integration scheme would evolve, and doubts about the incentives and reliability of the partners in their macroeconomic management have induced centrifugal forces, especially in times of economic turbulence; (v) in order to become a progressive project it seems that MERCOSUR would need to go about developing a set of shared views about the growth strategies of the economies, and the part of the regional agreement in them, which would proceed pari passu with advances in macroeconomic cooperation; (vi) these would include a non-trivial activity of searching for a certain convergence of "macromodels" of analysis and policy-making (not equivalent to uniformity of policies) and a routine of consultations that would facilitate implementing common actions when circumstances require.
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