Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2006-2007
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
ECLAC has been publishing the Economic Survey for 59 years now. The first edition of this report was drawn up under the Executive Secretary's supervision at the behest of the Commission, which requested that "an economic survey of Latin America" be prepared. That document was the new Economic Commission's first contribution to an understanding of the region's development process. The Survey thus embodies the Commission's fulfilment of one of the specific purposes for which it was created by undertaking or sponsoring "the collection, evaluation and dissemination of ... economic, technological and statistical information..." on the region. In fact, the former Director of the Central Bank of Argentina, Raúl Prebisch, arrived in Santiago as a consultant to work on the 1948 edition of the Economic Survey. Ever since then, the Survey has served as a witness and as a leading actor in the economic development of Latin America and the Caribbean.
This flagship publication of ECLAC, which Alberto Hirschman once described as the "Latin American manifest," is one of the most frequently quoted reports of its kind in the region. As the sixtieth anniversary of the Economic Survey for Latin America and the Caribbean approaches, it has been restructured with a view to making it even more useful for its readers. In a reformulation that harks back to the early editions of the Survey, from now on the analysis of the current economic situation that is a customary part of this publication will be supplemented by an additional section. The studies making up this new section will deal with a significant issue relevant to the region's economic development and will provide analyses extending beyond the scope of an examination of current trends. It is hoped that this new addition will contribute to "the long and difficult task of preparing a complete and fully documented study of economic conditions".Its aim is to provide further inputs for the economic debate concerning means of promoting a rapid, sustainable growth process capable of creating conditions conducive to an improvement in the living conditions of the Latin American and Caribbean population.
This change also accommodates the recent evolution of the Survey's "sister publication," the Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is published at the close of each year. Thanks to the growing availability of information, together with a major effort to analyse and synthesize the relevant data, the Preliminary Overview has gradually become a more detailed, indepth examination of the economic situation in the region. Consequently, the Overview now furnishes much of the information that the Economic Survey has traditionally provided.
The first chapter of this fifty-ninth edition, entitled "Regional Panorama," surveys the main economic events and developments of 2006 and the first half of 2007 in the light of the region's recent economic performance. This chapter is supplemented by a statistical appendix that is considerably more extensive than those of previous editions.
The next three chapters describe various aspects of the region's economic growth dynamics. Chapter II explores the relationships among investment, saving and growth in the past few decades. Chapter III looks at economic growth patterns and, more specifically, transitions from one pattern to another and the role that factors such as investment, saving and productivity play in those transitions. Chapter IV addresses a number of the issues involved in the current debate about the problems and characteristics of economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean based on the points raised at a workshop on the subject held in June 2007.
The following section presents an analysis of the economic situation in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2006 and the first half of 2007. These individual country reports include statistical tables that illustrate trends in a number of the main economic indicators. As in the preceding edition of the Economic Survey, these reports, along with the statistical appendix, are contained in the CD-ROM that accompanies the printed publication and are also available on the ECLAC web portal (www.eclac.org). The tables provided in the statistical appendix provide ready access to data for recent years and facilitate the creation of spreadsheets. The CD-ROM also contains the electronic version of the chapters appearing in the printed publication.
The statistical information presented in this publication reflects the data available as of June 2007.