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date: 24 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyses the evolution of industrial policy in the four largest Latin American economies—Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia—using Korea as a benchmark. Three phases in industrial policy and industrial transformation are identified: a period of state-led industrialization between the end of the Second World War and around 1980, which came to an end with the debt crisis of the 1980s; the 1990s, when the region abandoned industrial policy and embraced the structural reform agenda; and the commodity boom after 2004, when the region witnessed a timid return of industrial policy, while at the same time world demand favoured the reprimarization of its export structure. The outcomes of these policies in terms of building technological capabilities and diversifying the industrial sector towards knowledge-intensive activities, are analysed using different indicators. The importance of the interactions between structural change, industrial policy, and macroeconomic policies (especially exchange rate and capital account management) are highlighted.

Keywords: Latin America, industrial policy, de-industrialization, technological capabilities, commodity dependence, exchange rate policy

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