Brazilian Political Science Review (Online)
versión On-line ISSN 1981-3821
The present article discusses the conditions for the adoption of development strategies in Latin America in the aftermath of neoliberal reforms, focusing specifically on the role of political institutions as a component of productive regimes in selected countries. Development is treated as an endogenous process, shaped over time in terms of trajectories that are continuously redefined according to specific political conjunctures. Having moved from restricted democracies or authoritarian regimes and autarchic economies to mass democracies operating in the context of open economies after market-oriented reforms, persistent structural inequalities presently constitute the major axis framing the definition of development policies. Unlike in advanced countries where the State is treated as an epiphenomenon of the respective productive regimes, in the Latin American semi-periphery the State is the crucial actor for the reversal of vicious circles and negative complementarities stemming from the extreme structural and social inequalities within and between countries in the region. Following a brief discussion on development and economic growth in the definition of the post-neoliberal agenda, the article examines institutional indicators for the economic performance of contemporary government coalitions in selected countries, focusing on State policies favouring development, such as financing, technological innovation, training of the labour force and social policies. Next, we concentrate on analysing political institutions and the role of political elites capable of generating national projects for sustainable development strategies, showing some of the differences between these countries. We conclude with a brief discussion on the adequacy of contemporary political economy approaches to understand processes of capitalist transformation in the periphery, drawing attention to the need for a redefined regional perspective on development issues.
Palabras clave : Development; Political institutions; State intervention; Inequality; Varieties of capitalism.