This brief text offers an unbiased reflection on debates about neoliberalism and its alternatives in Latin America with an emphasis on the institutional puzzle that underlies the region’s difficulties with democratization and development. In addition to providing an overview of this key element of the Latin American political economy, Peter Kingstone also advances the argument that both state-led and market-led solutions depend on effective institutions, but little is known about how and why they emerge. Kingstone offers a unique contribution by mapping out the problem of how to understand institutions, why they are created, and why Latin American ones limit democratic development.
This timely and thorough update includes:
- A fresh discussion of the commodity boom in the region and the resulting "Golden Era" in Latin America;
- The recent explosion of social policy innovation and concerns about the durability of social reform after the boom;
- A discussion of the knowledge economy and the limits to economic growth, with case studies of successful examples of fostering innovation.