The Political Economy of Latin America: Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development (Paperback) book cover

The Political Economy of Latin America

Reflections on Neoliberalism and Development

By Peter Kingstone

© 2011 – Routledge

182 pages

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Paperback: 9780415998277
pub: 2010-12-08
Hardback: 9780415998260
pub: 2010-12-08
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pub: 2011-01-28
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Neoliberalism has been at the centre of enormous controversy since its first appearance in Latin America in the early 1970s. Even neoliberalism’s strongest supporters concede that it has not lived up to its promises and that growth, poverty, and inequality all have performed considerably worse than hoped.

This brief text offers an unbiased reflection on the neoliberal debate in Latin America and 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 an important but under-explored argument about political institutions. Kingstone offers a unique contribution by mapping out the problem of how to understand institutions, why they are created, and why Latin American ones function the way they do.


"Kingstone provides a broad review of key debates focusing on the challenge of achieving more equitable development in Latin America. In a notably even-handed way, he persuasively demonstrates that solutions will require an institutional infrastructure that strikes a balance between well functioning markets and well functioning states, avoiding past extremes of ‘too much market’ or ‘too much state.’"

Philip Oxhorn, McGill University

"This is the most authoritative account of Latin America’s political economy since the 1980s, analyzing the region’s Trojan efforts to find the proper balance between states and markets. The book summarizes the best research by scholars, without dumbing down any of the cited works or skipping any central debate. But the book goes farther. It also advances the argument that democracy and markets, far from rival goods, can actually reinforce one another, but only if certain institutions are in place. Readers who are new to this topic or experts on the subject will find much to gain from this book. This book will become a classic."

Javier Corrales, Amherst College

"For those teachers and students interested in Latin American political economy, Kingstone's book finally provides a first rate, sophisticated and clearly written analysis that has been lacking for a long time. The Political Economy of Latin America convincingly shows how various types of neo-conservative and state-led solutions to economic development tried from the 1980s up to now have consistently failed to address poverty, education and a host of other basic needs because they have ignored the central role that government and civil society institutions play in promoting growth with equity. "

Luigi Manzetti, Southern Methodist University

Table of Contents

1. Markets, States, and the Challenge of Development in Latin America 2. Import-Substitution Industrialization and the Great Transformation in Latin America 3. Neoliberalism and its Discontents 4. The Two Lefts and the Return of the State 5. Government, Markets and Institutions—Reflections on Development

About the Author

Peter Kingstone is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Economic Conditions
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy