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Title: The ebb and flow of the 'Pink Tide' : reformist development strategies in Brazil and Argentina
Author: Loureiro, Pedro Mendes
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 6573
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis analyses the achievements and shortcomings of the 'Pink Tide' - the left-of-centre governments elected around the turn of the millennium in Latin America - through a comparative study of Brazil and Argentina. The main argument is that the policies these governments implemented did promote growth and reduce income inequality, but they were incapable of transforming the deeper constraints of the economies: as a result, growth and redistribution led to an accumulation of fragilities that the development strategies could not overcome in the first years of the 2010s. Specifically, higher minimum wages, greater pension coverage and conditional cash transfers, implemented under a permissive international scenario, changed the pattern of demand and initiated a cumulative-causation process that explains key features of growth, income redistribution, and the economies' growing constraints. This cumulative-causation process was based on greater demand for wage-goods and services, the domestic employment of low-skilled labour to produce them, and rising income at the bottom of the distribution. This furthermore constituted a regressive structural change, as the rise of low-productivity service sectors decreased the international competitiveness of the economies, whilst wage gains in these same sectors led to cost-push inflation, endogenously defining the balance-of-payments and the inflation constraints. Therefore, the very success of promoting growth and redistribution along these lines would exhaust itself over a longer period, requiring a different set of policies to raise productivity and attack other causes of inequality - i.e. transitioning to a new pattern of accumulation. The argument is explored empirically with the use of data from national accounts, the composition of exports and imports, the components of inflation, and a class-based decomposition of inequality using household surveys. Comparing the experiences of the two countries, this thesis contributes to the development and inequality literature by indicating that, if reformist development strategies can indeed lead to a propoor, equality-driven growth pattern in the short term, embarking on a sustainable path to development requires a transformative approach to economic, distributive and political structures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral