Gradual Economic Reform in Latin America

The Costa Rican Experience

By Mary A. Clark

Subjects: Economic History
Paperback : 9780791450321, 212 pages, July 2001
Hardcover : 9780791450314, 212 pages, July 2001

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations


1. The Gradual Road to Reform

2. The Legacies of 1948: Democratic Institutions, Social Welfare, and Economic Development

3. "Easy" Structural Adjustment: The 1980s

4. Reforming the Welfare State: The 1990s

5. Costa Rican Outcomes

6. Conclusion




In-depth case study of Costa Rican economic reform efforts.


Gradual Economic Reform in Latin America questions why most Latin American countries have not nearly completed neoliberal economic reforms. Examining Costa Rica as an important example of the gradual, as opposed to radical, approach, Mary A. Clark utilizes over one hundred fifty interviews as well as secondary data to present ten mini-case studies of structural adjustment in the 1980s and 1990s. In analyzing the economic, social, and political outcomes of Costa Rica's experience, Clark concludes the gradual approach has yielded positive results, and compares this country's experiences with that of other Latin American welfare states.

Mary A. Clark is Associate Professor of Political Science at Tulane University.


"The book is a clear, step-by-step analysis of one experience in neoliberal reform that addresses larger questions about the political conditions for reform, the reasons why such reform may be delayed or limited, and the costs and benefits of 'gradualism.' There is much insight here, particularly regarding the political sources of gradualism and the importance of political culture and institutions in shaping economic 'reform.'" — Michael W. Foley, The Catholic University of America

"It is thorough, well organized, well written, and denotes a high degree of knowledge and understanding of the subject." — Silvia Saborio, Overseas Development Council