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Is geography destiny : lessons from Latin America (英语)

The channels through which geography influences economic and social development can be studied at different levels and perspectives of time. Countries are the basic unit of observation, and some historical considerations notwithstanding, the horizon of analysis is limited to the past four or five decades. The objective is to establish to what extent geography is responsible for differences in development between countries, and more specifically between Latin America and other groups of countries. The economic and social development of Latin American countries has been and continues to be affected both by physical geography (climate and the characteristics of land and topography) and by human geography (settlement patterns of the population). The most significant channels of influence of geography are the productivity of the land, the presence of endemic diseases, natural disasters, the location of countries and their populations in relation to the coast, and the concentration of the population in urban areas. The first two chapters look backward to determine whether geography is one of the causes explaining the current development levels of Latin American countries and the regions within them. In contrast, chapter 3 looks ahead at what can be done. The answer to some geographical disadvantages can be more and better roads and communications, although some solutions may be beyond what some countries can do, especially those that are poorer because their geography is more adverse. But the range of possible solutions does not stop there. Most policy instruments that can influence the effects of geography are not new: regional or urban development policies, research and technology programs, or decentralization strategies. What is new is that these policies can better incorporate the various geographical variables that influence their effectiveness. Failure to incorporate those variables into policies translates into welfare losses for the poorest people in the Latin American countries.


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    Gallup, John Luke Gaviria, Alejandro Lora, Eduardo

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    Is geography destiny? : lessons from Latin America

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