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The COVID-19 crisis and the structural problems of Latin America and the Caribbean: responding to the emergency with a long-term perspective

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Author: Abeles, Martín - Pérez Caldentey, Esteban - Porcile, Gabriel UN symbol.: LC/PUB.2021/4-P p. 143-170; grafs., tabls. December 2020


The economies of Latin America and the Caribbean have been slipping behind in the global economy, weighed down by structural problems that hinder their capacity to grow and absorb technology. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has not only brought these structural problems into sharper relief, but has also exacerbated them, by reinforcing adverse trends in growth, employment and income distribution. This article analyses these trends and argues that the crisis requires a response that is both immediate but also aims to overcome long-term constraints. Very robust fiscal policies are needed to sustain aggregate demand; and such policies need a substantial investment component aimed at building technological capacities, increasing diversification and strengthening linkages in the production matrix.